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Freelancing is thriving in the current environment. Interestingly, not simply limited to millennials, the domain of freelancing also attracts retirees who wish to earn some extra money. It is safe to assume that freelancing is set to define a whole new trade and workforce in the future.
The concern with this trend is that way too many freelancers make the mistake of rushing into projects before signing a freelance service agreement. This means that they are susceptible to foul play. At its core, a freelance service agreement contract defines the quantum of your work and the subsequent remuneration.
It clearly outlines the deliverables, project schedule, pricing structure or rates, and terms and schedule of payments. Considering the fact that there are several websites offering freelance jobs, it is a way to avoid unpleasant experiences, as a forged contract ensures that you are duly compensated for your efforts. Clearly, it is the best way to protect your interests as a freelancer.
You may find several freelance service agreement templates doing the rounds on the internet. However, here are a few essentials that you should stress upon as they will ensure that the agreement is binding and bulletproof.
The introductory statement of your freelance service agreement should contain the names of the parties. In addition to assigning designations like “Client” and “Contractor,” it should also give an overview of the agreement through simple and concise language.
Finally, the statement should also define the date of commencement of the agreement and the date of termination, if any.
As a freelancer, it is imperative that you clearly define the major roles, responsibilities, and expectations that you will bear for your client. Whether they are your deliverables, key performance indicators or rate of payment - everything needs to be laid out in the agreement.
Ideally, the T&Cs should be discussed and mutually agreed upon before they’re put on paper.
The most frustrating part of working as a freelancer is scope creep. Scope creep refers to the client’s request to perform extra tasks, add-ons, or excessive revisions for free. Hence, it is vital that the freelancer clearly define the scope of the project to avoid doing a ton of extra work at no cost.
The payment section of your freelance service agreement should also cover an additional estimate for work carried out beyond the scope of the project.
Matters related to copyrights and intellectual property right must also be discussed explicitly in the freelance service agreement. The copyright laws and legality changes from region to region. For example, in the US “Works Made For Hire” asserts that the creator (in this case, the freelancer) is the original owner of the work and not the individual or organization who has funded the project. However, this stands true only when the freelance service agreement is silent on copyright ownership.
As a freelancer, you can grant copyright and ownership to your client after being paid for the project. Further, you may even add a clause wherein you can seek consent from the client to showcase this project as sample works and make it a part of your portfolio.
No payments or delayed payments are the major pain points for freelancers. To avoid being taken for a ride, you should include payment terms and timelines in your freelance service agreement. Further, you may also include the acceptable payment methods in this section to safeguard your interests.
A termination clause allows for either party to exit and terminate the freelance service agreement. The inclusion of the termination clause gives you or your client the time to prepare for the loss of income or loss in content.
Naturally, the most important part of any agreement is the signature line. Bonsai offers easy, one-click digital signatures for your contracts and agreements. Signatures of the stakeholders and involved parties will seal the deal and offer legitimacy to your agreement.
With these elements in your freelance service agreement, you can be sure that your interests remain protected. If you are being offered a contract from your client, you can check for the above essentials and include it within the contract. Finally, remember to keep the agreement short and to the point. The perfect freelance service agreement will hit the right balance of morality, suitability, and protection.