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Free Freelance Editing Contract Template

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Table of Contents

What is freelance editing?

A freelance editor is a professional who is hired on a project-by-project basis to review a text or manuscript in order to improve its content and writing. 

How do you write a contract for editing?

Here's what should be written Into the editing agreement: Basic information. Outline the conditions for payment. The required scope of work, timeline for the project, termination provisions, list the services that are provided, some examples of your work.

What are the different types of editing?

The 5 main types of editing are: developmental, content or copy editing, structural editing, line editing, mechanical editing.

Freelance Editing Contract Template
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What is a Freelance Editing Contract?


When working as a freelance editor, it’s important to have a freelance editing contract to cover new and existing clients and projects. Contracts serve as a mutual agreement between you and the organization or individuals that you’re working with. 

It’s key for ensuring everyone’s on the same page when it comes to project scope and details.

A freelance editing contract is something you could create from scratch—but knowledge of what to include is crucial. That’s why a freelance editing contract template is highly beneficial for your team or freelance business. It can provide you with a strong starting point when drafting up a contract.

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An editing contract template includes all the relevant language and clauses so that you can focus on the finer details—like project scope, payment schedule, and terms and conditions. 

It’s important to have all of your requests and conditions of working written down in the document—and it’s essential that all parties be in agreement. A contract is signed by both parties so that it offers a level of safety for both you and the client—it’s both of your responsibilities to ensure everything is in check.

Note: Create your freelance editing contract today. Sign up to Bonsai for free to start accessing hundreds of proposal, contract, invoice templates, and more.

What to Include in the Freelance Editing Contract


A freelance editing contract can help formalize the business relationship between you and your client. It helps secure payment for your work, it details the work you’re providing to the client, and outlines the various clauses that help protect you and the services you offer.

Basic details

It’s important to include all of your contact details as a freelancer editor—your name, business name, and address should all appear at the top of the contract. 

Remember to include the client’s details—this is essential for ensuring the contract legally binds the correct parties. Make sure all info is accurate and up to date, every time you send out a new contract.

Include basic info to your freelance editing contract

If the information isn’t accurate, you face one of two issues:

  1. The contract is rejected and you face delays in your editing project
  2. The contract stands but doesn’t include the correct parties

This could become an issue further down, in the—albeit unlikely—case that you encounter issues or need to settle disputes. You want to be 100% sure that contact details are correct. 

Outline the payment terms

When drafting up your freelance editing contract, it’s important to outline the payment terms in detail. Be specific on your payment terms—if they’re not accurate, it will delay the delivery of payment, which none of us want!

Some freelancers prefer payment via bank transfer whereas others prefer more modern methods, such as via eWallets like TransferWise and PayPal. 

Bonsai top tip: If you haven’t looked into Bonsai Cash now could be a great time. It’s a business account for freelancers that helps you better manage your cash flow.

outline your payment terms in your contract

Be sure to also add in your payment timeline—you can discuss this with the client to ensure both parties are happy with the terms and able to uphold their responsibilities. Some clients prefer to pay instantly, others may decide to pay within a set period, such as 14 business days or 30 calendar days. Be as specific as possible to avoid any confusion or room for error.

Here’s an idea of how you could go about communicating your payment terms:

Payment is made within X days of invoice. Any payment made after the due date will be subject to a late fee of X.X% per week.

A late fee is typically a certain percentage of the total amount owed. This is usually around 1-1.5%, but it’s up to you. Research from IPSE found that self-employed workers spend an average of 20 days per year chasing late payments. Shockingly 43% write off at least one unpaid piece of work.

If in doubt, seek legal counsel when it comes to this part of the contract. It’s always best to get a professional eye on your contracts to make sure they’re correct and all information is present. It’s a smart move that you can do as a freelancer in order to help avoid late payments where possible. 

The scope of work required

Some freelance editing projects may be more complex than others. With complicated projects, it’s good to clarify the scope of the work required. Being clear and concise on the work you’re providing is going to help ensure both parties agree to the scope and avoid any confusion or misunderstandings further down the line. 

Freelance editing contracts are key documents in your business relationship—they clarify exactly what you’ll be working on for exactly what fee. The scope of work specifically is key for avoiding scope creep. Scope creep is when a freelancer ends up completing extra work for no extra remuneration.

This can be frustrating as a freelancer—your time is your money, and you want to avoid doing extra work for nothing. Be specific on the work you’ll be providing, and highlight the costs associated with expanding the scope of work.

As a crucial part of the freelance editing contract template, the scope of work limits doubt and ensures you can continue your work, worry and stress-free.

Timeline of the work

When entering into an editor contract, it’s essential to provide a timeline of your work. 

Some clients may have strict deadlines to hit; others may be looking for a more consistent approach. You want to provide an accurate estimate of when you’ll be able to complete the editing project—unrealistic timelines help nobody.

Even if the timeline is fairly fluid, it’s worth having a rough estimation in place. Outline each stage of your work, and agree on a timeline with your client. This is ideally something that should be discussed in a proposal, before you draft up your editing contract. 

As a freelance editor, you should have a good idea of how long a certain amount of words takes you to get through. Keep this in mind when you receive your brief, and plan accordingly. 

A freelance editing contract template is a good way to help ensure you clearly communicate the expected phases and timeline. The pre-established sections enable you to plug your info into a clear timeframe—making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to managing expectations.

Termination clauses 

As a freelance editor, there are certain clauses that you must incorporate into this contract template. 

You should aim to provide details on project termination and the process regarding this—include clauses outlining the process. 

Although nobody wants the relationship to turn sour, these clauses are necessary to help navigate dispute resolution in a professional manner. 

How to Write a Freelance Editing Contract


A freelance editing contract template is beneficial for including all the basic foundations for an editing contract. So, how do you write an editor contract effectively?

1. Start with a proposal

A freelance editing contract template should begin with a proposal. What does the client want from you? It’s useful to gather preliminary information prior to creating the contract. That way, you’re not having to go back and forth amending the document and frustrating the client.

Consider the scope of work and how big the project is going to be. This is useful to know so that you can deliver an accurate proposal and a clear picture of what your clients should expect from you and your services.

This should also mention anyone that’s involved in the project, including yourself, of course.

Bonsai top tip: Don’t waffle in your proposal. Get straight to the point so your client can get straight to business.

2. Outline services offered

This section is where you explain the work you’re offering as a freelance editor. This helps avoid scope creep. This happens when communication is lacking and you end up doing work that either the client didn’t want or something that you didn’t agree to upfront.

As a freelance editor, it’s good to mention everything that you will provide during the course of the project. For example, you might have been asked by the client to edit several documents and therefore you’ll mention the specific word count or pages required, including the amount of time it’ll take to edit each one. Psst. Specify font size and type if you’re going on pages!

Along with the editing services, your rates of pay and payment schedule should also fall under this section of the editor contract. 

Like any freelancer, a freelance editor relies on clients to pay on time. You want to make sure that your payment terms are clear from the beginning. That way, you can minimize the amount of time and effort you spend chasing clients for your fee.

Rates are a freelancer’s poisoned chalice. It can be difficult to know what you should be charging. How much do you ask for? Is it enough or will it dissuade a new client from working with you?

It’s best to do a bit of research online and perhaps ask fellow freelancers for advice. Ultimately as a freelance editor, you should personally consider what you feel is an acceptable amount.

Be sure to include specific details on your rates and how you would want the payment schedule to play out. The client may outline their payment timeline prior, but this is always something you can negotiate. 

3. Consider work examples for new clients

For new clients looking for an experienced and professional freelance editor, it’s always useful to show work examples alongside—or even within—the contract. 

This might be helpful for those involved in the project to gain a clear understanding of the type of work you’ve created in the past. It could even be used as an example for a specific part of the project—inspiration and added detail to exactly what the client wants. 

Work examples are a great way to showcase your talents and it can help explain your scope of work where words may not do it justice. It’s not always necessary, but it’s worthwhile to think about adding in to showcase your experience and expertise.

4. Add in your freelance editor clauses

It’s important to add in some key clauses when creating this editor contract. Alongside the termination clauses we mentioned above, there are some other clauses a freelance editor should be aware of. 

Indemnity is a clause that’s worthwhile adding in to make a party responsible for any legal obligations that arise from your work. For example, any losses, damages or expenses that are incurred, the indemnity clause acknowledges which part is responsible for this and who absorbs those costs as a result.

Intellectual property rights determine who owns the final product—you or the client. Exclusive ownership normally ends up with the client, but discuss your options before drawing up a contract.

Protective clauses are useful to have when it comes to enforcing late payments and any efforts when trying to collect outstanding debts.

There can often be non-compete clauses that are included in freelance contracts in general. This clause can restrict who you work with, which could be problematic when trying to secure work with similar clients in the future or at the same time.

5. Be clear on what’s next

Finally, you’ll want to incorporate a section for you and the client to sign. Nowadays, a lot of documents are signed with electronic signatures, especially because of the rise in remote jobs.

When you’re working with new clients, you always want to start off on the right foot. A freelance editor contract is a document that you want to get right when offering services to any clients in 2022.

Creating a Freelance Editing Contract is Simple with Bonsai


Creating a freelance editing contract from scratch is easyeasy to get wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing

Bonsai is a vital resource for many freelancers and SMBs across all different types of industries. Bonsai offers high-quality and professional editor contracts that give you the foundation on which to build your contract and your business.

There are a wealth of benefits to using Bonsai as your all-in-one business solution—not only does it provide free contract templates but there are a lot of additional templates and guidance for navigating the freelance world.

Not convinced? Here are three reasons you should be using Bonsai:

It’s saves time

Bonsai helps you save time and as a freelancer, there are never enough hours in the day as it is! With this platform, it provides the backbone of the contracts you create, allowing you to spend less time on admin and more time on your services instead.

The platform is easy to navigate

The platform is easy to navigate, meaning freelancers of all ages can use the tool regardless of their proficiency in online tools and the internet.

Sorting through endless proposals, contracts, invoices and more are a thing of the past with Bonsai. The platform’s simple interface and design allow users to quickly and easily sort documents, and streamline projects with hundreds of business templates and easy-to-manage invoicing software.

Templates are highly customizable

Bonsai provides the foundations for your contract and related documents—all you need to do is add in the necessary details for your agreement. 

Tailoring your contracts ensures you’re creating the perfect document for every business relationship—doing it with Bonsai ensures they’re quick and easy. Every client deserves the very best, and a strong contract is a great place to start. 

Bonsai can help you secure more clients and impress those you’ve already got in the works by streamlining your business processes.

Freelance Editing Contract FAQs


A freelance editing contract is great to help effectively communicate with the client and limit miscommunications. The contract makes space for you to include all your services and payment details. 

Here are a few freelance editing contract FAQs that may help you as a freelancer this year.

What’s the benefit of using an editor contract template?

The biggest benefit of using a contract template is that it provides a solid structure. It helps guide you seamlessly through the process of writing a contract. It avoids any client confusion, and ensures everyone knows exactly what’s involved in the project.

How much does a freelance editor earn?

A freelance editor, on average, earns around $26.54 per hour in the United States. This can vary though depending on the experience you have and the project and clients at hand.

Is it worthwhile getting your editor contract proofread?

Yes, yes, yes! Always get your contracts proofread or at least looked over by another set of eyes. You can often miss out crucial information or simple grammatical or spelling mistakes can be damaging to your reputation. Grammarly is a good tool to use for grammar and spelling. For proofreading, you can hire these services easily on freelance marketplaces or rely on a vetted template.

Examples of Freelance Editing Contract Templates

Of course, we believe Bonsai has the best freelance editing contract template out there, but sometimes it helps to see some examples of existing freelance editing contract for inspiration. Let's take a look at some:

Freelance manuscript editing agreement
Image credits: megadox.com
Freelance Editing Contract Template Sample
Image Credits: templateshunter.com
Freelance Editing Contract Template

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