What is a freelance contract?
A freelance contract is a contract that any freelancer can use to legally bind a client to a previously spoken agreement. It's a must-have tool if a freelancer takes their work seriously and wants to get a proper hold of expectations for their freelance projects.
Now, a freelance contract template is the bare bones of a contract. It has all of the legal jargon you need to be covered to uphold your agreement lawfully. Your contract template is adaptable, flexible, and ready whenever you are. All you need to do is tweak the details.
Sign-up now and get instant access to your free freelance contract template by becoming a member of Bonsai.
Why you need a freelance agreement
No matter your industry, every freelancer needs to utilize freelance contracts if they hope to keep their business afloat. It's the best legal advice we can give. Why? Businesses are in a constant state of flux. Their priorities change, their staff churns, their strategies pivot. However, that doesn't mean that your freelance business should suffer because of this.
When you introduce this legal document to your new client onboarding process, you introduce a safety barrier around yourself and your work. You're protected.
At the same time, this written agreement protects your client too. The freelancer and their client should enter a working relationship feeling more secure with a written agreement on the table.
What should be included in a freelancer contract
Although stating the fact that you use freelance contracts is not something that needs to go front and center in your website portfolio, it is something your freelance business should present upfront.
So, here's what we suggest you include in your freelance contract, from legal advice to project details; this article covers it all.
Named Parties and Relationships
Every independent contractor needs to start their freelance contract off by naming all of the parties involved and their business relationships with each other.
In other words, who are your key stakeholders for this project? Exactly what is each person responsible for? Get it down in your first clause.
Scope of services or product
Of course, this section will differ drastically depending on the independent contractor and their industry. However, your next clause needs to include the scope of services agreed upon or the product offering.
It's in your client's business interests to have this on paper—and yours as well. This manages expectations and gets everyone clear on what they can expect.
Clear project milestones
Leave space in your freelance contract template to map out project milestones. These may be few and far between, or there may be multiple milestones in your agreement.
Milestones are also KPIs that showcase you're on track to complete this freelance contract successfully.
Project requirements and responsibilities
As an independent contractor, this clause may or may not vary depending on your offering. If you have a rinse and repeat offering like a product or offer only one service, then you'll never need to touch this section of your contract template once done.
However, if you offer multiple products or services tailored to your client's needs, you’ll need to outline what's required of you and your business here, and what you're responsible for, every time you sign a new client.
Schedule and date of the project
It may seem like a basic necessity, but you'll be surprised by the number of contracts we've seen that miss mentioning dates!
Your contract template needs to provide a start date, milestone dates, and the date you expect the completed services to wrap up. If your freelance contract is an ongoing contract, don't worry about providing an end date, but we suggest you present a review date.
Another one that won't need to change—for your part—in your freelance contract template. Layout your:
- Cost of the entire contract
- Payment terms
- payment methods
- Payment schedule
- Client invoicing information for you to create an invoice
- Capital or downtime costs
- Partially completed work fees
- Sick pay (if any)
Intellectual property rights & ownership
Perhaps you'll have your client's prior written consent here, or maybe this is something you're bringing up for the first time within this clause.
If you're bringing it up for the first time, be sure to highlight it to your client, so they don't feel as though you're trying to slip the intellectual property rights of the project or outcomes past them.
Layout who owns—and will own—what.
Termination of contract
Every freelance contract template needs to make room for a termination clause. We know it's not pretty, but it is a necessity. That doesn't mean to say your contract is going to be terminated, but it does show your client that you're a serious independent contractor. Things to establish here are:
- Establish clear ownership transfer of all project data & content
- What is the client's intellectual property
- The prior written notice either party needs to give
- What will happen with any third parties involved
- Who will cover legal expenses
Last, but not least, your formal freelance contract needs to include anything unique to your business, the freelance work you provide, and anything specific to this working relationship.
Simple freelance contract
Ready to get your hands on your free freelance contract template? It's ready to download whenever you are. Simply sign up to the Bonsai platform, and you'll have your generic contract template in just a few minutes.
What's the benefit of using Bonsai instead of editing a template yourself?
Professional experts legally vet bonsai’s contracts. They include everything you need to know, without needing to know it.
When you use the freelance contract template provided by Bonsai on this page, you can rest assured knowing it will serve you in your best interests.
How to create a freelance agreement template with Bonsai
This one's easy to answer. Simply sign up for the Bonsai platform, select the freelance contract template you can see on this page, and you'll get instant access. From there, you can:
- Fill in the blanks
- Make any tweaks or adjustments you need
- Send it to your client in a couple of clicks
Freelance contract template FAQs
A few freelance contract questions we see regularly are:
What's the difference between self-employed and freelance?
A self-employed person is someone employed by themselves. They tend to be business owners, work with freelancers to get their job done and receive a monthly salary.
On the other hand, a freelancer will typically work on projects and be a player in a grander project. They will not be on a salary, but will be paid per project.
How do I make a freelance invoice?
Simple. You need to collect your client's invoicing details, typically their address, registration/ VAT number, and name & email. From there, you need to create a PDF document with your details in it, including payment details, VAT/ registration number, and address.
Date your invoice, add what you're getting paid for, add VAT if applicable, and insert your payment terms. A freelance invoice is a regular doc you'll be using as a freelancer, alongside a freelance contract and project proposal.