Let’s face it, a typical freelancer does not have easy access to legal counsel. However, drafting a freelance contract that protects you before engaging in a client-freelance relationship is crucial. The freelance contract should be clear and concise while outlining the scope of the job and expectations of both parties. This blog will provide you with 7 simple tips on how to write a freelance contract.
It is a good idea to use the services of a lawyer, which indeed can be quite expensive but is always best. In order to save money do your homework before meeting with a lawyer. Draft out something on your own so that it will make your lawyers’ job easier and faster, saving you those large hourly bills. A thorough freelance contract can then be used again for future contracts if the important elements remain the same. All you would need to do is change some of the specifics. So learning how to write a freelance contract is key.
Here are some factors when considering how to write a freelance contract:
1-Establish who is a part of this freelance contract
Provide the company legal names and address details. Clearly specify that you are engaging in a contract/freelance worker relationship and not an employee working relationship. This is important for tax purposes.
2-Provide details as to the scope of the project
It is important to clearly state each party’s responsibilities and what falls within and outside of the contract. Ensure that your client will supply you with the needed information or materials in a timely manner. You can begin by writing something like “Contractor will provide Client with the following services:… “ and “Client will provide contractor with….”
3-Establish a time frame
Consider the duration of the project, and be sure to give yourself enough time to complete the tasks without putting too much pressure on you and your other responsibilities and clients. Have specific milestones or benchmarks set. At each interval meet with the client to ensure you are on the right path and include the number of days the clients should get back to you with approval. Having a deadline is helpful to freelancers to ensure that you can schedule future work. Also, consider how long the terms and conditions of the contract will last. For example, you may need to include deadlines on your confidentiality clauses or perhaps future commissions after expiration of the contract. These situations will last longer than the term of the contract and should be specified.
4-Establish the details as to what the final product should look like
A strong Freelance contract should not leave any doubt on the end product to deliver. What type of files or formats should be specified? Who will own the final product and copyrights? You should definitely own the rights to your product at least until final payment is due.
5-Rate and payment conditions
The rate for your work should be agreed upon in advance as well as payment method. Will you be billing by the hour, by the project or a combination of both. Put the details in writing. Agree on the amount of the deposit and specifics to each installment, when additional payments should be made and the amount to be paid at the final delivery of the product.
6-Include potential changes when you can anticipate them
Often as work progresses the client will add or change their needs. For example, when it comes to design or programming there are often revisions needed. Agree in advance on the number of free revisions especially if you are being paid by the project. Some freelancers recommend working with one single point of contact. Get feedback and revisions through only one person so as to avoid confusion. Typical is to offer 2 free revisions or 3 maximum.
7- Termination of the freelance contract
Circumstances that allow for termination of the contract should also be considered and on what grounds this would be agreed to on both sides. Freelancers like to include the charge of a fee should the project be cancelled. Some charge based on the stage of the project while others have an automatic 50% penalty. Just be sure to get some form of compensation for work you have done should the project get cancelled.
This article does not provide legal advice on how to write a freelance contract. You should always consult with an attorney before signing any contract.