How to draft a freelance contract in 6 simple steps

Working as a freelancer has many benefits. Having flexible working hours and being your boss are just some of them. However, earning money as a freelancer can be complicated, since the monthly income is not a steady thing. Besides all the benefits of being a freelancer, there is one downside, too. No matter how good you are at your job, your income and all the work you do are entirely your responsibility. Being your boss can be great, but it also implies taking care of your legal paperwork without professional help. Most experienced freelancers write their contracts with clients. In the following article, we made a list of a few simple steps to help you draft a freelance contract.

The importance of having a freelance contract

Working as an employee in a company usually doesn’t require additional knowledge of creating a work contract. With some help from the legal department, most employees can get advice and any other help on this matter. However, freelancers usually don’t have all the legal assistance, which makes them in a curious situation. On one hand, they can work without a contract and rely on the trust they have from a client. More often than not, not having a contract in this situation is the key to disagreements and violations of rights. Without a signed legal contract, there is no guarantee that neither a freelancer nor a client will do their part of the job.

In order to avoid these complications and secure your freelance work, the best thing you can do is to create a freelance contract. This document will not only serve as an agreement with a client but also as a way of securing your work. Since the market for freelancers is constantly growing, it’s easy to stumble upon some unreliable and fraudulent clients.

You don’t have to be a law expert to understand how this contract works. Depending on the nature of your work, this contract can contain various clauses. Some of the most important ones will be about your general information, job description, payment methods, and deadlines. If you don’t have any legal assistance to help you draft this contract, keep reading. Here are some of the most important clauses every freelance contract should contain.

1.            Basic information

The first clause in every contract should be about general information about both sides. This will include your name, contact information, and important dates. Both you and your client will have to state your full names at the beginning of the contract. When signing a freelance contract with a company, it’s reasonable for a client to state the company’s name. If this is the case, the contract should also have a clause about the person responsible.

Even though you don’t have to be a paralegal to draft a freelance contract, all the information should be written with no mistakes. Even one misspelled word can make a difference in whether a contract is valid or not. When it comes to stating the basics, you should write your full name, residential address, email address, phone number, and other important information.

2.            Detailed job description

Every contract that requires some amount of work delivered should have a job description clause. The more details you include in this section of your freelance contract, the better. If both sides agree on the amount of work that is expected from you, this contract will prevent everyone from being let down.

When writing the job description, you should start with what you can deliver. For example, if you are a web designer, you can write how many revisions of your design a client can expect. In case a client violates any terms in this clause, your work will be secure and you will have to be paid accordingly.

Besides stating what you can deliver, you should also write down what you’ll be responsible for. This part of the freelance contract is relative since it will depend on your agreement with a client.

3.            Payment method

Without a valid contract, plenty of freelancers have issues with their monthly payments. If you want to avoid any issues in this matter, you should state all the details of how, when, and in which way you should be paid. If you work for an overseas company, your money will most likely be transferred by some of the online banks. Besides the amount of money you are asking for, you should also include different terms like preferred payment method, deadlines, and other important details

4.            Deadlines

Being a freelancer is more difficult than it seems, especially for those who work full-time. Since freelancers don’t have fixed working hours, they often take on too much work and business management softwarecan help you to organize your job a lot. Honoring the deadlines is often harder than it seems, which is why most clients will require this clause in the contract. When writing a freelance contract, make sure to think twice before writing about the deadlines. Have in mind that some dates could be flexible, but ultimately, you should agree on the most important deadlines with a client. When clients’ demands become too great, it’s easy to lose focus and break a deadline.

5.            Assigning ownership

Plenty of freelancers sell their work online, without getting any rights for their labor. This is a common thing most freelance workers expect in advance. Most freelance contracts have a clause about assigning ownership to their clients. This means that you are no longer the owner of your work (or project) once your client gets to it.  Since the client is the one who paid for the work you delivered, this isn’t a problem for most people.

6.            Termination clause

Working as a freelancer has its benefits, but it also has plenty of responsibilities. The termination clause in contracts exists to secure both you and your client. For this reason, every valid freelance contract should have a termination clause. If for any reason, any side is to terminate the contract, it should have all the terms included. This clause is usually written at the end of the contract and requires a description. Whether you are working on a short-term project or have a long-lasting relationship with a client, this clause will protect you from any legal troubles in case of contract termination.

Author bio

Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Finddigitalagency.