Did you land that freelance gig that you have been looking for? You can’t wait to get started on the work. However, you know starting without a contract in place will be a mistake. The problem is many freelancers do not know what makes up a standard contract. However, you can use a standard contract template to create an agreement that establishes the relationship between you and your client.
How do you determine if a contract template meets the standard if you don’t know what a standard contract template should contain? We have explained the features you should look out for in a contract when you are creating one for the first time.
Even if you have written a contract before, you can update it to standard by taking note of these necessary features of a contract.
There are several reasons why a standard contract is essential for freelancing transactions. First, it helps you protect your own and your client's interest. It also ensures that you get paid as and when due if it is crafted correctly. A standard contract solidifies the agreement between you and your clients. So, what is a standard contract, especially for a freelancer?
This section of a standard contract is concise and straightforward. It establishes the identity of the client and freelancer or consultant. You give a short overview of the task you will do for the client and the agreed start date. The first statement states who, what, and when.
The terms and conditions section should clearly state the expectations of both parties from the transaction. Start by establishing your terms, when and how you will be paid, your rates, etc. You should include what the client can expect from you – your deliverables. You should ensure all terms and conditions are stated in detail in this section.
One of the challenges freelancers face is clients that keep increasing the scope of a project without paying more. A standard contract template will contain the terms that help you check scope creep. You state the full extent of the task. You can indicate a specific fee for any add-ons that the client might want to give you.
Explain in simple terms how you deal with any changes, revisions, and additions that the client might require. This section should protect you from picky clients who ask for unreasonable changes. You can request for extra payment if the client makes changes after you have commenced work or allow for only a specific number of edits.
Under the Works Made for Hire section of the US copyright laws, in cases where a copyright agreement is not made between a client and freelancer, the created work belongs to the freelancer, even if the client had paid for it. Therefore, it is essential to transfer the rights to the work to your clients after they have paid for it. If you use your work in your freelance portfolio, it should be clearly stated.
If you worked for it, you should get paid for it at the right time. Every standard contract template has a section for payment. It lets your client know when and how you expect payment for the job done. The part ensures that you get your upfront payment at the scheduled time through the appropriate channel.
A termination clause allows both you and your client to leave the contract harmoniously. You should also not forget that a standard contract is not complete without the signatures. You don’t want such a 'tiny' detail to make your contract invalid.
These features will be contained in any standard contract template. All you will have to do is make specific changes to suit you and your client's unique relationship.