If you’re looking for more freedom and flexibility in your career, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are now self-employed, working a variety of jobs from web design to audio transcription. Some individuals freelance full time, and some only work a few hours per week. Whatever type of freelance work you plan to do, you must be familiar with the necessary freelance agreements and the standard forms used in the industry. Freelance agreements clearly defines you and your client’s rights and responsibilities in regards to services, payment, and confidentiality. Once you and your client have signed the contract, there should be no questions or concerns about the terms of your freelance agreements.
Consulting Freelance Agreement
A Consulting Agreement is a formal contract between a freelancer and a client. This written agreement outlines your terms of service and protects your business and financial interests.
A Consulting Agreement will include the following information:
- A clear description of the services you’re providing
- The length of your contract
- Payment details: how much and how often you will charge, whether you will take a deposit, and whether you will charge late payment penalties
- The notice required for ending the contract early
- Ownership rights to your intellectual property (any of your creative works, such as a piece of writing, a design, or a slogan)
- Provisions for confidentiality
Remember that you should be able to negotiate the terms of your contract to your satisfaction. In addition, you should always finalize your contract before providing any services to your client.
A Confidentiality Agreement, also known as a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), protects an individual or business’ proprietary information from being shared with outside sources.
If a client doesn’t provide you with this written contract, it’s a good idea to create one and avoid any misunderstandings in the course of your working relationship. For example, you would want to know if your client won’t allow you to mention the company or project in your resume.
A Confidentiality Agreement can protect the following types of information:
- Customer information, such as client lists and business relationships
- Intellectual property, such as trade secrets, copyrights, and proprietary software
- Marketing information, including campaigns or projects
- Business operations such as personnel data and internal costs
- Production and service information
- Accounting information
Your contract will set time limits on:
- Your duty, or obligation, of confidentiality
- The non-compete clause, which restricts you from starting a competing company or disclosing confidential information to your client’s competitors
- The non-solicitation clause, which prevents you from hiring the company’s employees or taking its clients away
Confidentiality Agreements are normally enforceable in court, so make sure you abide by the contract’s terms.
Another important freelance agreement as a freelancer is the Invoice. You will need to learn how to track the time you’ve worked and bill your clients accordingly. Using an Invoice Form can ensure you’re paid on time and will make you look professional.
Every invoice should have the following information:
- The date and an invoice number for future reference
- Contact information for you and your client
- An itemized list of your services (be precise)
- Hours worked (or specify if you were paid by the project)
- Terms of payment: total amount due, form of payment, and payment deadline
You may also want to state any late payment penalties in your invoice, for the rare time that a client fails to make an outstanding payment. This can be discouraging if you’re new to freelancing, so take preventative measures, such as specifying in your invoices the interest charged on late payments.
Remember to confirm who to send your invoice to and deliver it as soon as your project is complete. In addition, you should keep hard copies of all your invoices, as you will need them when you file your taxes.
You’ve chosen a good time to join the freelance workforce. Job opportunities are flourishing as are the online platforms for finding jobs.
As a freelancer, you are now your own boss. Freedom has many benefits, but it’s up to you to protect your business, finances, and intellectual property. One thing you can do is ensure you have these forms ready to go once you agree to work with a client. Working with written contracts allows you to lay out expectations for your client, ensure you get paid on time, and enhance your professional reputation. And don’t we all want to build our business?