Freelance is growing as a way for people to earn a living. We’ve probably all heard stories of freelancers doing and completing large, complex projects and struggling to get paid for the work.
Having a contract between you and the client can reduce future misunderstandings about payment terms, delivery times, revisions, and who owns the rights to completed work.
How to write your freelance contract
Here are the steps you can follow to create your freelance contract:
1. Introduce the parties making the deal
The first thing you need to do is include the names of the companies that will be signing the agreement. If the agreement is between two companies, you must list the respective trade names and signatories. If the agreement is between a company and an individual, you indicate your company and to whom you provide the service.
2. Define the scope of the project you are delivering
Clearly describe what the end product of the project will look like. Detail the deliverables you will provide and the information you expect from your client, including expected timelines if possible. You want to include timelines for the deliverables you need from the client, so they understand that they are also responsible for completing the project on time.
3. Specify how revisions will be handled
Whether you’re a freelance photographer, graphic designer, or editor, revisions are part of most projects. Here are some questions to consider when creating this section of the contract:
- Will there be unlimited changes until the customer is satisfied?
- Do you want to set a maximum number of revisions, after which you will charge an additional fee? If so, what will the costs be?
4. Describe payment terms
Payment terms are a crucial part of any contract. What are your payment terms? Here are some questions to think about when creating this part of the contract:
- Do you need a deposit before starting work? If yes, how much will it be?
- Is the final payment due at the end of the project or do you want payment after completing each stage of the project?
- What form of payment do you accept (eg check, credit card, cash, PayPal or other form of electronic payment)
5. Clarify who owns copyright on completed projects
Copyright disputes are often in the news because each party thinks they own the rights to the item they claim ownership of. You want to make sure you specify whether the client can use your work for purposes other than what the client hired you for. Some freelancers ask for additional payment for the right to use the project for other purposes.
For example, a photographer will charge a fee for a photoshoot, and once you pay it, you’ll get the images the photographer took. If you decide to use one of the images for a book you publish, you must pay the photographer an additional fee for commercial use rights.
6. Define the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract
We can make deals with the best of intentions, but sometimes things don’t work out and one or both parties want to terminate the contract. In this section of the contract, you want to define the terms that would allow either party to cancel the agreement. Here are some conditions under which you might wish to terminate a contract:
- Bad treatments
- Missed deadlines
- Resources unavailable
- Natural disaster
- Inability to complete the project within the specified time frame
7. Describe non-compete and non-disclosure terms
If you work for another company, they may want a guarantee that you won’t do similar work for a competitor. Including a non-competition clause in your contract assures your client that they don’t have to worry about you working for a competitor in the future.
When working on a project, companies often have to share information that is not intended for the public. A non-disclosure clause allows your client to feel comfortable sharing the information you need to complete the project.
8. Include the date of the contract and leave space for signatures
To complete your contract, indicate the date on which you and the client will sign the contract. You want to leave space for both parties to sign the agreement and type or print the names under the respective signatures. The names of the signatories must correspond to those you mentioned at the beginning of the contract.
If, after going through the steps to create an agreement, you’re still hesitant to create one, here are 5 reasons why freelancers should create employment contracts.
Models of independent contracts
Below are links to sites with templates you can download to help with your freelance contract:
If you are considering becoming an independent consultant, you can consult the contract templates available on this site. You can select your contract template by state of residence on eforms.com.
If you are looking for a template that will help you create a freelance contract with all the details, you must choose this one available from Wise. The document already contains all the clauses, so you only have to fill in the blanks.
Virtual assistants are increasingly in demand, and if that’s the type of work you do or want to do, you can find contract templates at Wonder Legal. If you’re not a virtual assistant yet and are considering becoming one, you might want to know what a virtual assistant is and how to become one.
Graphic designers need a contract with their clients to protect their intellectual property and get paid when clients use their work commercially.
If you are a graphic designer looking to update your contract or a new beginner graphic designer, you might want to check out the template offered on this site. If you’re just starting out, you might want to learn some tips to start your career as a freelance graphic designer.
Make sure you have a contract before your next freelance job
Before you start your next freelance project, you want to make sure you have a contract ready to give to your new client. Whether the client is someone you just met or a friend or colleague you’ve known for years, you want to make sure you have a contract signed by both parties to avoid future confusion or conflict.
If you’re a freelancer in a career not listed above, you may be able to find a template related to your job, or you can customize an existing template, tailoring it to your industry. For anyone who might feel intimidated by preparing a legal document, you can seek professional advice from someone in the legal profession.