“New year, new rules to better govern and support our collaborative partnerships.”

Our Master Service Agreement was recently updated to better outline the ways in which we commit to and serve our clients as well as support some of the new studio services (like subscription offerings via the website). These changes went into effect for new clients on October 1, 2023 and are officially applied to all client relationships on January 1, 2024.

Here is what has changed since the last edition:

  • The ‘Definition & Structure of the Relationship’ has been revised to more clearly reflect the ‘at will’ nature of our work together.
  • The ‘Terms of Ownership & Licensing’ has been revised to more clearly outline ownership of both uncompensated deliverables, specifically: In the event that any such material or deliverable is considered not to be a “work made for hire,” Eric Michael hereby retains all ownership—whether represented or not by an official registered patent, copyright, trade secret, and other proprietary rights and documentation and retains the right to pursue, secure, or execute such documents as required, in order to assist in obtaining and protecting such rights. (Or, in other words, if you didn’t pay for it you don’t own it.)This section also confirms:“Unless otherwise agreed to in writing and as necessary in the performance of this Agreement, Eric Michael shall have no rights to license, sell, or use final (compensated) “work for hire”, deliverables, or materials developed under this agreement or any portion thereof.” (Or, in other words, if you paid for it you own it and are responsible for it.)
  • The ’Terms of Billing & Payment’ has been revised to more clearly outline and define the billable rates for Standard ($150), On-Demand ($225), and Rushed ($300) delivery windows as well Admin, Communication, and Project Management time ($100). There are no changes or increases to any of the hourly rates. However, while coaching, training, and productivity session fees are clearly outlined on the respective websites and online booking platforms, this revised Agreement states this time (if not self-served) will be billed at the rate of $225 per hour. The ‘Pausing a Project’ portion of this section has been revised to reflect a rate increase. The new monthly fee to pause a project (at a client’s request) is a flat rate of $999 USD per month.Revisions to ‘Subscriptions & Recurring Invoices’ better explain the responsibilities of The Client when working in self-served environments.Also, a ‘Procurement Fees’ section has been added to the Agreement as well. This clarifies all third-party purchases (branded merchandise, software subscriptions, and everything else that is not manufactured or provided by EM&A exclusively) will no longer be marked up in the traditional way but rather inherit a 30% procurement fee for the clarity, ease, and assurance of The Client. (You can expect some significant savings. Third-party fees were previously marked up at 100-300% based on classification.)

    Clients are strongly encouraged to keep a card on file to ensure continuity and reliability.

  • Timeframes outlined in the ‘Terms of Confidentiality & Non-Disclosure’ and ‘Terms of Non-Solicitation’ are now the same: five (5) years.
  • And various spelling and grammatical revisions to ensure accuracy and correctness throughout the document.

If you have any questions about the items outlined here or detailed in the formal agreement (linked above), please don’t hesitate to reach out. (P.S. You can review the most recent Changelog documentation online.)

One more thing…

There is something I really need to do better with. Moving forward, invoices and payment requests will more closely reflect the earlier outlined fee structure.

Historically, I have rarely billed at the On-Demand ($225) (^30%) or Rushed ($300) (^100%) hourly rates, however, it has become more and more clear, over the past year, late and last-minute requests have been surging and having a widespread negative impacting on the quality of my work and life.

There are typically two ways a client can lock in the Standard ($150) (or even a lesser) rate and save:

  1. Set up a regular and recurring retainer. Retainers are locked-in at the $150 per-hour rate (at least) and 50% of unused time rolls over for one calendar month. (Some retainers like Managed Digital Plus, for ongoing site maintenance, include an additional 20% discount on pre-paid service time.)
  2. Set up one-on-one check-ins in advance. Monthly or even quarterly check-ins allow us to voice needs and expectations and benchmark progress before urgency creeps in.

If you’re concerned about what this might mean for the work we do together and our mutual commitments, please get in touch.