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I started to work freelance just a couple of months ago. My first client asked me to create a web app, to improve his business. I made a little specification about what i was able to do and also an approximation about how long it will take to prepare the application.

We just have some no formal agreement where i told him a deadline when i will present the progress of the project. Also we did not agree any payment at all, since he said to me that he will pay me when the program is live.

What is happening now, is that the program did not meet the deadline and i will present the progress one month after what we agreed. As you see we both made a mistake(myself first), but i hope it is not to late to fix it. I want to make an SLA, to include the amount i want to get paid for my work, and also detailed information about what he will get.

I would appreciate if someone more experienced than me could give me some tips on what should i include in the SLA documment and also if can i get some recommendations for not making the same mistake in the future.

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A SLA is a serious commitment. You should seek a local lawyer. –  Vitor Apr 30 '11 at 17:17

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

From my experience an SLA usually covers what support metrics you will offer the client when they use your completed product.

Right now I would have thought that what you need is a more simple form of contract saying that you will provide your product for x amount of money in y timescale. You should speak to a lawyer who specialises in these types of contract if you are going to rely on it later.

The biggest three things that you need to nail down are scope, timescale and payments.

SCOPE You need to define what your application is, what features it will have and what it will look like. What it will do in extreme situations and so on. If you don't define a good scope your client will be able to say 'you agreed to do this when we spoke on the telephone' and not pay you or simply keep asking for more features.

TIMESCALE You need to specify a reasonable timescale - from the sound of your early slippage why not work out how long you think it will take to deliver the scope items ... and then double it.

PAYMENTS It's not unreasonable to ask for 50% upfront, with staged payments for the rest - this will also focus the clients mind on his requirements.

Good luck.

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That was a useful comment (+1) Thanks –  sfrj May 1 '11 at 8:40

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