With the ever-changing landscape of work culture, a new phenomenon called freelancing has grasped the 21st century. An increasing number of people with special skills tend to render their service directly to the client. However, these freelancers with a unique specialty are often cheated in terms of payment and other things. This is when a freelance contract comes to their rescue.

What Is A Freelance Contract?

Slightly differed from a traditional employment contract, a freelancer contract refers to a legally binding document that binds the freelancer and the client based on the terms of the agreement. The contract consists of information about the pricing for the work that is to be done and contains exhaustive details on the work scope as well as a reasonable project timeline.

This contract makes the client liable for the timely payments along with other terms of services. Given the legality of the document, any violation therein will attract penalties from the authorities. The laws of the land where this contract is drawn will govern the terms of the contract.

When Do I Need A Freelance Contract?

A freelance contract is generally needed when you are working with one-time clients/freelancers or when you work with local clients/freelancers.

If you are working with an international client/freelancer, your email thread can serve as legal agreements too. In case of disputes, you may simply refer the other party to the email reply for the agreed terms and conditions.

Further, this is especially convenient if you are working with the same party over the months or years. All you need to do is send an email highlighting your conditions.

But if you are working with a party for the first time, it is in the best interest of both the freelancer and the client to have a formal written contract in place to avoid unforeseen events.

Part 3: What To Include In A Freelance Contract?

Freelance work without a freelance contract leaves a lot of opportunities for misrepresentation. This is the reason a freelance contract needs to cover as much detail as possible to avoid the freelancers from getting fleeced over.

  • Turnaround Time

So, how long will the project take? Or how soon do you want to get it done? It is important to mention the turnaround time on the contract so that no deadlines are missed.

  • Details of work

What does the project include? Is it only about web designing, or providing content a part of the project as well? It is important to explicitly talk about other similar details in the contract.

  • Additional work

What will be the course of action if additional work crops up? Will the freelancer charge at their existing rates, or the client is expected to pay them more? Your freelance contract must highlight the related details clearly.

  • Payment clause

Payment and pricing is a crucial point of a freelance contract. Most freelance contracts are either hourly or fixed-price projects. Both parties should agree on the payment part before commencing the work, and this should be reflected well on the contract.

  • Termination Clause

What if either party wants to terminate the project? Can they do that? Will they need to provide compensation for premature termination? Talk about this aspect in detail as well.

  • Ownership

Who retains the rights of the work once it is delivered and the payment is made. Can a freelancer showcase the work on their portfolio? An ideal contract talks about ownership rights in-depth to avoid any confusion later on.

  • Confidential information

Since most freelancers work remotely, taking care of confidential information is important. Make sure that your contract mentions the guidelines related to it.

Types Of Freelance Contracts

Work for Hire

These contracts make the client as the owner of the work delivered once the payment is made.

The Buyout

In these contracts, freelancers sell the original copyright of the work to the client. As a result, the freelancer loses all control over the work delivered. He or she cannot make revenue from the project delivered or showcase it in his or her portfolio.

Rights-Managed Contracts

These contracts include multiple-use and limited-use options. A limited-use contract imposes restrictions on the rights that a freelancer transfers to the client. The freelancer could also provide a time-limit, or allow one-time print reproduction rights. In either case, a freelancer is the sole owner of the original copyright.

Multiple-use contracts provide a broader scope. They allow the client to use the work delivered time and again.

There are unlimited rights freelance contracts as well which establish the client as the sole owner of all the copyrights on the work.

Consequences Of Not Using A Freelance Contract

● Not having a freelance contract could create confusion between both the involved parties with no documents to refer to when disagreements arise.

● Without a proper contract, there is no clarity on the payment method or penalty terms for late payments.

● The absence of a freelance contract will promote ambiguity on the deadlines, and both parties might even lose trust over each other.

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