What is a freelance contract template?
A freelance contract template is a legal contract between you and your client where you come to terms with certain projects or tasks. You can use this document in court, if necessary to defend yourself if any disputes arise. The most important purpose of a freelance contract is for you to have a legal document with properly organized information.
This document defines the scope of the project you’re working on and the work you provide. With your own freelance contract sample, you have a reference to turn to should your clients ask you to work outside the terms of the contract or when if they try altering the project into something that’s completely different from what was originally agreed upon.
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Types of freelance contract templates
The best way to protect yourself, your time, and your interests is to make a freelance contract in place before any freelance projects begin. Following are the different contracts clients may request you to sign should you consider to create your own contract as a freelancer.
- Letter of Agreement
Also referred to as LOA, this is an informal version of an agreement. Like any other contract, it contains an outline of the terms of your agreement. This is very useful when the contract will be between yourself and your co-workers, friends or anybody you personally trust.
An LOA has the same format as a simple letter. It becomes advantageous to both signatories because the language used is easy-to-understand and it’s very specific. The downside of the LOA is the risk of having loopholes in the agreement which could later lead to legal problems.
- Nondisclosure Agreement
In the case of larger business agreements, it’s the client who requests you to sign a nondisclosure agreement. This is for the protection of the client, making sure you won’t share anything about how the client does business. This becomes more necessary if you work for several clients involved with the same industry.
It’s also important if the client doesn’t want you to disclose confidential matters, proprietary information or private processes. As a freelancer, you should know and consider the information your clients deem proprietary. Then you should treat this information with the sensitivity it deserves.
- Formal Agreement
This is another contract provided to you by a client, especially when dealing with a big business enterprise like a major publisher or magazine. This is the most legally solid contract and is usually prepared by the client using a freelance contract sample.
When presented with such a contract, carefully read it and consult with a lawyer, especially if the terms and language in the contract are not clear to you. If you don’t, you may be accidentally giving away more than you want to or discover later on you won’t get compensated for any reason.
- Non-Compete Agreement
In this agreement, you agree not to take part in any business or compete with your client during the duration of your agreement. Sometimes, it applies even after the agreement has come to an end. If you are a freelancer, you have to be very careful in getting into such a contract as it can hinder you from taking on new work.
- Statement of Work
This is a very useful contract as it specifically defines the main points of the work arrangement. Moreover, it does away with the usual legalese that formal contracts have.
The clarity of these contracts avoids any ambiguities, which is very much appreciated by freelancers and clients. It’s almost similar to an LOA and as such, may lack details that might cause misunderstandings or questions later on.
Elements of a freelance contract template
Make it easier on yourself when you want to make your own freelance contract by adapting a freelance contract template that suits your needs. You already know the specifics in your kind of work but may still want to add other clauses to make life easier for you, protect your business, and attract your target audience. Following are the important elements that a good freelance contract sample should have:
- Introductory Statement
This introduces the parties involved in the agreement. It also provides a brief overview of the contract. To simplify matters, this section identifies the “Client” and “Freelancer” designations to make things clearer.
The main purpose of this section is to make sure you know the person you’re working with and that both signatories understand the purpose of your relationship. This helps prevent the occurrence of unexpected events later on.
- Terms and Conditions
You want to avoid any confusion about the expectations with your client concerning the work you’re expected to do or what you expect to receive from them. You can avoid all of these if you lay out all expectations from both sides.
In this section, begin by defining what you want in return from your client. If you have clearly specified the amount of payment at the top of the section, you could avoid potential disagreements afterward if your client should try not to pay you upon the completion of the work.
- Scope of the Project
Not establishing clear guidelines on your project’s scope within the contract shows that you don’t have any evidence that proves that the client has changed the deliverables you have agreed upon. However, if you have defined the scope, you can identify a set ending date of your freelance contract template.
Once you have finished all the tasks specified within your project’s scope, you have technically accomplished your part of the freelance contract. Should your client want you to do other forms of work, then there is a need for a new agreement for additional tasks although they shouldn’t expect you to accomplish these in the timeframe of the first contract.
- Changes and Revisions
This section may be closely related to what you have outlined in the previous section. It is here where, depending upon your discretion, you deal with requested revisions, additions or changes to the original contract. Most projects, especially the big ones, will get subjected to inevitable revisions. This section becomes very important as it protects you from client types who may change parts or even entire directions of the project even when you’re half-through it.
Obviously, this would prove disastrous to your whole workflow. Should the client decide to change course midway the project to follow a new direction, this section makes things very clear. The client should still pay you for the work that you have accomplished already.
This section of the contract protects you from any situation when anything unexpected happens like something going wrong with the relationship with your client. You don’t want your whole freelance contract to get invalidated because of a legal technicality that you’re not aware of.
As a freelancers, you work without any required agreements even if it’s a paid project. In actuality, you own the copyright to your work unless, of course, you release that right to your client. This a simple and short process where all you need to do is to establish clear ownership transfer of the work created after receiving payment for it.
You work to get paid and there’s nothing worse for a freelancer than not receiving payment for the hard work you have rendered. Another frustration is a delay of payments from clients who want to compensate you through a complicated combination of services for money transfers. This makes you feel like the client isn’t completely honest about paying you.
Whether you’re a full-time freelancer or just looking for more jobs aside from your day job, your freelancing income is a self-employed income. Like other people, you need such incomes for paying bills, affording family vacations, savings, investments, and so on. So, remember to have a freelance contract that has clear payment terms otherwise, it leaves room for your clients to delay their payments.
If there are no clear terms about payment, it makes budgeting very difficult. It also makes your income extremely unpredictable. You might also want to include the payment methods you accept in this section.
Including this section in the agreement allows either party to end the freelance contract in the event that the relationship isn’t working out or for some reason. One good thing about a termination clause included in the contract is that you have more time to prepare for the loss of income in the future should the project get terminated.
Like most other contracts, a freelance contract won’t become one without the signatures of the freelancer (you) and your client.
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