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Contracts: A Letter Of Agreement
For EVERY Job Is Good Biz Sense 
By Lisa Rice
Voice Talent
Professionalism. Trust. Regret.
These three words seemingly have nothing in common, but in an odd way they actually do.
Conducting business today compared to even 10 years ago has changed dramatically.
Gone are the days of handshakes and smiles. Transactions have become faster paced and less personal.
Those of us working freelance over the Internet have more opportunities than ever to create a worldwide customer base. However, there are also more opportunities for misunderstanding.
In business, just as in life, the Golden Rule works well.
I try my best to follow it, and would like to think my customers do, too.
Nonetheless, before recording voice over projects, I ask for a signed Letter of Agreement. It simply makes good business sense.
In fact, voice talent and coach Susan Berkley of the Great Voice Company includes one in her teaching materials.
Mine came from her template and has evolved over time. To see it, please click here.
A Letter of Agreement:
  • Keeps transactions professional.
  • Ensures that both parties are on the same page by communicating what is expected, what will be delivered and how payment will be received.
  • Answers the questions: Who? What? When? Why? And How?
  • Presents terms on one, succinct page.
Clients can respond to your Letter of Agreement electronically or by hand, and send it back to you quickly and easily.
A Letter of Agreement also serves as a reference point once the job is complete.
Questions might creep up regarding what you or your customer originally agreed to.
By filing a LOA with each script and invoice, details can be accessed in the future.
But a Letter of Agreement is not written in stone.
It can be modified depending on the client, preferred method of payment and anything else relevant to a particular project.
I suggest having your lawyer verify that the verbiage works in your state.
“Trust but verify” was a phrase used repeatedly during the Cold War.
In business as in life, we want to believe the best in people. When possible, most of us will gladly shake hands and flash a smile.
Either way, a signed Letter of Agreement serves as our deterrent to regret.
Lisa Rice landed her first job in voice-over at the age of 18 and has worked as a writer, television and radio producer and on-camera talent in addition to various sales positions. Her one-to-one broadcast radio and television interviews have extended from the White House and Capitol Hill to Nashville. She’s voiced commercials, narrations, e-learning projects, promos and telephone prompts for a wide range of customers including Levolor, Taco Bell, Bristol-Myers Squibb, PBS Kids!, Arm & Hammer and Hill-Rom.
Twitter: @lisaricevoice
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Comments (7)
Jim Greenhoe
3/16/2011 at 11:37 AM
Thank you so much for sharing your LOA with us.
It certainly very helpful and makes a lot of sense.
Thanks smart lady, You Rock!
Best Wishes to You Always,
Jack Hamlett
3/14/2011 at 3:52 PM
This makes perfect sense. I run another business and we have a letter of confirmation, events and many others that get sent right away to the person needed.
Thanks for sharing, Lisa. I will take this and use it .
Jack in Arizona
3/11/2011 at 1:35 PM
Hi Lisa,
This is great! Thank you so much for displaying your template to give a full and complete understanding of exactly what a Letter of Agreement should contain. I remember you talking about this at FaffCon and am grateful for your generosity in sharing this.
3/11/2011 at 12:16 PM
Excellent advice! Always good to memorialize a business transaction in writing.
Amy Taylor
3/11/2011 at 8:32 AM
Simply brilliant. Lisa. Thank you for sharing such a valuable tool with everyone. For those who charge per page, be sure to include your standard font size, margins, etc. to make sure you and the client are on the same "page" so to speak..

BP Smyth, Narrator
3/11/2011 at 8:15 AM
Thank you, Lisa, for presenting this most important information regarding business relationships; Contracts. As one who has experienced the unscrupulous under-belly of this business, I say; no contract, no work. Been there, done that. Never again. If a potential client refuses to sign an agreement for your services, run like you know what!!
Debbie Irwin
3/11/2011 at 12:52 AM
Thanks, Lisa--

As always you are generous with your experience and know how. I appreciate your sharing this specific tool.

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