5 Essential Document Templates for Freelance Designers

November 2009

As a freelance web designer it makes sense to have a number of documents prepared as you tend to use the same ones over and over again. I thought I would share with you the 5 documents that I have prepared and ready to use, along with some excellent examples from other designers and studios.

1. Website Planner


The website planner is sent out to potential clients to gather their requirements. This gives you a quick overview of the project and helps you decide whether you want to take it on or not.

The goal is to find out:

  1. Who the client is
  2. What the client does
  3. What the project is
  4. What the client wants (deliverables)
  5. An understanding of their market and competitors
  6. What they like and don't like (about their current site and other sites)
  7. Budget and time

2. Emails

I have several email templates that I save in a plain text file. This is to save me retyping the same emails over and over. Templates include:

  • For when you are interested in a project and attaching a website planner
  • For when you don't have time to take it on and have to decline it (and maybe recommend someone else)
  • Sending a proposal to a potential client
Hi Bill,   Thanks for your email. I'm afraid I'm booked up with several projects at the moment so don't have time to take on the redesign of Microsoft.com You might like to try Steve from Apple.com - another very good designer that I highly recommend. Best of luck with your project

3. Contract/Proposal


Once you’ve gathered your clients requirements and have a good understanding of what they require, you need to send them a contract and proposal. Things this document should include:

  1. Outlines both parties obligations
  2. What you are going to produce and the deliverables
  3. How much the project will cost
  4. Payment plan e.g. 50% up front deposit, 50% on completion
  5. Signatures from both parties

4. Services & Pricing


I personally don’t use this one (so I wouldn’t call this essential) but it’s useful to have. A document outlining your services and prices. This way you can send potential customers a list of what you do and also give them a ballpark figure for how your pricing works.

It’s good to get this out of the way up front in case their budget doesn’t suit your pricing.


Haystack shows rough pricing costs for studios.

5. Invoice


An invoice template that you can send to clients requesting payment. I highly recommend you use some sort of invoicing system, there are lots to choose from.

Invoices should include:

  1. Who the invoice is to (client)
  2. Who the invoice is from (you)
  3. Date and invoice number
  4. Service(s) carried out
  5. Total costs
  6. Any terms e.g. Payment required on receipt of invoice
  7. A little thank you note


What do you have prepared?

Do you have any other documents at the ready? Please share with myself and others below.

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