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Offering commissioned work is a great way to supplement your income.
There will be times when you are waiting for your original art to sell, and a commissioned project can put some extra cash in your pockets.
The negative side of offering commissioned projects is that if the agreement is not clearly outlined, either the artist or buyer might end up being disappointed.
These mishaps can be avoided if you write a contract for commission artwork.
What Is A Contract For Commissioned Artwork
A commission contract states the terms and conditions in detail for an artist creating a painting or a drawing for a customer.
A commission contract usually specify:
- Project start date
- Project finish date
- Project cost
- Payment schedule
- Project requirements
- Project constraints
When Should An Artist Use A Commission Contract
An artist should write up a commission contract whenever they are asked to create a unique piece of art for a client.
Whether the commission project is of high value, low value, for an individual, for a business, a contract is necessary to complete the project without any miscommunications about the project.
The contract will clearly define the expectations of the project and keep both parties accountable for the project.
The contract will also protect your brand’s reputation by having a written document stating what is required. The agreement will not allow a client to say that you said you would provide something you didn’t state.
Keep all formal timelines and detailed conditions of every project in writing.
How Does A Commission Contract Protect An Artist And Client
Commission contracts provide a written promise of how much an artist will be paid for a project and when they should receive payment.
The contract will also be a written document of what the artist is supposed to produce for the project. This written information will protect the artist incase the buyer states the artist was supposed to provide a different product.
The contract will also produce a timeframe for when the project is to be completed. This documentation will prevent the buyer from sating the project was supposed to be completed before the due date.
The contract will also be a written document on delivering the product and any return policy information if there is a return policy.
How Does A Commission Contracts Protect The Buyer
A commission contract protects a buyer just like it protects the artist.
The contract protects a buy by:
- Having the total price of the project documented so an artist can not change the prices during the project
- Guaranteed finished date and delivery date
- Delivery information such as who is responsible for the delivery of the product
- Refund policy
How To Write A Contract For Commissioned Artwork
Here are the key elements an artist commission contract should have:
- Buyers name
- Artists name
- Date of when the project will start
- Date when the project will be completed
- Detailed information of the project including the size, medium, colors, and subject.
- Details on how the job will be completed
- The total price of the project
- If there is a down payment required
- When the downpayment is expected
- When the final payment is expected
- What happens if the buyer does not complete payment
Include a price list of your existing artwork as a point of reference.
Explain why prices might be higher or lower than your existing artwork.
Tell new clients any information on expected price increases for the future.
If someone wants to commission a project in the next few months, it is good business to lock them in the existing price structure with a downpayment.
Who Owns The Rights
Explain in detail who owns the rights to the finished product and any reproduction rights, if any.
Explain the terms of terminating the project by both the artist and the commissioner.
Include Extra Details Of The Commission Project
The more details you document, the better your relationship will be with the commissioner.
Include information like:
- Who will be responsible for reference images if any
- Explain what happens if you can not work with the images due to poor quality.
- If you will provide a rough sketch of the subject before painting or drawing the finished piece
- If you will allow viewings of the art in progress
- If you will enable revisions of the artwork
- Products you will use for the project
There will be times when a client might not be happy with the finished piece.
If you could not get the job done as explained in the contract, you might want to refund the client the down payment.
You will lose more than a down payment if your art business gets bad reviews.
On the other hand, if you were providing progress reviews and the client was happy with the progress but then changed their mind, you should retain the down payment and the rights to sell the final piece,
This information should also be included in the contract, and verbally agreed.
Wrapping Up The Commission Project
The last step is to document when the final payment is due and arrangements for shipping the product or pick-up date and location.
Signing The Contract
The last step is to make sure that the party understands everything that the contract covers.
If the party excepts the contract, both you and the client must sign and date the agreement.
Both you and the client need to retain an original copy of the agreement.
Commissioned art Contract Templates
Here is a list of sites that offer an art commission terms and conditions template.
Final Thoughts On How To Write A Contract For Commission Artwork
Commission projects are an excellent way to supplement your income when you are waiting for original artwork to sell.
However, it is important that both the artist agrees and the client agree on the conditions of the project.
A written contract will protect both the artist and the buyer.
Keep a file for the contract for commission artwork for future reference.
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