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Understanding scope and deliverables

Part 5: Define the scope 

Scope refers to the nature and extent of work that is to be performed under the contract. Some examples of items that may be included in the scope of work are:‍

  • Any special skills or qualifications that must be used?

  • Deliverables: what is the freelancer expected to produce?

  • Budget: what are the project's financial constraints?

The scope defines the limits of the project — what is and isn't included. In other words, "scope" refers to the work that's required to be completed under a contract. For Dom’s project with Mindy’s Cupcakes, the scope might specify how many pages will be included, what kind of functionality will be included, etc.

Defining the scope of work in a freelancer contract is crucial to ensuring both parties know what is expected. "In scope" refers to the specific areas of work that are agreed upon and within the bounds of the contract. Anything "out of scope" goes beyond what is defined in the contract and, therefore, may not be included in what is billable under the scope of work. In other words: if you do work that is out of scope under the contract, expect that you will not be paid for it. And, if doing the scoped-out work caused other delays in the project, expect that you may incur penalties (if the contract stipulates for any loss to you should your actions cause project delays). ‍

In order for work to be considered "in scope," it must be clearly defined and agreed upon by both parties. If work is not explicitly defined as "in scope," it will be considered "out of scope" and will not be covered by the contract.‍

We’re emphasizing this “scope” issue for reasons with which you’re probably already familiar: these issues come up in projects. And the contract you’re creating alongside this course will help you address those issues, on your own terms, before they even come up.

Changes and revisions

This refers to any changes that the client requests after the project has begun. These should be clearly defined in the contract so that there's no confusion about who will pay for them — so that you’re left empty-handed for work you completed.

‍Clients are known to completely change the scope of a project midstream and expect freelancers to do extra work for free. This is often referred to as "scope creep." When a freelancer starts doing more work than originally planned, there is usually no additional compensation. This could be the result of client pressure or misdirection, or it could be the natural outcome of a complex project. 

‍It is important to include in writing that they are willing to pay extra for the additional scope of work—and whether you’ll be paid hourly for the overage, or whether any overage will incur an additional project fee.

‍It's also important to specify how many rounds of revisions are included in the project fee. For example, most freelancers include one round of edits in the price, then charge an hourly rate for additional changes.

‍Remember to set a time limit for revisions. This will help keep the project moving and prevent clients from coming back weeks later when you're busy with other work.‍

Part 6: Define the deliverables

One of the most important things to include in your contract is a clear definition of the deliverables. What exactly are you going to be responsible for? Make sure to be as specific as possible so there's no confusion later.

‍Include a clear definition of the deliverables in your contract. This will ensure that both parties are clear on what is expected to be delivered, and when. A well-defined deliverable also sets the stage for regular check-ins and progress reports, so that everyone stays on track.

‍In your workbook, add what the scope would be, any changes and revisions, and deliverables for the sample projects you identified in the last step.

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