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If you are a freelance editor, you should have a draft freelance editing contract in place. It is an editing contract template that you can use as a starting point before entering into a final contract with your client.
Since every contract that you sign with your clients will be largely similar, it is useful to have a draft freelance editing contract on which you can base the final contract. A draft contract will contain all the standard clauses and contain language that allows you to fill in the specific details faster.
Once you have a draft contract, it becomes a simple matter of finalizing the details of your agreement and writing them down in your contract. Subsequently, you can get your client to sign your contract so that you gain a legal safety-net for your work.
There are several reasons why signing a contract before starting work for a client is essential.
One of the most common problems freelancer editors face is clients who do not pay as agreed upon. You will find clients who simply refuse to pay for the work done or start ghosting you once it is time for them to pay. Some clients will try to delay the payment by months.
In such situations, you stand to lose money as well as time and effort. Not only do you lose the time you spent on editing for the client, but you will also lose time in following up with them for payment.
Having a freelance editing contract in place allows you to be more assertive and makes your word carry more weight. You are much more likely to be paid and paid on time if you have a signed contract in place.
The more complicated the project, the more necessary it is for you to clarify the scope of work. Situations may arise in which you have spent hours and days on editing and submitted the work, only to find that the client wanted something else entirely. They may refuse to pay you for the work that is already done. They may also refuse to pay more for revisions.
Having a freelance editing contract that defines your scope of work leaves nothing to doubt, and you can proceed with the work without worrying that it might get rejected for an unforeseen reason.
Having a freelance editing contract is like preparing for a worst-case scenario. It is the contract’s job to lay down what happens if there is a breakdown in understanding between you and your client.
A contract lays down many of the finer points related to your work. It dictates when the work needs to be submitted, how much you will be paid, when the payment is due, and so on. Therefore, both you and your client can rely on the wording of the contract as it leaves no scope for any misunderstanding.
Before you sign a contract, you should ensure that it contains some important clauses. A contract is incomplete or ineffective without these standard clauses. As a freelance editor, your contract should specify the details of payment, the scope of work, timeline, termination, and late payment.
The clause on payment should be detailed and contain how much deposit is to be paid and under what conditions the deposit may need to be returned. You should not need to return the deposit just because a client says they do not like your work. Similarly, the scope of work should take into account how many revisions can be requested. It should specify whether you are expected to do developmental editing, line editing or proofreading.
Your freelance editing contract should have very specific clauses that take into account every circumstance.