Caffeinate, Create, Sleep, Repeat.

Before you sign that freelance contract…

flok-sg-could-possibly-be-the-shitiest-agency-ive-ever-worked-with-2I’ve done freelancing gigs directly with businesses and also through agencies, I find my experiences with most of them generally pleasant. Though there are times when I’d be sideswiped by a client who’s seemingly determined to test the limits of my patience and forcibly take my understanding of magnanimity to a higher level.

Meet the ‘Agency’…
Recently I’ve had the pleasure of working with a local ‘Full Service Digital Agency’ who is a proud certified partner of yada yada yada… [INSERT OVERLY GLORIFIED CREDENTIALS HERE]” (but when my invoice came in and they weren’t able pay up; the bigwigs kept humbly referring to the agency as “just a small business who’s also struggling to make ends meet”).

I’m usually extra picky when it comes to doing freelance work for other agencies. I prefer to work directly with clients, as it poses a higher possibility of snagging repeat work and build longterm relations. Still, I ended up accepting the project because it was for a local big-name Singaporean retailer of ultra-luxury designer timepieces (which coincidentally was also a regular advertiser for a magazine that I previously handled – no problem whatsoever with their accounts team). As far as i know, its a well-funded Client who hires boutique agencies to handle their advertising campaigns.

It was like dangling something shiny in front of a child. I had to make an exception.

During the negotiation phase there was a questionable payment clause in the contract, which stated:

“[THE AGENCY] is a creative services business and wholly dependent on our clients paying before we can pay others. We do not offer any form of credit, we’re not a bank and cannot afford to front the costs for our clients.” 

It seemed weird… a bit off.

I thought to myself “Why would they bluntly state a rhetoric? Doesn’t all businesses run and operate under that notion?” Unfortunately, I convinced myself that maybe it was just a crass way to protect themselves from half-assed work from contractors, and not an actual means for them to screw over their freelancers dry by passing the agency’s liabilities to the poor schmucks.

…I should have known better.

Needless ranting…
Yep, apparently they were an utterly devious, soul-sucking bunch. The bigwigs’ persistence in their stand on the matter –that they aren’t liable to any extent because I explicitly ‘agreed’ to the payment clause– was so cringe-worthy that I almost had all of their faces printed on custom-made toilet paper rolls just so I could have the pleasure of wiping my arse with their smug faces until I get paid by the agency.

Maybe I should’ve. I would’ve sent them a box of it.

Unsolicited advise…
Read your freelancing  contracts diligently. Clarify with your client (or agency) whatever it is that you need them to expound on. Openly discuss with them implications that aren’t in the contract. A binding contract between two parties should be transparent and be made in good faith.

Be detailed in your terms and don’t settle for ambiguous terminologies and jargons. It’ll serve both you and your client better somewhere down the line to agree to a set of overly-literal but clearly stipulated terms and conditions rather than have a poetic contract that might be subject to misinterpretation.



Rockstar for hire.
I help businesses create memorable branding experiences for their customers.

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