Do you know that Contract is one of the easiest things to sign in Freelancing? But as much as that is true, it is that one document that some Freelancers don’t take their time to read through before appending their signature and this act is not only very wrong, it can be pretty risky. Nobody should sign a Freelance contract without taking their time to read through, digest and ponder on the stipulations of the contract and that’s why some people are victims of avoidable questions till their Employer would have to refer them to the contract.
I personally feel that one of those statements you could say to a Freelancer and would depict him/her as unprofessional or unserious is telling him/her didn’t you read the contract? I thought I sent it to you and you signed. Sometimes, it’s not enough that you have an understanding of something by explanation; a proper understanding most of the time comes from you reading something for yourself and having the full picture of what that thing is. If it were enough to affirm an understanding of something because you’ve been briefed most times than not, the person won’t bother to go through the extra effort of sending you a written document that encapsulated everything that has been said. It would be a very grave ignorance, negligence and lassitude on your part as a Freelancer to assume that the written document contains just the same as what you’ve been briefed by mouth.
Freelancers need to understand that sometimes, a Contract is not just an official document written just to make things official. It is what certifies and dissolves your Freelance appointment and not knowing what it says before consenting via your signature is very unhealthy and unprofessional.
. . . but why do some people sign a contract without reading through?
A lot of reasons had been identified as why people especially professionals like Freelancers don’t sometimes read through a Freelance contract before signing and some of these reasons include;
1. Excitement: Yes, you read right. Often times when people get overly excited about something, they tend to get carried away and in those moments of being carried away, they can forget to do the things they are supposed to do. Sometimes you can find people jumping protocols and throwing caution to the wind not intentionally but out of the excitement felt about the thing being rejoiced about, they could make omissions. These excitements have been narrowed down to instances like when a Freelancer get his/her first Freelance paying job – like after so many freebies and trying to put your brand out there, someone finally wants to pay for your services and in this instance, some Freelancers have been found to unintentionally throw caution to the wind; like they could care less about the contract but more about getting the job done and getting their first pay. Notwithstanding, some Freelancers have also been found to escape the backlash that comes with being carried away in excitement while some haven’t been found to be that lucky.
2. Renewing an old contract: Freelancers at times have been found to show a little slack and negligence when renewing an old contract and this negligence was discovered to be a result of Freelancers being comfortable with their Employers and the platforms. That is, based on the developed relationship, trust and a sense of freedom the Freelancers have built for themselves having worked on a particular platform for a while, paying attention to details or looking out for any form of inclusion or subtraction when renewing the contract for another year or years have been found not to be one of the favourites to do things of Freelancers and as much as there are good employers out there who wouldn’t take advantage of such comfort and relationship to exploit their Freelancers or pull a smart one and blame them for negligence, it’s not always the case all the time. Therefore, as Freelancers, reading through a renewed contract to determine if certain parts of the contract were reviewed or stayed the same is not an act of distrust; it’s called Professionalism.
Conclusively, Freelancers should always take their time to read through the stipulations of a contract before signing. Your signature isn’t just a signature, it is one way through which you express consent and agreement. You don’t just sign even if you read through and don’t understand, you can always ask questions for clarification before signing, once you sign; there’s hardly no going back unless you want to walk away totally. It’s easier amending a contract before signing than when you have.