Free Technical Writer Contract Template

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Table of contents

What is a Technical Writer Contract?

A technical writer contract is a legally binding document created for clients hiring a contract writer for technical documentation. Amongst other key sections, it includes:

  • Project scope
  • Details of technical writing services
  • Payment rate
  • Service delivery schedule
  • Amendment clauses

It’s a legal document that protects rights of both a technical writer and a client, in case of disputes between two parties.

Why do you need a Technical Writer Contract?

Any contract stems from the need to protect the rights of both parties. It also acts as a guideline for resolving problems that they anticipate. Here’s why technical contract writers and businesses prefer to create and sign a contract before starting a project:

Record of commitments

A technical writer contract holds a writer accountable for services and responsibilities, and a client for payments. It shields and limits both of their rights and liabilities with terms agreed upon at the beginning of a project.

Terms for conflict resolution

A contract outlines terms and conditions for resolving conflicts that both parties anticipate to arise. That’s why it’s crucial for resolving disputes and mitigating risks—or even dissolving the client-contractor relationship without punitive measures.

Foundation of professional relationship

Besides being legally-binding, a contract helps technical writers build a professional relationship with clients. These contracts show the contractor’s diligence towards the work, and lay solid foundations for the work to come.

What to Include in the Technical Writer Contract

A good old-fashioned handshake isn’t good enough anymore—you need to get it in writing. While there’s no set rule about what to include, here are a few pointers on where to start.

Scope of work

This is the first section of your technical writer contract. It outlines agreed deliverables and work breakdown structure. Here are the key items to include in this section:

  • Project objectives: to outline the mutually agreed upon objectives to achieve by the end of a project
  • Project milestones: to list important items that denote completion of a phase of the project
  • Individual tasks: to break down milestones in smaller chunks of manageable tasks with a deadline
  • Deliverables: for mentioning items that you will be delivering upon the completion of a project
  • Timeline: to set clear expectations about the date by when you’ll be completing these individual tasks and project milestones
  • Reports: for tracking progress and informing the client about it

Payment details

This section shows the agreed upon payment details along with frequency and mode of payment. Here’s what you should include in this section:

  • Billing type: to mention whether you are charging a flat or hourly rate
  • Payment mode: that the client will use to send payments
  • Payment frequency: to state whether you will be receiving payment weekly or monthly
  • Payment dispute: to outline ways to resolve payment disputes

Ownership and licenses

This section of a technical writer contract goes into the details of ownership rights, work credit, and intellectual property rights. It’s best to customize this section based on your discussion with a potential client.

Try to address the following points in this section:

  • Ownership: to clearly mention who owns the finished work product and whether the client can only obtain it after full payment
  • Use of work product: to specify if you intend to use the finished work product for your writing portfolio or similar purposes
  • Help for securing ownership: to mention your availability for helping clients prove that they own the finished product. You can also appoint respective clients to act on your behalf on these occasions
  • Usage of writer’s intellectual property: to outline whether you are willing to allow clients to use your intellectual property for technical documentation or other purposes. If made available, such non-transferable IPs can be used during the project and beyond

Competitive engagement

A competitive engagement clause is another name for a non-compete clause. This section prevents a technical writer from working with companies offering services similar to the client.

Check beforehand to be sure whether a client needs a non-compete or not. It’s wise to mention that you may work with the client’s competitor with prior permission in writing.


Non-solicitation in a technical writer contract prohibits the writer from offering jobs to former employees of the company, or soliciting business from existing clients and customers.


The representations section sums up the promises between a writer and client. Such promises include signing authority declaration, compliance to the law, and infringement regulations. These promises are:

  • Perform obligations: mentioned in the contract. This applies to both the contractor and the client
  • Work right: to ensure that the work product is an original work by the writer and can’t be claimed by other parties
  • Compliance: so that the writer is obliged to perform duties by the law of the land
  • Infringement: so that neither the client nor the writer infringe anyone else’s intellectual property rights
  • Work review: to be done by the client periodically

Term and termination

This section offers an overview of termination clauses. Don’t forget to include the process each party should follow while ending a contract. Discuss with your client to agree on how many days advance notice is required for contract termination.

Independent contractor

Every client-contractor relationship is unique. This section states the foundational laws of this relationship, and how both you and the client expect to work together throughout the project.

For example: Technical writers must have relevant experience or skill, be subject matter experts, and use their tools for completing tasks. In addition, clients shouldn’t control how writers work on projects on a day-to-day basis.

This outlines requirements from the contractor and requirements from the client, that both parties agree must be met for the duration of the project.

Confidential information

This section dictates how both a technical writer and a client should reasonably protect confidential information. It means you shouldn’t be using any information shared by the client for personal benefit. Such information may include details on:

  • Business strategy
  • Customer lists
  • Research notes
  • Website specifications

Similarly, a client shouldn’t be using any third-party information for personal gain.

Limitation of liability and indemnity

Next is the limited liability clause that outlines consequences of breach-of-contract damages.

It’s also important to include an indemnity clause. It protects both you and the client from liabilities, losses, expenses, and damages caused by one another. If one party is sued for something done by the other party, the latter will be responsible for reimbursing such losses.


This is typically the last section of a contract. These general guidelines can include details related to:

  • Assignment: so that a contract technical writer and a client have a clear understanding of what they can assign or delegate
  • Arbitration: for easy resolution of disputes arising under a contract
  • Modification and waiver: that requires both parties to provide consent in writing for making changes in a contract or waiving duties
  • Notices: so that both parties are aware of how to send notices, where, and when
  • Severability: to mention what happens in case a portion of a technical writer contract becomes enforceable
  • Signatures: to make it clear that signatures from both parties are required for a contract to be valid—you can also specify the validity of electronic signatures
  • Governing law: of the legislation that governs rights and obligations of both parties
  • Entire contract: supersedes any oral contract between a contract writer and a client

How to write a Technical Writer Contract

A contract is the first stepping stone of building a mutually respectful working relationship. The sooner you understand what a client wants, the sooner you can gather information and create a contract.

It’s also important to consider what you want from the project, and how you’re happy to work. Although you want to ensure your clients’ needs are met, you also want to make sure you’re also comfortable with the contract.

Start by understanding the job description, project details, and the scope of work. Here are some questions you might want to ask beforehand:

  • Does the job require you to create technical documents like instruction manuals, use guides, or user manuals?
  • Do you have to work on modifying existing documentation?
  • What’s the writing style to follow?
  • How often will you receive feedback?
  • Will you receive support from other team members?

Speak with your client to find out more about your project and any special requirements they may have.

Every detail should be included in the contract so as to avoid any confusion or miscommunication. It’s also key for ensuring you end up doing the work you’re being paid for—not extra.

Communication is key in any working relationship, and ensuring all parties are on the same page is essential. Openly communicating your expectations for the project and understanding the clients’ requirements lays a strong foundation for the project ahead.

Creating a technical writer contract is simple with Bonsai

Creating your own contract isn’t the only option, however.

Creating a freelance contract with Bonsai is quick and easy, and provides added security and complete peace of mind. Not only can you customize contract templates for free but you can also manage the entire contract lifecycle. Other benefits include:

  • Vetted templates: for easy customization along with standard NDAs
  • Electronic signature: for sending, signing, and storing legally binding documents
  • Auto-reminders: for reminding clients to sign a contract
  • Multi-currency support: so that you can work with clients across 180+ countries

Here’s how to start editing your contracts and more with Bonsai:

  1. Sign up for Bonsai free
  2. Find your ideal contract template
  3. Edit your contract to meet your needs

Then, send it off for the client to take a look and sign without ever leaving the platform.

Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about this template.

How much does a technical writer charge?

A technical writers rate is around $15 to $25 per hour. This vary depending on location, experience and portfolio.

Do technical writers write contracts?

Technical writers may also author their own contracts. WIth the help of Bonsai's free templates, all legal aspects are covered. Customize and send off the agreement to kickstart your portfolio.

Technical writers are in demand with a projected growth of 12% in the coming years. Online job sites are the usual avenues for you to find a job.

Technical writers are in demand with a projected growth of 12% in the coming years. Online job sites are the usual avenues for you to find a job.

Do I need a technical writer contract?

A technical writer contract protects a writer’s rights and helps in getting paid. Without a contract, it’s difficult to take any legal action when a client doesn’t pay at the end of a project. Plus, it ensures both parties have clear expectations regarding project details, project milestones, payment terms, and project delivery.

‍How much do technical writers earn?

Technical writers can earn up to $33.73 per hour. The average base salary for writers specializing in documenting technical communication is $57,964 per year. The earning opportunity is limitless when you apply for the right job opening on job boards. You can also increase your earning potential by joining a local chapter or communities of technical writers.

How much research is required for technical writing?

Businesses looking to find contract technical writers usually prefer writers with strong research skills. This is important because you will have to conduct user research, testing, and develop user-friendly documents.

Template preview

Free Technical Writer Contract Template

Technical Writer Contract

First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.

This Contract is between Client (the "Client") and Acme LLC, a California limited liability company (the "Writer").

The Contract is dated [the date both parties sign].


1.1 Project. The Client is hiring the Writer to do the following: [SERVICE DESCRIPTION]

1.2 Schedule. The Writer will begin work on [DATE] and will continue until the work is completed. This Contract can be ended by either Client or Writer at any time, pursuant to the terms of Section 6, Term and Termination.

1.3 Payment. The Client will pay the Writer a rate of [PROJECT RATE] per hour. Of this, the Client will pay the Writer [DEPOSIT AMOUNT] before work begins.

1.4 Expenses. The Client will reimburse the Writer's expenses. Expenses do not need to be pre-approved by the Client.

1.5 Invoices. The Writer will invoice the Client at [INVOICE FREQUENCY]. The Client agrees to pay the amount owed within [X] days of receiving the invoice. Payment after that date will incur a late fee of [LATE FEE PERCENTAGE]% per month on the outstanding amount.

1.6 Support. The Writer will not provide support for any deliverable once the Client accepts it, unless otherwise agreed in writing.


2.1 Client Owns All Work Product. As part of this job, the Writer is creating “work product” for the Client. To avoid confusion, work product is the finished product, as well as drafts, notes, materials, mockups, hardware, designs, inventions, patents, code, and anything else that the Writer works on—that is, conceives, creates, designs, develops, invents, works on, or reduces to practice—as part of this project, whether before the date of this Contract or after. The Writer hereby gives the Client this work product once the Client pays for it in full. This means the Writer is giving the Client all of its rights, titles, and interests in and to the work product (including intellectual property rights), and the Client will be the sole owner of it. The Client can use the work product however it wants or it can decide not to use the work product at all. The Client, for example, can modify, destroy, or sell it, as it sees fit.

2.2 Writer's Use Of Work Product. Once the Writer gives the work product to the Client, the Writer does not have any rights to it, except those that the Client explicitly gives the Writer here. The Client gives permission to use the work product as part of portfolios and websites, in galleries, and in other media, so long as it is to showcase the work and not for any other purpose. The Client does not give permission to sell or otherwise use the work product to make money or for any other commercial use. The Client is not allowed to take back this license, even after the Contract ends.

2.3 Writer's Help Securing Ownership. In the future, the Client may need the Writer's help to show that the Client owns the work product or to complete the transfer. The Writer agrees to help with that. For example, the Writer may have to sign a patent application. The Client will pay any required expenses for this. If the Client can’t find the Writer, the Writer agrees that the Client can act on the Writer's behalf to accomplish the same thing. The following language gives the Client that right: if the Client can’t find the Writer after spending reasonable effort trying to do so, the Writer hereby irrevocably designates and appoints the Client as the Writer's agent and attorney-in-fact, which appointment is coupled with an interest, to act for the Writer and on the Writer's behalf to execute, verify, and file the required documents and to take any other legal action to accomplish the purposes of paragraph 2.1 (Client Owns All Work Product).

2.4 Writer's IP That Is Not Work Product. During the course of this project, the Writer might use intellectual property that the Writer owns or has licensed from a third party, but that does not qualify as “work product.” This is called “background IP.” Possible examples of background IP are pre-existing code, type fonts, properly-licensed stock photos, and web application tools. The Writer is not giving the Client this background IP. But, as part of the Contract, the Writer is giving the Client a right to use and license (with the right to sublicense) the background IP to develop, market, sell, and support the Client’s products and services. The Client may use this background IP worldwide and free of charge, but it cannot transfer its rights to the background IP (except as allowed in Section 11.1 (Assignment)). The Client cannot sell or license the background IP separately from its products or services. The Writer cannot take back this grant, and this grant does not end when the Contract is over.

2.5 Writer's Right To Use Client IP. The Writer may need to use the Client’s intellectual property to do its job. For example, if the Client is hiring the Writer to build a website, the Writer may have to use the Client’s logo. The Client agrees to let the Writer use the Client’s intellectual property and other intellectual property that the Client controls to the extent reasonably necessary to do the Writer's job. Beyond that, the Client is not giving the Writer any intellectual property rights, unless specifically stated otherwise in this Contract.


The Writer won’t work for a competitor of the Client until this Contract ends. To avoid confusion, a competitor is any third party that develops, manufactures, promotes, sells, licenses, distributes, or provides products or services that are substantially similar to the Client’s products or services. A competitor is also a third party that plans to do any of those things. The one exception to this restriction is if the Writer asks for permission beforehand and the Client agrees to it in writing. If the Writer uses employees or subcontractors, the Writer must make sure they follow the obligations in this paragraph, as well.


Until this Contract ends, the Writer won’t: (a) encourage Client employees or service providers to stop working for the Client; (b) encourage Client customers or clients to stop doing business with the Client; or (c) hire anyone who worked for the Client over the 12-month period before the Contract ended. The one exception is if the Writer puts out a general ad and someone who happened to work for the Client responds. In that case, the Writer may hire that candidate. The Writer promises that it won’t do anything in this paragraph on behalf of itself or a third party.


5.1 Overview. This section contains important promises between the parties.

5.2 Authority To Sign. Each party promises to the other party that it has the authority to enter into this Contract and to perform all of its obligations under this Contract.

5.3 Writer Has Right To Give Client Work Product. The Writer promises that it owns the work product, that the Writer is able to give the work product to the Client, and that no other party will claim that it owns the work product. If the Writer uses employees or subcontractors, the Writer also promises that these employees and subcontractors have signed contracts with the Writer giving the Writer any rights that the employees or subcontractors have related to the Writer's background IP and work product.

5.4 Writer Will Comply With Laws. The Writer promises that the manner it does this job, its work product, and any background IP it uses comply with applicable U.S. and foreign laws and regulations.

5.5 Work Product Does Not Infringe. The Writer promises that its work product does not and will not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights, that the Writer has the right to let the Client use the background IP, and that this Contract does not and will not violate any contract that the Writer has entered into or will enter into with someone else.

5.6 Client Will Review Work. The Client promises to review the work product, to be reasonably available to the Writer if the Writer has questions regarding this project, and to provide timely feedback and decisions.

5.7 Client-Supplied Material Does Not Infringe. If the Client provides the Writer with material to incorporate into the work product, the Client promises that this material does not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights.


This Contract is ongoing until the work is completed. Either party may end this Contract for any reason by sending an email or letter to the other party, informing the recipient that the sender is ending the Contract and that the Contract will end in 7 days. The Contract officially ends once that time has passed. The party that is ending the Contract must provide notice by taking the steps explained in Section 11.4. The Writer must immediately stop working as soon as it receives this notice, unless the notice says otherwise. The Client will pay the Writer for the work done up until when the Contract ends and will reimburse the Writer for any agreed-upon, non-cancellable expenses. The following sections don’t end even after the Contract ends: 2 (Ownership and Licenses); 3 (Competitive Engagements); 4 (Non-Solicitation); 5 (Representations); 8 (Confidential Information); 9 (Limitation of Liability); 10 (Indemnity); and 11 (General).


The Client is hiring the Writer as an independent contractor. The following statements accurately reflect their relationship:

  • The Writer will use its own equipment, tools, and material to do the work.
  • The Client will not control how the job is performed on a day-to-day basis. Rather, the Writer is responsible for determining when, where, and how it will carry out the work.
  • The Client will not provide the Writer with any training.
  • The Client and the Writer do not have a partnership or employer-employee relationship.
  • The Writer cannot enter into contracts, make promises, or act on behalf of the Client.
  • The Writer is not entitled to the Client’s benefits (e.g., group insurance, retirement benefits, retirement plans, vacation days).
  • The Writer is responsible for its own taxes.
  • The Client will not withhold social security and Medicare taxes or make payments for disability insurance, unemployment insurance, or workers compensation for the Writer or any of the Writer's employees or subcontractors.


8.1 Overview. This Contract imposes special restrictions on how the Client and the Writer must handle confidential information. These obligations are explained in this section.

8.2 The Client’s Confidential Information. While working for the Client, the Writer may come across, or be given, Client information that is confidential. This is information like customer lists, business strategies, research & development notes, statistics about a website, and other information that is private. The Writer promises to treat this information as if it is the Writer's own confidential information. The Writer may use this information to do its job under this Contract, but not for anything else. For example, if the Client lets the Writer use a customer list to send out a newsletter, the Writer cannot use those email addresses for any other purpose. The one exception to this is if the Client gives the Writer written permission to use the information for another purpose, the Writer may use the information for that purpose, as well. When this Contract ends, the Writer must give back or destroy all confidential information, and confirm that it has done so. The Writer promises that it will not share confidential information with a third party, unless the Client gives the Writer written permission first. The Writer must continue to follow these obligations, even after the Contract ends. The Writer's responsibilities only stop if the Writer can show any of the following: (i) that the information was already public when the Writer came across it; (ii) the information became public after the Writer came across it, but not because of anything the Writer did or didn’t do; (iii) the Writer already knew the information when the Writer came across it and the Writer didn’t have any obligation to keep it secret; (iv) a third party provided the Writer with the information without requiring that the Writer keep it a secret; or (v) the Writer created the information on its own, without using anything belonging to the Client.

8.3 Third-Party Confidential Information. It’s possible the Client and the Writer each have access to confidential information that belongs to third parties. The Client and the Writer each promise that it will not share with the other party confidential information that belongs to third parties, unless it is allowed to do so. If the Client or the Writer is allowed to share confidential information with the other party and does so, the sharing party promises to tell the other party in writing of any special restrictions regarding that information.


Neither party is liable for breach-of-contract damages that the breaching party could not reasonably have foreseen when it entered this Contract.


10.1 Overview. This section transfers certain risks between the parties if a third party sues or goes after the Client or the Writer or both. For example, if the Client gets sued for something that the Writer did, then the Writer may promise to come to the Client’s defense or to reimburse the Client for any losses.

10.2 Client Indemnity. In this Contract, the Writer agrees to indemnify the Client (and its affiliates and their directors, officers, employees, and agents) from and against all liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) related to a third-party claim or proceeding arising out of: (i) the work the Writer has done under this Contract; (ii) a breach by the Writer of its obligations under this Contract; or (iii) a breach by the Writer of the promises it is making in Section 5 (Representations).

10.3 Writer Indemnity. In this Contract, the Client agrees to indemnify the Writer (and its affiliates and their directors, officers, employees, and agents) from and against liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) related to a third-party claim or proceeding arising out of a breach by the Client of its obligations under this Contract.


11.1 Assignment. This Contract applies only to the Client and the Writer. The Writer cannot assign its rights or delegate its obligations under this Contract to a third-party (other than by will or intestate), without first receiving the Client’s written permission. In contrast, the Client may assign its rights and delegate its obligations under this Contract without the Writer's permission. This is necessary in case, for example, another Client buys out the Client or if the Client decides to sell the work product that results from this Contract.

11.2 Arbitration. As the exclusive means of initiating adversarial proceedings to resolve any dispute arising under this Contract, a party may demand that the dispute be resolved by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its commercial arbitration rules.

11.3 Modification; Waiver. To change anything in this Contract, the Client and the Writer must agree to that change in writing and sign a document showing their contract. Neither party can waive its rights under this Contract or release the other party from its obligations under this Contract, unless the waiving party acknowledges it is doing so in writing and signs a document that says so.

11.4 Notices.

(a) Over the course of this Contract, one party may need to send a notice to the other party. For the notice to be valid, it must be in writing and delivered in one of the following ways: personal delivery, email, or certified or registered mail (postage prepaid, return receipt requested). The notice must be delivered to the party’s address listed at the end of this Contract or to another address that the party has provided in writing as an appropriate address to receive notice.

(b) The timing of when a notice is received can be very important. To avoid confusion, a valid notice is considered received as follows: (i) if delivered personally, it is considered received immediately; (ii) if delivered by email, it is considered received upon acknowledgement of receipt; (iii) if delivered by registered or certified mail (postage prepaid, return receipt requested), it is considered received upon receipt as indicated by the date on the signed receipt. If a party refuses to accept notice or if notice cannot be delivered because of a change in address for which no notice was given, then it is considered received when the notice is rejected or unable to be delivered. If the notice is received after 5:00pm on a business day at the location specified in the address for that party, or on a day that is not a business day, then the notice is considered received at 9:00am on the next business day.

11.5 Severability. This section deals with what happens if a portion of the Contract is found to be unenforceable. If that’s the case, the unenforceable portion will be changed to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable, unless that change is not permitted by law, in which case the portion will be disregarded. If any portion of the Contract is changed or disregarded because it is unenforceable, the rest of the Contract is still enforceable.

11.6 Signatures. The Client and the Writer must sign this document using Bonsai’s e-signing system. These electronic signatures count as originals for all purposes.

11.7 Governing Law. The laws of the state of California govern the rights and obligations of the Client and the Writer under this Contract, without regard to conflict of law principles of that state.

11.8 Entire Contract. This Contract represents the parties’ final and complete understanding of this job and the subject matter discussed in this Contract. This Contract supersedes all other contracts (both written and oral) between the parties.


First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.