Too many freelancers (significantly new ones) rush into working with purchasers with out getting a freelance contract template signed and put into place.
Belief me, I do know. It may be tempting to skip the “formalities” of getting a contract contract signed by your busy consumer—particularly when you’re simply performing some consulting work for a mutual pal, otherwise you’re within the midst of the thrill round touchdown your first huge consumer. You simply wish to get to work and begin getting paid.
Nonetheless, not getting even a fast & straightforward freelance contract (like my free freelance contract template you possibly can seize proper right here) signed earlier than beginning your venture generally is a probably devastating determination with far-reaching penalties.
That can assist you get began and keep away from confusion along with your purchasers, I’m gifting away the precise freelance contract template I take advantage of when signing on new purchasers like LinkedIn, Zendesk, Intuit, Fundera, Shut and extra (at no cost).
Free Obtain: My Freelance Contract Template (Microsoft Phrase and PDF)
Table of Contents
- Free Obtain: My Freelance Contract Template (Microsoft Phrase and PDF)
- 9 Freelance Contract Template Essentials to Keep Protected and Get Paid on Time (Free Template)
- Right here’s the actual goal of a contract contract template.
- However, you don’t wish to go overboard in your freelance contract both.
- Free Obtain: Seize My Freelance Contract Template (Microsoft Phrase and PDF)
- 1. Clear Introductory Assertion to Your Freelance Contract Template.
- 2. Phrases and Situations.
- 3. Scope of the Project.
- 4. Modifications and Revisions.
- 5. Authorized.
- 6. Copyright.
- 7. Fee.
- 8. Termination.
- 9. Signatures.
- Free Obtain: My Confirmed Freelance Contract Template (Microsoft Phrase and PDF)
In my expertise since I began freelancing on the facet a number of years in the past, most freelance consumer relationships will proceed on with none points, however there’s all the time the off probability that there’ll be a miscommunication about one thing.
And not using a freelance contract template in place inside your small business, you’re leaving your self open to non-payment, legal responsibility, and potential authorized troubles.
I like to recommend studying this publish during from prime to backside, however when you favor to leap round, right here’s a hyperlinked desk of contents that’ll take you straight to every clause you’ll want in a contract contract. And naturally, you possibly can seize my free template proper right here.
9 Freelance Contract Template Essentials to Keep Protected and Get Paid on Time (Free Template)
Now, it’s lastly time to dive into this deep dive on how you can create a bulletproof freelance contract template to make use of with purchasers in your freelance enterprise.
Extra importantly—by having a contract contract (settlement) in place earlier than you begin a venture with a brand new consumer, you’re ensuring that each you and the corporate or particular person hiring you, know precisely what your relationship entails—and that you just’re leaving no main room for gray space about what you’ll be delivering.
It stands to purpose that the very best freelance contract template prevents potential disagreements and misunderstanding down the road, ought to your consumer change their expectations throughout your contract interval, or within the occasion you ship a chunk of labor that’s not what they had been anticipating—on this occasion, a strong freelance contract template will maintain each events pleased.
On this publish, I’m going to stroll by the important components each freelance contract template wants to incorporate, whether or not you’re a author, designer, marketer, developer, marketing consultant or in any other case. And I’ll be pulling from the precise freelance contracts I’ve used for my freelance content material advertising and marketing enterprise for years, together with offers like:
• An $80,000 settlement for 2 posts per thirty days, that’s continued for the previous twelve months.
• One other contract that’s translated into $17,500 for 7 weblog posts to this point.
• And the final one which solidified a $10,000/mo retainer contract for 4 posts per thirty days.
Affiliate Disclaimer: Please notice that among the hyperlinks on this publish are affiliate hyperlinks and at no extra price to you, I’ll earn a fee. Know that I solely advocate instruments and companies I personally use, take a look at and consider are genuinely useful, not due to the small commissions I make when you determine to buy them.
Right here’s the actual goal of a contract contract template.
Likelihood is, even with no freelance contract signed, you continue to know what your consumer’s anticipating out of your new relationship—the precise work that must be accomplished, and in what timeframe.
Your consumer additionally most likely is aware of your expectations of them, most significantly, how a lot they’re agreeing to pay you for the work, and by when.
Nonetheless, a contract contract settlement solidifies these conversations that always happen over the telephone or by way of lengthy e-mail threads, and removes any doubt, ambiguity or confusion.
A contract contract additionally takes away the chance for the (in my expertise, uncommon) unscrupulous occasion to assert they didn’t know what’s anticipated of them.
And on prime of those extra apparent causes, the sheer act of asking your consumer to signal a contract contract with you—clarifying the small print of your new working relationship—gives you an opportunity to fully qualify them and see in the event that they’re actually 100% critical about kicking off the venture you’ve agreed to.
In the event that they’re not able to signal a binding contract that states how a lot they’ll pay you, when, and for which deliverables, then my recommendation—just like the enterprise recommendation many entrepreneurs have shared with me—is to not work with them in any respect.
Run for the hills, particularly in case you have no mutual connection to the potential consumer (like when you began the dialogue from a chilly e-mail marketing campaign and don’t actually know something about them).
Higher but, discover a consumer that does respect and belief you adequate to signal a contract contract with you.
Should you don’t get a contract contract signed, you’ll solely open your self as much as the (very real) threat of non-payment after delivering work or working into misunderstandings about deliverables.
Plus, when you’ve a consumer who’s Skyping you in the midst of the evening, demanding a 3rd set of revisions earlier than they pay you, or altering directions and necessities the day earlier than the venture’s due, you’ll be glad you bought a contract contract signed that stipulates timelines and prices for extra revisions & requests.
Even when you do get your consumer to signal a contract contract and issues nonetheless find yourself going south, you’ll stand a significantly better probability of successfully suing the client that won’t pay up, maintaining in thoughts that litigation comes with it’s personal new set of prices, dangers, and time.
However, you don’t wish to go overboard in your freelance contract both.
The very last thing you wish to do is ship a possible consumer a 20-page freelance contract, nonetheless.
You gained’t get very far sending a number of pages of legalese that covers each conceivable risk, whether or not the situation is probably going or not, and it’ll solely add extra friction between you and getting your consumer to signal on the dotted line.
That’s why I personally use Bonsai to ship out my freelance contracts.
As an alternative of sending a contract contract to my new consumer in only a easy Google Doc format the place they’ll have to insert a signature file (or print, signal, and scan it again into a brand new doc), Bonsai permits me to add this actual contract I take advantage of, then ship it to my purchasers in a fashion that lets them shortly signal with only one click on—all digitally.
And significantly, I can’t advocate Bonsai sufficient. It’s made for freelancers, by freelancers. They even have a free 14 day trial you possibly can join proper now and if you find yourself liking it, upgrading to the complete model solely prices $16/mo. It’s significantly a steal for a way a lot simpler it makes getting my freelance contracts signed.
Whatever the instruments you’re utilizing, there are just a few freelance contract necessities that it is advisable embrace to make your life simpler.
Free Obtain: Seize My Freelance Contract Template (Microsoft Phrase and PDF)
Disclaimer: You should definitely adapt my freelance contract to satisfy your individual distinctive wants. This publish pulls from the precise contract I take advantage of in my enterprise (that has been constructed and tweaked with authorized assist over time), however I’m not an legal professional and this publish shouldn’t be interpreted as authorized recommendation.
Given the specifics of your line of labor, chances are you’ll wish to embrace different doable clauses that make life simpler for you, assist defend your sort of enterprise, and entice the sorts of purchasers you need.
With all of this in thoughts, we’re going to dive into the important components each good freelance contract must cowl.
This freelance contract deliberately accommodates solely crucial components that’ll allow you to get began at this time.
This part is fairly self-explanatory, because it merely introduces the principle events to the contractor settlement and affords a really brief overview of the settlement.
For simplicity sake, this part of the freelance contract additionally establishes the “Shopper” and “Contractor” designations in order that each events shall be known as such all through the remainder of the settlement.
Subsequent, your brief overview ought to describe what, typically phrases, you’ll be doing for the consumer.
Right here’s an instance of a full introductory assertion pulled from a latest freelance contract with a brand new consumer of mine:
Ryan Robinson (often known as “Contractor”) will present Planio GmbH, (often known as “Shopper”) with weblog posts and affordable promotion/distribution as to the specs detailed within the Phrases and Situations beneath.
Easy and concise, that’s it.
You’ll spell out the particular particulars of your settlement afterward within the Phrases and Situations beneath.
Lastly, you’ll wish to embrace a mutually agreed upon begin date for the graduation of your freelance contract—if you’ll start doing the precise work in your consumer.
I normally set up this future begin date over a telephone dialog (or e-mail) when finalizing the small print of what my consumer wants and once I can deal with getting began.
In any other case, your begin date will be the day your consumer indicators the freelance contract.
Backside line, there’s no have to get too detailed on this part—simply the necessities.
The aim of your introductory assertion is to make sure that you recognize who you’re working with, and that each events perceive the overall goal of the connection (expectations), so no one will get an unwelcome shock.
2. Phrases and Situations.
As a freelancer, you possibly can’t afford to permit any confusion about key expectations with your client relationships, whether they’re tasks you’re expected to do, or items you expect to receive from the client (that help you accomplish your job).
This is the section of your freelance contract agreement that clearly lays out these expectations.
Begin your Terms and Conditions by establishing what you want from your client—principally what the agreed level of payment is, how it should be paid, and when payment is due.
Ideally, you’ll have already agreed to a freelance contract arrangement that gets you paid by the job (or deliverable), rather than by the hour—especially if you’re running your freelance business on the side of other employment—you’re a contractor after all, not an hourly wage earner.
By having your payment rate specified clearly at the top of this section, you can avoid any potential disagreement afterward, should your client try and pay a lesser amount once the work is complete.
If you and the client agree to an upfront deposit, followed by one or more progress payments on the way to your final deliverable, these milestones should be outlined and specified here, too.
The next part of this section is very important: Your deliverables.
This is where you’ll bullet-point out specific details about what you’re agreeing to provide the client, and when you promise to deliver them by.
This section does need to be in sufficient detail—enough so that there’s no grounds for confusion.
For instance, if you’re a freelance writer engaged in crafting a blog post for a client on a particular topic, you should specify here what the post is about, an approximate word count, and the day that it is due for delivery to the client.
You may wish to break the project up and include milestones along the way for larger projects, particularly if there are likely to be different delivery dates for different sections of the project—like a series of blog posts.
Depending on your freelance specialty, you may need to include details about how you’ll deliver your work too.
For example, which file format—delivery as a PDF vs Word document or a JPEG vs Adobe Illustrator source file can be drastically different from the client’s perspective. You could promise to provide both electronic and paper versions of your end product.
Many freelance writers and content marketers may promise to provide extras to their clients on top of just the writing services, such as social promotion, teaching clients how to start a blog, answering a few relevant Quora questions and linking back to the original post, meta descriptions, and pitches to publications for coverage.
If you include these kinds of add-on services (like I do with my content marketing consulting), specify them in this section of your freelance contract agreement.
One of the more frustrating elements of freelancing can be scope creep on a venture.
Scope creep is if you and your consumer agree so that you can carry out a selected job, however the consumer asks for further duties, add-ons, or an unreasonable variety of revisions as you progress by the venture—thus increasing the scope of the project.
Should you get alongside nicely along with your consumer, likelihood is that you just most likely gained’t thoughts doing slightly bit further to make the venture prove that rather more superior—however there’s typically a high quality line right here.
Earlier than lengthy, you possibly can notice that you just’ve a ton of additional work at no cost.
Should you don’t set up clear tips across the scope of your venture inside your freelance contract, you don’t have any actual proof to show that the agreed upon deliverables have certainly modified.
By defining the scope, you may as well set up a set ending level for this freelance contract.
When you’ve carried out all the duties throughout the scope of your venture, you’ve technically carried out your a part of the freelance contract. In case your consumer desires you to carry out different work, then they should arrange a brand new contract for that extra work, not simply count on it to be performed as a part of the preliminary contract.
Be ready to alter your value (or present an extra estimate) when you’re requested to do something outdoors the agreed upon scope of the unique venture.
Bear in mind, you’re working along with your consumer, not in your consumer, to allow them to’t count on you to carry out at no cost.
Carefully associated to what’s outlined within the scope of your venture, that is one other part the place it’s as much as you to spell out the way you’ll be coping with requested adjustments, revisions or additions to your authentic freelance contract.
Personally, I like to make use of very pleasant wording right here too…
Fortunately, most purchasers are completely affordable folks.
They might need the occasional change primarily based on circumstances which have shifted on their finish, however the majority of freelance clients (in my expertise) is not going to count on a number of edits and revisions past what’s already anticipated.
Nonetheless there are some very choosy folks on the market—typically the perfectionists—who by no means appear happy, and persistently need you to alter your work. At no cost, after all.
Widespread sense guidelines the way you cope with adjustments and revisions.
If a consumer desires a minor, smart change to design or article that’s not going so as to add a lot to your time or bills for the venture, there’s no purpose why you possibly can’t accommodate their needs.
Alternatively, some purchasers usually are not significantly sure themselves about what they need.
This clause is particularly essential to guard your self from such a consumer who’s vulnerable to altering all the course of the venture if you’re midway by it—which is clearly disastrous to your workflow.
My normal freelance contract settlement permits purchasers to make adjustments if they want, however they’ll need to pay for it if the requested adjustments come after I’ve commenced work on the particular deliverable.
Should you’re midway by a venture that needs to be deserted with the intention to observe a change in course, this clause makes it very clear that they’ll nonetheless need to pay for the work you’ve already performed.
Nonetheless, there are some conditions when enhancing is commonplace (and certainly anticipated).
In these conditions, I’d embrace a phrase stating that your quote consists of one edit (or x variety of edits) inside a set variety of days of supply.
Once more, I’m not an legal professional, however I’ve realized and consulted with a number of attorneys over time about how to legally protect myself while doing freelance work on the side of full-time employment.
While I’ve been fortunate enough never to have been stiffed on payments by a deadbeat client (yet) or make any disastrous mistakes that warranted close examination of my freelance contract with the client, the first place I’d turn in one of these two events is the legal section of my contract.
The legal section of your freelance contract needs to protect you from the 1 in 100 situations (hopefully less frequently) when the unexpected does happen and something goes wrong with your client relationship.
You’ll see in my freelance contract template that I’ve included a few sentences that indemnify me from a broad range of consequences a client may believe they suffer from as a result of my work—the work they’ve approved and hired me to do.
I also include a clause stating that if any part of this contract is not written with enough legalese to stand up in a court of law, then that won’t affect the remaining provisions of the freelance contract.
You don’t want your entire freelance contract to be thrown out on some legal technicality you’re unaware of.
One of the more interesting features of US copyright law (that freelancers should read and pay attention to) is the portion about Works Made For Hire, because the copyright regulation itself even says, “The idea of ‘work made for rent’ will be sophisticated.”
In a nutshell, Works Made For Rent states that if a consumer contracts a freelancer to supply work, and nothing is alleged about copyright possession in any settlement, then the copyright really belongs to the creator, not the one that pays for the work to be performed.
In order a freelancer (when you do work with none agreements in place), even when that may be a paid venture, you really personal the copyright to that work until you in any other case launch it to the consumer.
Appears sort of bizarre on this context, proper?
Nicely, that’s why any savvy consumer will learn about this quirk in copyright regulation, so when you don’t have a provision permitting for this in your freelance contract, count on the consumer to ask you to signal their model of a copyright launch in some unspecified time in the future down the road.
Plus, it’s in your greatest curiosity to proactively deal with this in your freelance contract (like I do with my template). You don’t need your new consumer to really feel such as you’re attempting to tug a quick one on them.
Quick and easy will do, all you want is to determine clear possession switch of the work you create—after you’re paid for creating it.
There may be after all, one exception I like to incorporate in all of my freelance contracts in the case of the copyright part. As freelancers, we wish to (have to) showcase our work with the intention to entice extra purchasers and close more deals.
Therefore, it does make sense to incorporate a piece in your freelance contract settlement that allows you to use work you’ve created for highlighting in your freelance portfolio, showcasing your abilities, and even to be used in a higher content material advertising and marketing technique that’s designed to draw extra purchasers.
There’s nothing worse than not getting paid in your exhausting work as a freelancer.
Or having that fee delayed as a result of the consumer desires to pay you thru some sophisticated mixture of cash transferring companies—nothing derails the thrill of a work from home job quite like being toyed with on client payments.
We freelancers, like everybody else, have bills to pay.
Whether you’re freelancing full-time or looking to bring on a couple remote jobs on the side of your day job, your freelance income is self-employed income. And you probably have plans for that income—savings, keeping the bills paid, affording the next family trip, investing or otherwise.
Not having clear payment terms stipulated in your freelance contract leaves room for clients to delay payment. Here’s the section about payments I include in my freelance contracts:
This kind of payment (once per month) works best for me, but you may want to stipulate more payments spread out across the month or otherwise depending upon your type of work.
You can also stipulate that payment be made on a shorter (or longer) timeline after you’ve invoiced the client.
But without clear expectations around payment, it can make budgeting extremely difficult, and your income unpredictable at best.
You can get paid a couple of thousand dollars one week, and only $50 the next.
If you don’t specify when you expect your clients to make payment, then they can choose to pay you whenever they want, rather than when you want them to.
You may also choose to clearly state (or list out) acceptable payment strategies on this part too.
That is your emergency eject button.
A termination clause permits both occasion to exit the freelance contract, within the occasion the connection is clearly not figuring out for any purpose.
I’ve seen circumstances the place freelancers have had ongoing contracts they’ve labored on for a yr or extra, which have instantly come to a halt with a one-line e-mail from their consumer (and even only a full drop off in response), stating that the work is over with—at this time.
Not less than with a termination clause written into your freelance contract, you’ve slightly extra time to organize for the longer term lack of revenue if a venture will get instantly axed.
It additionally offers you and your consumer an exit clause for longer-term contracts which have labored out nicely, however are actually both winding down or presumably, due to altering exterior occasions, have to be wrapped up.
Maybe you’ve determined to maneuver in a distinct course along with your freelance enterprise, as an example.
It wouldn’t be a contract contract with out the signatures of each the freelancer and the consumer.
You’re now on the end line, and because the nice Anais Nin stated in certainly one of my favourite motivational quotes, “Great things happen to those who hustle.”
So, it’s time to hustle through and get your freelance contract template signed.
You may choose to do this digitally (which I recommend) using an easy one-click signature tool like Bonsai.
Or you will get their signatures straight throughout the Google Doc, by way of e-mail with scanned signatures, by mail or through the use of a free online signature maker.
Personally, I take advantage of Bonsai for getting digital signatures, which makes finalizing freelance contracts with purchasers in numerous geographic areas as straightforward as doable.
If a freelancer is given a normal contractor settlement by a consumer they need to watch out to make sure they know what they’re signing. Some contacts have very nasty one-sided clauses in them. For example, some corporations embrace restrictions that cease you from writing for anyone else. This places a contract author who usually works with a variety of purchasers, in a extremely dependent and precarious place.
By getting in first and offering the contractor settlement for a deal between you and your consumer, you’ve a chance to make sure that the phrases are honest and never one-sided. It additionally makes you look skilled.