Many freelancers start small and, over time, take on more work and more clients until they have a healthy income and a lot of work to handle daily. But in between, a lot of growth happens to the freelancer and their business.
While the initial focus will be on gaining clients, producing higher-quality work, and generally honing the craft, many freelancers need to remember that they need protection for their income and business. Contracts are something that many people associate with big companies, but if you want to protect yourself in the best way, you need a business contract too.
You’re not going to be expected to write them yourself; it is better if you go to a lawyer to have it done for you. But here is why you need those contracts in the first place.
There will be expectations from both sides. You will be expected to deliver a specific amount of work and pre-agreed dates. Your client will be expected to pay on time and provide you with the provisions outlined in the contract.
A contract will help remove all possible misunderstandings and plainly state who should be doing what and when.
If either side breaches what is outlined, they have broken the contract, and the other party can take action.
Terms of Payment
While not all clients do it, many will push back payment and give you new terms after the work has been completed unless you have a contract. You can decide if you want to charge a set price per piece, hourly rate, or flexible. You can also choose how often you will be paid – although the client will want some input here.
You might like to state the invoicing system you use so they know what to expect. Give your clients copies of your timekeeping software to check invoices against it.
With a contract in place, clients will not be able to negotiate after the work is done or underpay you, with you having legal powers.
As a freelancer, you become privy to assets within a company that needs to be kept confidential. You might get insight into the business strategy, finances, new products, and more. It is in your best interests to keep things private. Within the contract or in a separate agreement, you should have an NDA.
While you are working on the project, the work is yours and will, in most cases, belong to you until you give it to the client. At this point, the rights of the work may be given to the client.
Some clients will require you to add a provision that means they can edit the work as they see fit – you may or may not be comfortable with that, so take some time to consider it before putting it into your contract.
A contract is designed to protect all parties and ensure that legal recourse is an option if there are any issues. If you’re reading this as a business and are on the fencer about freelancers, read this: Importance of Freelancers to Businesses. – Innov8tiv.