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Freelance Contract Agreement (Free Sample)

Freelance Contract Agreement (Free Sample)

Freelancers and clients must protect themselves against any legal issues that may arise during a freelance contract. A good freelance contract agreement can save you thousands of dollars in court fees, even if your client is at fault. Therefore, it's important to have a freelancer contract template on hand before starting work with a new client.

In this article, we will guide you on creating an enforceable freelancer agreement that protects both parties from disputes or misunderstandings regarding payment terms, project scope, ownership rights, and more.

What is a Freelance Contract, and Why is it Important?

A freelance contract is a legal document that outlines the terms of an agreement between a freelance worker and their client. The contract protects both parties by setting boundaries, rules, limits, and expectations for each party's responsibilities. For example, the contract specifies how much work will be completed within what time frame, what services or products are included in the project scope, payment terms (how much you will be paid and when), how the final product will be owned (by the freelancer or their client), who is responsible for what, etc.

A well-drafted contract should hold up in court if either party breaches it. This means that both parties are held legally accountable for their promises and responsibilities listed in the contract agreement.

The Importance of Contracts for Freelancers

Contracts are also important as a freelancer because they establish a professional business relationship as well as mutually beneficial goals between you and your client, helping to ensure smooth working relationships. In addition, should disputes arise about any terms or actions agreed upon in the contract, you will have something to reference, so both parties are on the same page.

It's important to note that just because a contract is signed does not necessarily mean it has legal power. A contract must be appropriately drafted and signed by both parties for it to hold up in court if either party breaches its terms. Therefore, it's important to have a contract drafted by an attorney specializing in legal matters typically encountered when working with clients.

When to Use a Freelance Contract Agreement

As a freelancer, you should create a contract agreement before starting work with any new client. Having an enforceable freelance contract in place will help establish clear goals and expectations between both parties, removing the chance of misunderstandings or disputes about what was agreed upon. Having this documented is especially important when working with clients who may be located outside your home country because it ensures that both parties are on the same page about payment terms and expectations.

Freelance contracts can also be helpful prior to the start of a new project with an existing client because they may already understand what you offer and how it will benefit them, but if any confusion exists, having a freelance contract could save them from misunderstandings or disagreements later down the road.

What Should be Included in Your Freelance Contract

A freelance contract template should clearly lay out all terms and conditions of the agreement, including:

1. Scope of Project -what work is included in the project? The Scope of a project is typically described as a list of deliverables, including any products or services the contract covers. It also includes a list of excluded items, such as non-listed products or services the freelancer will not provide.

2. Pricing and Payment Terms - how much will it cost? How is the price determined? What are forms of payment accepted? When is payment due? For example, 30% upfront, 40% when half the project is completed, and the remaining 30% upon completion.

3. Deadlines -when will work be complete? What happens if deadlines are not met? Will there be consequences for late work or non-completion of all tasks before the deadline? For example, your client could withhold payment for completed tasks or ask you to forfeit your rights to future payments for non-completion or lateness.

4. Project Scope Changes - are there any changes that can be made to the project without needing further written consent? For example, if your client wants you to switch tasks halfway through the project, do they need to sign off before you begin working on it? It's important not to deviate from the original Scope unless it's discussed ahead of time.

5. Ownership of Work -who owns the final product? For example, will the freelancer own the final product, or do they transfer ownership to the client upon completion? Will your client have usage rights for an unlimited amount of time, or can they only use it for a specific period? Or, perhaps you will retain full ownership of the product, and your client is only licensing it for a certain time.

6. Indemnification -who will be held responsible if there is a legal dispute or damages incurred on either side due to the contract terms? For example, if the freelancer's work infringes on someone else's copyright, who will be held responsible for damages?

7. Dispute Resolution -what happens if a dispute arises? For example, if there is a disagreement about the terms of the contract or if it's breached due to one party failing to meet its responsibilities. In the event of a legal dispute, where will it be handled, and how quickly should it be brought to court?

8. Termination -who can terminate the contract and how? For example, is there a minimum amount of time required for services before either party can terminate without penalty (for example, 12 months), or does the client need to give notice if they wish to end the agreement early? Is there an automatic termination date in the contract, or can either party terminate it at any time with no notice?

9. Legal Binding Language -in some cases, for a written agreement to be legally binding, it must include language such as "This is an Unfair Contract Terms Notice" and any other appropriate notices required by law. It's important to consult with an attorney about the correct legal language needed in your contract.

How to Sign a Freelance Contract

Both parties should sign and date contracts, so they each have a physical copy that both parties sign. It's also important to include the date when work began or will begin, although it's not required under the law. The best option is for both you and your client to sign it in person, but the second-best is for your client to send their signature by either fax or e-mail. However, if they choose the latter option, you should follow up with a phone call so that you can confirm they've received and read over all the terms.

If your freelancer contract includes deadlines, you should include specific dates when work will begin and be completed. This can help avoid disputes if your client says they never saw the contractor refuses to pay for the bits of your services that are outstanding.

Sample Freelance Contract Template

The following is a freelance contract template sample for a general contractor that can be modified to meet your needs. Please note that this template should not be used in its entirety word for word, but rather as a guide to what information should be included in your agreement:

This contract is made by

(The freelancer) of

(Business or Personal home address) ("the contractor") and

The client:

(Client Name), residing at:

(Client Address) ("the client"). Witnessed: Whereas, the contractor has agreed to provide the services described in the attached schedule for the client;

Now, therefore, in consideration of the foregoing premises and mutual covenants contained herein, it is agreed as follows:

1. Services - The contractor agrees to perform

2. Compensation - Client shall compensate contractor at the rate of $ per

4. Payment Terms - Invoices will be submitted monthly, and payment terms are net

5. Cancellation - The client may cancel this contract at any time by sending a written notice to the contractor. In the event of cancellation, the client agrees to pay for work completed prior to receiving a cancellation notice. If both parties agree, they can mutually change or modify this clause with written consent before anything is completed.

6. Confidentiality - Both parties agree to maintain the confidentiality of all information shared between them during this agreement and that any such information will not be used for purposes other than those intended

7. Dispute Resolution - In the event of a legal dispute, both parties agree to use mediation to resolve the situation

8. Termination - This contract can be terminated by either party at any time with written notice to the other party. If this contract is for an open-ended project, both parties agree that they will meet in good faith every 30 days and work together to establish a termination date or modify this clause if necessary

9. Legal Binding Language - both parties agree that this contract is legally binding.


The contractor's signature Date

The client's signature Date

Witness Signature (optional) Date"

Tips for creating your own freelancer's contract agreement

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating your own freelance contract agreement:

1. You should never sign a contract before you've fully read, understood, and agreed to its terms - if something doesn't make sense, ask questions! Don't be afraid to negotiate for what you want.

2. If needed, consult an attorney or other legal professional about changing or adding any terms to your contract.

3. A contract should include all the agreed-upon terms between both parties, including copyright ownership, limitations on the use of the final product, and usage rights for how long.

4. You can use a boilerplate contract agreement that you find online or create your own unique one - just be sure it's tailored to your unique situation.

5. You should always have your client review and sign the agreement - never move forward with services until they've accepted and signed it! Don't forget to include any deadlines for starting or completing work in the contract.

6. Include detailed payment information, including how much you'll be charging, how often you plan to bill, and any additional upfront fees.

7. Make sure it includes a clear statement of what each party (you and your client) is responsible for in the agreement. Also, make sure there's enough detail that either party can understand their responsibilities under the contract, especially if they're not familiar with your work or the industry you work in.

8. If possible, create a sample contract with your specific requirements and have a client sign it before starting any work. This way, there's no confusion about what's expected of either party and can save time going back and forth to clarify issues or make changes to the agreement.

9. Be sure to include allowances or limits on what you will or won't do under the agreement, as well as any limitations that don't fall into those categories.

10. To avoid misunderstandings and disputes later, make sure your contract includes all the work you plan to do (if possible), such as writing a blog post for 500 words at $100; creating a logo for 500px by 500px at $100; creating a logo that is 4" wide by 2" tall for social media campaign at $100, etc.

11. Be sure to check your contract before it's signed - if something seems missing or unclear, ask the other party to change it then!

12. Include information about how your client can cancel your services if that's an option.

13. Spell out the time frame for canceling your work - including how much notice must be given and what happens if you're already working on something.

14. Be sure to include details about who owns the final work product (i.e., copyright) if it's different from the parties involved.

15. A contract can be either for a set period or continue until the project is complete. If it's for a set period, you may want to include information about what happens if any changes need to be made after its completion - if they're substantial changes, you might charge an additional fee.

16. You should always keep a copy of your freelance contract agreement for your records and make sure the other party keeps a copy, as well. If you're using a digital one, you can also store it in a secure place online or on cloud storage.

17. It's important to include any penalties that either party may be subject to if they violate the terms of the contract - these are called liquidated damages.

18. Include information about what legal recourse either party has, if any, in the case of a violation.

19. Keep your contract easy to read and understand - try not to use too much legal jargon, so it's clear what you and your client are agreeing to.

20. Both you and the other party should sign and date it before work begins on the project, as well as keep a copy of the signed contract for yourselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

1: What is a Freelance Contract?

A freelance contract is a written agreement between an independent contractor and a client that defines the project's terms, Scope, expectations, and compensation. It ensures both parties are clear about what they're doing for each other, so there's no miscommunication or dispute later.

2: Do I need a Freelance Contract?

Whether or not you need a freelance contract depends on the type of work and the parties involved. For example, an ad agency might require all their freelancers to sign a written agreement, while another development company may trust that everyone understands how things work without creating one. When in doubt about what's best for your situation, it's often beneficial to have a contract in place.

3: How long should my Freelance Contract be?

If necessary. Most freelance contracts are around 3-4 pages, but it really depends on the Scope, length of time needed to complete the project, and other involved factors. It's often best to prepare a few different options and then decide which one is the more appropriate.

4: How do I get started on my freelance contract?

Start by identifying all the parties involved - including you, your client, and any other individuals or companies that may be involved in the project. Then write up everything you plan to do for your client, including how much they should expect to pay. Your contract may also include additional notes or important information to keep in mind while you're working on their project - be sure this is clearly stated, so everyone understands the expectations and time frame.

5: What details should my freelance contract include?

A general but complete list of project notes, due dates, pricing expectations, possible changes to previous agreements, confidentiality information, any additional costs that may apply specifically to the project - like hiring an assistant or buying supplies for whatever you're doing. You can also include information about what happens if something goes wrong during the project, like if you're unable to complete it on time or can't resolve some aspect of the work.

6: What should I do if the Scope of work changes during a project?

If you're not comfortable with certain aspects of the project, it's best to address this before accepting. If it happens after you've already signed the contract, let your client know right away so they can decide whether this is a problem and how to move forward from there.

7: What should I do if a client doesn't pay?

First, try to reach out and see what's going on. If you can't get in touch with them or they refuse to pay for whatever reason, you have the right to pursue legal action as determined by your contract terms. In some cases, it may benefit both parties to negotiate an alternative resolution, so everyone is satisfied.

8: What are the most common mistakes freelancers make with their contracts?

The most common mistake freelancers make is not having a contract at all - especially for larger projects where there's more work to do. Without a written agreement that clearly defines what's being done and how it's being paid for, it's possible that either party might forget certain details - leading to problems later. Many freelancers also forget to include confidential information about their work or how it can't be shared with others without prior approval from the client.

9: What are some other things I should consider when creating my freelance contract?

It's not a bad idea to include a clause that leaves the door open for possible changes or additional work, especially if you're just starting out and aren't sure how busy you'll be in the future. You can also include a notice about what happens if your client is late with payments, but only if this is something they've done before or it's been discussed.

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