Freelance work needs to be carefully documented by a contract to protect both the worker and the person who has hired them. A freelance agreement is essential to make sure that your time as a contractor is profitable and that you are able to protect the work that you do during the duration of this contract. The two parties involved in the freelance worker contract can look to this document for guidance about their relationship.
The clearer your freelance contract template is, the better your working relationship will be with someone who has hired you to do contract work. This is a common kind of relationship in specific industries, and if you work as a contractor, you will need to have a contract of this type on hand for all of your jobs.
Table of Contents
- 1 Freelance Contract Templates
- 2 What is a freelance contract?
- 3 What should a freelance contract include?
- 4 Freelance Agreements
- 5 How do I write a freelance contract?
- 6 Freelance Forms
- 7 Do freelancers use contracts?
- 8 Freelance Worker Contract Samples
- 9 Freelance Contracts Need to be Carefully Written
Freelance Contract Templates
What is a freelance contract?
The freelance artist contract template or freelance contract is used to explain the terms of a working relationship between two parties:
- The freelancer
- The person who hired them
The freelancer will offer services for hire, and the person who contracts to work with them will engage with them just to take care of the specific work that they are needed for. These are not long-term work relationships in most cases, and most contractors are hired just to take care of very specific kinds of work or work tasks.
The most common industries where contract freelance work is common are:
- Real Estate
Startups of all kinds usually contract with freelancers for unique tasks that need to be completed for those who are operating the startup as well. There are many different kinds of industries that employ the use of contractors of various kinds, and most of these relationships are handled per job and might only last for a few weeks at a time. This means that a contract that governs the nature of the work is essential to make sure that both parties are very clear about the nature of the work being done and what is being paid for.
Being able to break your contract or refuse to do assigned work is a key aspect of being a contractor or freelancer. If you do not state in your freelancer contract that you can break the contract at will, you will be skirting the edges of an actual employee and employer relationship. The self-guided and self-determining nature of this kind of work is what makes it most attractive to many contractors, and it is one of the reasons that this clause is so essential to any contract work relationship.
What should a freelance contract include?
The contract will always need to include the following:
- Client name and information
- Freelancer name and information
- Details about the work involved/ deliverables
- Specific dates for the contract
- Terms of payment for the work done
- Legal clarification of the contractor’s role in the job
- Information about how the contract can be broken by either party
As stated before, you might have specific details that you alter in each contract to describe each unique relationship accurately. Keep in mind that these basics must be included in each of your freelancer contracts for them to be useful to you as you engage in work in your field.
How do I write a freelance contract?
There are some general things that are included in nearly all freelancer contract templates. However, the unique nature of the kind of working relationship you are arranging can necessitate alterations to the usual contract formula. You need to be sure that the exact nature of the relationship between you and the person who has hired you has been made clear in the contract you have written.
1. Name of Hiring Company
The company or other party who is hiring the contractor or freelancer needs to be listed at the top of the document. The full legal name of the person or business must be used for the contract to be valid. No nicknames or shorthand names should be used. Make sure that the address of the business or person and their contact information is listed as well.
2. Name of Contractor of Freelancer
The person who is going to be providing the work needs to be listed in the contract by their full legal name or under the legal operating name of their contracting firm. The address and phone number of the contractor or freelancer need to be included in this section as well.
3. Dates of the Contract
The dates that the contract goes into effect and ends need to be explained in this part of the document. There might also be deliverables that need to be completed by specific dates. This information will need to be present in this part of the document. Without dates, it can be hard to defend any part of the expectations that either party might have regarding their relationship.
4. Services That Will be Provided
This part of the document will state the scope of the project as well as the way that the work will be submitted. There might be a need to define separate stages of the job if this is necessary. Many of these kinds of projects are done in stages, so each stage’s deliverables and goals will need to be carefully described for the benefit of both parties.
The type of work that will be accepted should be described, and the way that the work should be delivered should be clear. This might be in document form, or maybe the work needs to be uploaded to a website or sent to a group in a unique format.
If the hiring entity has exclusivity for the work involved, this needs to be stated. Confidentiality forms should be included as well if a non-disclosure agreement is involved. Intellectual property rights will need to be described as well.
Client responsibilities will need to be clearly defined, and you might need to state information about meeting dates if this is a necessary part of the process of signing off on the job. You can also choose to include which services are NOT included in the contract as well for further clarity.
This is the part of the document that states how the payments will be made by the client. This might be done via direct deposit, in cash, or in another method that both parties have agreed about in advance. No matter which way payment is being handled, it needs to be clearly and expressly explained in this section of the document.
There might be a contract fee that needs to be covered to secure the help of the contractor and this information should be included in this section. You might also mention if there are fees or other kinds of charges that will be removed from the total payment that is made for each stage of the document’s execution. If the entire job will be paid out in one lump sum, this information needs to be stated here as well.
6. Legal Terms
This section of the document will explain what the legal relationship is between the two parties involved in the contract. The reason for the work being done, as well as the relationship between the two parties, needs to be expressly stated here in this section of the document. The contracting rules of your state might need to be referenced in this part of the document, as well as any specific terms that the contractor and the hiring entity have discussed or agreed on.
This is a key part of the documentation process since contractors are paid very differently from employees. When this part of the document is not clear about the legal status of the contract worker, both the contractor and the employer might be fined for paying taxes incorrectly. Even if the nature of the work can easily be classified as contract work, without any contract in place, it can be hard to define the nature of the relationship between the two parties correctly.
This part of the document also needs to explain that the worker is there at will and they are not to be compelled to take on any work that they do not expressly consent to undertake.
7. Breaking the Contract
Whatever the acceptable terms will be between the two parties for breaking the contract need to be explained in the section of the document. There will need to be informed about what kinds of actions and what kinds of events will lead to the contract being null and void so that both parties can exercise their right to break the contract that binds them if they wish. This is also one of the critical elements of this kind of relationship that needs to be well-documented to protect both parties who have engaged in the contract relationship.
Both parties who are involved in the contract will need to sign the document and date their signatures. This is critical to show that the contract was legally signed and enacted. Without signatures, your contract will not be considered valid.
Do freelancers use contracts?
Freelancers use contracts just like other contract workers. Freelancers might work through a third party that helps them to land jobs and provides support at tax time, but they are still signing a contract when they agree to work with this third party. The third-party provides the work contract between the two parties in each job relationship.
Freelancers are always wise to have their own contracts on hand if they work outside of the governance of a third party that takes care of the documentation of the relationship in question. There are severe consequences for the freelancer and the person hiring them in some cases when there is no contract in place for a working relationship.
Contractors or freelancers can lose the money that they thought they were going to be paid if there is no contract in place to govern the work. They can also have their work stolen and their time wasted by an unscrupulous hiring entity. Freelancers can also be forced to pay taxes on work that they were not completely paid for, which can lead to financial difficulties if this happens frequently.
Hiring companies that are not protected by a freelancer contract can also lose money if the freelancer is not governed in their behavior by a contract. They might lose time fighting with the person who was supposed to do work for them that was never completed. This can also get very expensive if the issue has led to legal action against the contractor.
It is always wise for both parties to be sure that a contract document is in place that defines the relationship between both parties and explains the work that is to be done during the contract period. You would never hire someone or choose to take a job where there were no hiring documents in place, and contract work should be regarded in the same light.
Freelance Worker Contract Samples
Freelance Contracts Need to be Carefully Written
Due to the nature of the kind of work that freelancers and contractors engage in, it is important that both parties are clear about the details of the work arrangement in question. Having a carefully-drafted and complete contract in hand that defines the work that needs to be done is critical, and the signatures on this kind of document are required to make it legally binding. Without a freelance contract in place, neither of the parties can be sure that their rights within the relationship can be protected if there is a conflict.
Freelancer work is not like employment work, and it requires its own unique contract style. Without this kind of document in place, disagreements between both parties involved in this kind of relationship can lead to years of legal wrangling in the courts. Freelance contracts protect everyone who is involved in them, and they should be considered mandatory for any kind of contract relationship, no matter what kind of work is being done.