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Free Freelance Contract Templates (MS Word)

Free Freelance Contract Templates (MS Word)
Photo by Dimitri Karastelev / Unsplash

As a freelancer, you should have a written agreement for your freelance work. Without an agreement, misunderstandings may occur. Having a freelance contract in place is an important step in protecting both you and the clients you work for. A freelance contract helps establish the working terms between you- the freelancer and a person or company you are offering your services to. A well-crafted freelance contract can help both you and your clients understand what to expect from each other during the duration of the contract.

What is a Freelancing Contract?

A freelance contract is a legal agreement between a freelancer and a client outlining the terms of their working relationship. The contract defines the scope of the project and sets clear the expectations of each party (i.e., the freelancer and the client) for a specific project over a given period.

Freelance contracts are legally binding and are admissible in court. Freelance contracts can be presented as proof in court in case of a dispute and can help settle any issues that may arise during the duration of the contract.

Alternative names of a Freelance Contract

A freelance contract can also be referred to as a:

· Company contract agreement

· Client Freelancer agreement

· Contractor agreement

· Freelancer agreement

· Freelancer contractor agreement

· Independent contractor agreement

· Independent consultant agreement

Common Uses of a Freelance Contract

A freelance contract can be used for any freelance project done by a freelancer. Some of the common situations that may require a freelance contract include:

· An office hires a freelancer to file their taxes

· A family hires a person to watch their cat or dog while on a vacation

·  A mother hires a live-in babysitter to watch her baby

· A magazine hires a freelance journalist to write an article

· An organization hires a web developer to create a website for them

· A company hires a freelance marketing consultant to promote their brand

Types of Freelance Contract Templates

There are different types of freelance contracts that one can use depending on the type of freelance work they are doing, the type of information they are handling and the level of commitment. Below are some of the most commonly used freelance contracts that you may be required to sign by a client:

1. Letter of Agreement:

A Letter of Agreement (LOA) is an informal version of a freelance contract. LOA’s usually contain the terms of the agreement and are very useful when a contract is between a freelancer and their friends, co-workers, and the people they trust.

An LOA uses a simple and easy to understand language and is advantageous to the parties signing it as it outright lays out the terms and expectations of each party.

2. Non-disclosure Agreement:

Your client may require you to sign a non-disclosure agreement when you are handling sensitive projects which may involve you having access to trade secrets, recipes, patent information, and other sensitive information that, when disclosed, may cause the business, company, or client a lot of money or give their competitors a competitive advantage over them. The client may require that you sign the non-disclosure agreement to ensure that you will not disclose anything that is sensitive to their business.

The non-disclosure agreement will define what is deemed confidential and establish the nature of your relationship with the client.

3. Formal Agreement:

A formal contract is usually issued when dealing with a client in big industries and corporations like major publishers or magazine companies. Like any other freelance contract, formal contracts lay out the terms of the project, define the project’s scope, and establish the relationship between the freelancer and the client.

When presented with a formal freelance contract, it is important to first go through it carefully with a lawyer or attorney, especially if you do not understand the terms laid out in the agreement.

4. Non-Compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements are usually issued by clients when they would like the freelancers working for them not to work for their competitors, take part in related businesses or compete with them during the duration of the agreement. Non-compete agreements may also remain in effect even after the contract has ended. It is important to read and understand the terms of the non-compete agreement to ensure that you remain compliant even after the contract ends.

5. Statement of Work

A Statement of Work (SoW) is a contractual document that outlines what goes into a project in as many details as possible. It defines the scope of work given, the project deliverables, the timelines, work location, and the payment terms and conditions. SoWs usually avoid any ambiguities common in other types of agreements and are very much appreciated by clients and freelancers.

What Should be Included in a Freelance Contract?

There are key elements that make up a freelance contract and make it admissible in court in the event of a misunderstanding. The following are the most important element that any freelance contract should have:

1. Introductory Statement

The introductory statement defined the relationship between the client and the freelancer and provided an overview of the freelance contract. The main purpose of an introductory statement in the freelance contract is to define who the client is, the freelancer is, and what is bringing them together. This makes clear the purpose of the contract and leaves no room for misinterpretations.

2. Terms and Conditions

A freelance contract should also set clear the terms and conditions for the project. By laying out what is expected from the freelancer and the client, freelance contracts help avoid any confusion about the expectations of each party in the agreement.

3. Scope of the Project

The project’s scope is very important in any freelance agreement as it helps define the project’s deliverables and helps both the freelancer and the client track the progress and changes made on the project deliverables and timelines.

It is important to establish what the project is all about and how it should be covered to avoid any misinterpretations.

4. Changes and Revisions

A freelance contract must contain a section detailing how any changes, revisions, additions will be handled. If you are handling a big project, revisions are usually expected. The changes and revision section is very important for any freelance contract as it protects you from clients who may decide to change the deliverables of the project or even the entire project when you are halfway through it.

A legal clause should be included in a freelance contract indemnifying either the client or the freelancer from any litigations that may arise due to a legal technicality or any other unprecedented factors.

Copy right clauses are usually included in a freelance agreement to show that the client has been given full permission to use the contents of the work done by the freelancer. Unless included in a freelance agreement, the freelancer retains the copyrights of their work and is up to their discretion not to reproduce the contents of the work done.

7. Payments

A freelance contract should define when and how payments will be made. It is important to ensure that the payment terms are clearly defined in the contract to avoid misunderstandings. The payment method used should also be flexible and available to both the freelancer and the client.

8. Termination

A termination clause sets clear how the contract may be terminated. A termination clause is important in a freelance contract as it helps the freelancer understand what may lead to the end of the contract and helps them prepare for the loss of income in the future.

9. Signature

Both the freelancer and the client must sign the freelance contract to show that they acknowledge the contents of the contract. Without a signature from both parties involved, the contract becomes inadmissible.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should I include in a freelance contract?

A freelance contract should have the name of both the client and the freelancer, should define the services offered, define the project’s deliverables, have a timeline for when the project is to be completed, the amounts payable, when and how payments should be made, how the contract can be terminated and signatures from the parties involved.

2. What if I don’t have a freelance contract?

Working without a freelance contract in place may lead to misunderstandings, which may lead to litigation, which may be costly or loss of income. Employers using freelancers without a contract in place also risk losses in terms of legal expenses, time, failed projects, money and other costly resources.

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