Contracts are a crucial element of running your own business, but it can be frustrating to know where to start. For every freelance project you agree to work on, you should create a contract with the employer that includes the terms and scope of your work, as well as when and how you’ll get paid.
When you receive a contract from a potential employer, be sure to read it in full and look for pricing, the scope of your work, the length of time your work will go on for and what sorts of rights your potential employer has to that work. If you’re uncomfortable with anything in the contract, go back to the potential employer with your concerns. It’s better to bring those issues up before starting to work on a project with a contract that harms you later on.
Although some employers provide these contracts when you first work with them, some do not. With those employers who don’t provide the contract themselves, you can easily create one using online resources.
The Balance has an awesome set of five contracts freelancers may need, including non-disclosure agreements. Additionally, AND Co. has a responsive form that allows you to put all sorts of contract provisions into a handy legal document. These contracts, of course, are not binding until they have been signed by all parties involved.
These contracts can help you get paid on time and protect you and your work.
There are some cases where it makes sense to ask a lawyer for a second opinion on a contract. If your industry has a freelancer’s union, you can start looking for low-cost legal help there. Unions often offer cheap or free access to legal teams. Like all things, be sure you’re clear on the fees you’ll have to pay to the legal team up front!
- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #48