In almost all careers, there are notable freelancers.
From medicine, to law, to writing, to web designing- just name it, freelancers abound- in other words, individuals who aren’t employed as permanent staff for any particular organization or industry but carry out tasks in some of those organizations.
Ever heard of ‘contract staff’? Well, if you are one, then welcome to freelancing. This post, is absolutely for you! The freelance contract is one of the most essential things which any freelancer, across any spectrum, must be familiar with.
It determines your pay your net worth, the terms and conditions under which you work, and so on. Therefore, when writing a freelance contract, you have to do so with the greatest amount of seriousness, because this might just be the defining point of your career!
The next logical question is this: how do you then write such a contract, which would pitch your work in the right direction and favor you in terms of pay? This is the business side of freelancing, and having the right contract in your hands would go a long way to determining your job satisfaction in freelancing.
The right freelance contract has to take into consideration, the following sub-topics:
1. Title of Contract and Parties Involved
This section answers the question of who, after you must have given an adequate title to your contract. Who are the parties involved in this freelance contract? Who is the client, and who’s the freelancer? The names of both parties should be clearly written, as well as the date on which this contract or agreement was made.
What are you supposed to do? This is the part of the document or contract that states in clear terms, the work to be carried out by the freelancer for the client. Here, if you are a freelance writer, the contract is likely to include such words as ‘Writer agrees to be the original author of the work, and that it would be free of plagiarism…without infringing upon copyright laws’. In other words, the terms and conditions under which the work is to be carried out is clearly stated here.
Because there is no organizational cover as such- meaning that the freelancer works on his or her own without an official body to regulate him or her most of the time, the client would like to make sure that he or she is in right hands. Therefore, this part of the contract talks about maintaining confidentiality- especially if vital information from the client would be in possession of the freelancer.
How much money is to be paid? It is best practice to always make sure that you have a contract that talks about how much you’d be paid by your clients, to bypass any form of dubiousness. It isn’t funny to bury your head in a given task, perform excellently and then get paid less than what was agreed on. But if this happens to you, then it most likely is due to the fact that you do not have a binding legal document such as a contract! This segment also talks about how much is to be paid in advance or at the start of the work, and that the client still bears the cost if he or she for any reason, there is no feedback within a stipulated period of submission of work/after a task has been carried out (usually within a week).
4. Payment and Collection
If the client hasn’t paid the stipulated fee within 30 days of the invoice sent- which shows how much is to be paid, an interest begins to accrue on the amount of money owed by the client! Every freelancer needs to incorporate this into their contract so as to protect themselves from scamming clients, and clients who would rather not pay (Yoruba people call these sort of individuals Onigbese…lol).
5. Written Approval
On completion of task, the client ought to send a written approval of acceptance of work from freelancer.
If any changes are made to the way the work should be carried out by the freelancer after there has been an agreement on what should be done, any additional cost incurred is borne by the client and not the freelancer. Therefore, there might have to be re-negotiation as regards the amount of money to be paid at the end of the job.
Yes, every freelancer needs to prepare for this, in the eventuality that it happens! What if your client decides to cancel the job contracted to you close to the completion of such a task or rejects it after it has been completed? What do you do then? Your freelance contract should include this clause that ‘client bears the responsibility of payment for work done, depending on the percentage of the work that has been carried out, and if the cancellation is on completion of the task, then the client gives full payment.’
Your beautifully crafted freelance contract, is not binding without the signature of both the client and the freelancer. You might have to scan the document and send to the client and vice versa to ensure that all of these details are clearly spelt out, as well as both of your signatures.
I believe you wouldn’t take up a task without a contract anymore, would you? I certainly hope not.