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10 + Must-haves in your freelance contract

Entrepreneurs | 05 November 2020 | Written by Jenny Bjorklof

An air-tight and well-structured freelance contract is crucial. When done correctly it can serve as a proper safety net when you need it the most. But, what should this contract include in order for it to be rock solid?

10 + Must-haves in your freelance contract
A law binding contract, or cooperation agreement between myself as a freelancer and a client helps me protect myself and my business in case something goes wrong. It also gives clarity and sets realistic expectations about the project, both for the freelancer and the customer.
 
I consulted Intolaw for tips on the must-have entries that I should absolutely include in a contract, or cooperation agreement between myself as a freelancer and a client.

Contract must-haves

1. Project information
  • Who is hiring who (company names, company numbers, addresses, contact persons…)
  • A short summary about the scope of the project
  • Responsibilities of both parties
  • Project time and duration
  • State that it is an independent cooperation agreement. It must be clear that it is a freelance contract and not an employment contract. This to eliminate the claim of bogus self-employment.

2. Pricing & rates
  • Are you going to charge a certain sum for the whole project or for the hours you put into it?
  • Add minimum and maximum working hours clause if you charge by the hour, stating that the project will take no more time than X and no less than Y. 

3. Payment terms
  • Payment schedule: three instalments (e.g. 30/30/40), two instalments (e.g. 25/75) or upfront payment schedule.
  • How much time does the client have to pay you?
  • What happens when the client pays late?

4. Project details, tasks and deliverables.
  • Provide a brief and well-structured overview which you can review with the client and adjust if needed.   

5. What to do when there is additional work outside of the initial project?

  • Add the procedure you will apply when this happens. Can you outsource this to your network? Or does your client have internal help you can rely upon? 
6. How many revisions are included, and what is the procedure when more revisions are needed? 7. Terms and conditions
  • Are you allowed to use third-party providers?
  • How to raise a complaint
  • Is there a non-compete or non-solicitation clause?
  • Are you allowed to make publicity about the client collaboration?

8. Copyright and intellectual property
  • Who owns what?
  • Retain all copyright of your work until the project is completed and paid for. Once all is concluded the rights are transferred to the client. 

9. Cancellation & illness
  • Include how termination should be done (process)
  • How long is the notice time?
  • Kill fee or cancellation fee
    • If the project is terminated for whatever reason (client goes bankrupt, cancels the project, etc.) the client is obliged to compensate you financially for the time already put into the project.
  • What happens when an external cause, circumstances beyond one’s control or coincidence prevent(s) a party from fulfilling its commitment (force majeure)?

10. Signatures, date, time
  • This might seem obvious but if these elements are missing your contract can be deemed void. 

The aforementioned list gives you an overview of some of the essential elements you could include in your contract so that it can protect you and your client in case something goes wrong.  Additionally, I think it is always a good idea for freelancers to enlist the help of legal experts when setting up their contracts. Just to make sure it complies with all the necessary requirements.


 

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