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Freelancer Contracts: What to Include?

Selfgood team, Marketing at Selfgood

If you’re a freelancer, you know the importance of having a contract in place before starting work with a new client. But what should be included in your contract? This blog post will outline some key points to include in your freelancer contract. Read on to learn more!

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Freelancer: An Introduction

A freelancer is an independent contractor who provides services to clients on a project basis. Freelance work can encompass a wide range of disciplines, from writing and editing to website design and marketing. Freelancers are typically paid per project, and they often have the flexibility to choose their projects and set their schedules.

While freelancing can offer a great deal of freedom, it also comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, freelancers must be proactive in seeking out new clients and managing their finances.

In addition, they may need to invest in their equipment and office space. Nonetheless, for many people, the benefits of freelancing outweigh the drawbacks. By working as a freelancer, you can enjoy a high degree of control over your work life and schedule. You can also often choose projects that align with your interests and skill set.

In sum, freelancing can be a great way to build a career that is both flexible and fulfilling.

The Basics of a Freelance Contract

Freelancer contract A freelance contract is a legal agreement between a client and a freelancer, setting out the terms and conditions of the work to be undertaken. Freelance contracts are typically used by freelance graphic design, artists, electrician and other contractors that are paid per project. The contract should outline the scope of the project, the deadline for delivery, the payment terms, and any other relevant details. A well-written contract can help to avoid misunderstandings and provide protection for both parties in case of any disputes.

When you’re hired for a freelance gig, it’s important to have a contract in place that outlines the scope of work, compensation, and other important details. A contract protects both the freelancer and the hiring party by setting clear expectations for the work to be done.

Why Is a Contract Important?

As we mentioned, a contract protects both parties involved in a freelance arrangement. Without a contract, there is no clear understanding of what is expected of the freelancer or when they will be paid. This can lead to problems down the road if one party feels they are not being fairly compensated or if the work isn’t up to par.

A contract also provides a point of reference in case there is a disagreement about scope creep (when the scope of work expands beyond what was originally agreed upon). With a contract in place, both parties can refer back to what was initially agreed upon and make changes accordingly if necessary.

contracts are not legally binding in all cases, but they can help settle disputes between parties. They also show that both parties are serious about working together and are willing to put their agreement in writing.

What Should Be Included in Freelance Contracts?

Freelancers (Independent contractors) are in control of their businesses. This means that they are responsible for acquiring work, managing projects, and ensuring that you are paid for your services. One of the best ways to protect yourself and your business is by putting everything in writing. A well-crafted contract outlines the scope of work, deliverables, timelines, compensation, and other important details related to a project.

There are many moving parts to a freelance contract, but there are certain key elements that should be included in every agreement. By ensuring that these key components are included in your contracts, you can protect yourself and your business from potential legal disputes down the road.

1. Scope of Work:

The scope of work (SOW) is a section of the contract that outlines the work to be performed, the deliverables, the timeline, and compensation. This section should be as specific as possible to avoid any confusion or ambiguity later on. For example, if you are contracting to write 10 blog posts, be sure to specify the topic, word count, due date, and pay rate for each post.

2. Payment Terms:

Payment terms spell out when and how you will be paid for your services. It is important to be clear about payment terms upfront to avoid any misunderstandings later on. For example, will you be paid hourly, per project, or upon completion of milestones? When will payments be due? What methods of payment do you accept? Answering these questions in the contract can help avoid any disagreements about a payment schedule down the road.

3. Rights and Ownership:

When you create something—whether it’s a piece of writing, a design, or code—you own the copyright unless you transfer those rights in writing. As such, it’s important to include language in your contract specifying who will own the rights to the work once it is completed. In most cases, the client will want to establish clear ownership transfer of the work so that they can use it however they see fit. However, there may be cases where you want to retain ownership of certain elements (e.g., an original design) or negotiate for different terms.

4. Confidentiality:

If you will have access to sensitive information during your work (e.g., trade secrets), then your contract should include language specifying that this information is confidential and cannot be shared without prior approval from the client. This helps protect you from any legal action that may be taken if this information is leaked.

5. Indemnification:

This clause protects both parties from liability if someone is injured or property is damaged during the project. For example, if you were working on a website design and accidentally deleted critical files belonging to the client, this clause would protect you from liability related to those lost files.

6. Termination clause:

No one wants to think about a project coming to an end before it’s finished, but things happen—illness, creative differences, etc.—and it’s important to have a plan for how things will proceed if either party needs to terminate the agreement prematurely. Be sure to include language in your contract specifying under what circumstances either party can terminate the agreement and what steps need to be taken for termination to occur (e.g., giving written notice).

10 Reasons Why You Should Have a Contract as a Freelancer

cytonn-photography-GJao-ZTX-gU-unsplash When you are first starting as a freelancer, the idea of having your freelance contract template may seem daunting. You may be thinking, “Do I need a written agreement? Isn’t a verbal agreement good enough?” The answer is no—a verbal agreement is not good enough. Having a legal document is one of the most important things you can do for your freelance business. Here are 10 reasons why:

1. A contract protects you in case of Non-Payment.

If a client does not pay you for your work, you can take legal action against them if you have a freelance contract. Without a freelance contract, it will be your word against theirs and it will be much harder to prove that they owe you money.

2. A contract protects you in case of Disputes.

If there is ever a dispute between you and your client, the freelance contract will help to resolve the issue. For example, if the client wants changes to be made to the work that you have already completed, the freelance contract will state whether or not you are legally obligated to make those changes.

3. A contract establishes clear expectations.

Having a freelance contract helps to establish clear expectations between you and your client from the start. This way, there are no surprises and both parties know exactly what is expected of them.

4. A contract helps you to get paid on time.

If you have ever been chasing down a late payment, then you know how frustrating it can be. Having payment terms in your written contract ensures that you will get paid on time, every time.

5. A contract ensures that you are compensated for revisions.

Sometimes clients will request revisions after the project has been completed. If these revisions were not included in the scope of work originally agreed upon, then having a revision clause in your freelance contract will ensure that you are compensated for the extra work.

6. A contract helps to build trust with clients.

When prospective clients see that you are professional and have legally binding agreements, they will be more likely to trust you and hire you for their project.

7. A contract demonstrates that you mean business.

Having a well-drafted freelance contract shows that you mean business and that you are serious about your freelance projects. This can go a long way in helping to land new clients.

8. A contract can increase your rates.

Once clients see that you require a contract signed, they will likely be willing to pay higher rates because they know that they are getting professional services backed by legal protection.

9. A contract can help prevent scope creep.

Scope creep is when additional work is added to a project beyond what was originally agreed upon. This often happens because there was no clear definition of what was supposed to be delivered in the first place. Having everything spelled out in the contract can help prevent scope creep and avoid any misunderstandings down the road.

10. A contract sets forth legal obligations.

Last but not least, a good freelance contract set forth legal obligations between two parties. This means that if one party fails to uphold their end of the bargain, they can be held legally liable under the terms of the agreement.

8 Essential Elements of a freelance contract template

A freelance contract is an agreement between a contractor and a client that outlines the terms of the working relationship. The agreement should cover expectations, deliverables, compensation, and more.

A well-crafted freelance contract helps protect both the freelancer and the client by clearly defining the scope of work, timeline, and deliverables. It also protects both parties in case of disputes or misunderstandings by providing a clear path to resolution.

Not sure where to start? Below are eight essential elements of a freelance contract template.

1. Project Description.

This section should provide a high-level overview of the project scope and objectives. Be as specific as possible to avoid misunderstanding later on.

2. Deliverables.

This section outlines what the freelancer will deliver to the client at each stage of the project. It can (and should) be very specific to prevent scope creep later on.

3. Schedule.

This section provides an overview of when each deliverable will be due. This can be expressed as dates, milestones, or even just general phases (e.g. design phase, development phase, etc).

4. Compensation.

This section outlines how much the freelancer will be paid for their work on the project. It can be a flat fee, hourly rate, or some other arrangement. Be sure to include any details about the timing of payments as well (e.g. 50% upfront, 50% upon completion).

5. Expenses.

If there are any expenses associated with the project (travel, software, etc.), this is where they would be outlined. Include who is responsible for payment (client or freelancer) as well as any limits on expenses (e.g. no more than $500 in travel expenses).

6. Intellectual Property Rights

This section should make it clear who will own the intellectual property rights for anything created during the project (e./g copyrights, trademarks, patents). In most cases, these rights will reside with the client since they are paying for the work to be done. However, there are some exceptions so it’s important to get this detail hammered out upfront.

7. Confidentiality agreement.

If either party has sensitive information that needs to be protected (e.g trade secrets), this is where that would be outlined in the contract template. This might also be referred to as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

8. Termination provisions.

Finally, this section outlines what happens if either party wants to terminate the agreement early. This might include things like notice requirements or penalties for early termination. 

3 Types of Freelance Agreements

When you work as a freelancer, you are usually not working for just one client. You are usually working with multiple clients at the same time. This can be a great way to make a living, but it also means that you need to have a freelance agreement in place with each client.

A freelance agreement is a contract between you and the client that outlines the scope of work, the payments, and the rights and responsibilities of both parties. In this blog post, we will go over the three most common types of freelance agreements.

1. The Fixed-Price Agreement.

With a fixed-price agreement, the client pays you a set price for the entire project. This type of agreement is good for projects with a defined scope of work. The advantage of this type of agreement is that you know exactly how much money you will make on the project. The disadvantage is that if the scope of work changes, you may not be able to get additional compensation for the extra work.

2. The Time-Based Agreement.

With a time-based agreement, the client pays you an hourly rate for your work. This type of agreement is good for projects that are open-ended or that have a lot of unknowns. The advantage of this type of agreement is that you can bill for any extra work that comes up. The disadvantage is that the client may try to get you to do more work than was originally agreed upon.

3. The Retainer Agreement.

With a retainer agreement, the client pays you in advance for a certain number of hours or days of work. This type of agreement is good for ongoing projects where the scope of work may change over time. The advantage of this type of agreement is that it gives you a steady income stream. The disadvantage is that if the scope of work decreases, you may not be able to bill for all the hours that were originally agreed upon.

5 Disadvantages of Not Having a Freelance Contract

When you become a freelancer, there are a lot of things to think about- one of the most important beings whether or not you should get your freelance contract template. A freelance contract is an agreement between you and your client that outlines the terms of your working relationship. While some freelancers choose to work without a contract, there are several disadvantages to this approach.

1. You Have No Legally Binding Agreement.

If you don’t have a contract, there is no legally binding agreement between you and your client. This means that either party can back out of the project at any time for any reason with no repercussions. While you may trust your clients and vice versa, having a contract gives both parties a sense of security and ensures that everyone is on the same page from the start.

2. You Have No Recourse if Things Go Wrong.

If there is no contract in place and something goes wrong during the project- for example, the scope of work changes or the client is unhappy with your work- you have no legal recourse. This puts all of the power in the hands of the client and leaves you vulnerable to being taken advantage of. With a contract, however, you can rest assured knowing that both parties are protected in case something goes awry.

3. Your Rights are Not Well Defined.

When it comes to copyright law and intellectual property, things can get complicated without a contract. Without a contract in place, your client could decide to use your work without compensating you or permit someone else to do so without your knowledge. If you have a contract, however, your rights will be well defined and protected, giving you peace of mind throughout the project and beyond.

4. You Miss Out on Important Details.

A contract is more than just an agreement- it’s also an opportunity to ensure that all of the important details related to your project are hashed out from the start. If you don’t have a contract, important details like timelines, deadlines, payment terms, etc. can easily fall through the cracks, leading to frustration and confusion down the line. Putting all of these details in writing upfront will save you a lot of headaches later on.

5. You Appear Unprofessional.

In today’s business landscape, contracts are standard practice- especially when working with freelancers. If you don’t have a contract in place, it will reflect poorly on you and make you appear unprofessional in comparison to your competition which does use contracts.

Why Use a Freelance Contract Template?

mari-helin-ilSnKT-IMxE-unsplash- There are many reasons to use a freelance contract template when hiring a freelancer.

First, it saves you time. When you’re running a business, there’s always a lot on your plate, and creating a contract from scratch can take up valuable time that you don’t have. A template takes care of the heavy lifting for you so all you need to do is fill in the relevant details.

Second, using your own freelance contract template ensures that all the key elements are included. When you’re creating your contract, it’s easy to forget something important or to leave out crucial details. A good template will cover everything from payment terms to how intellectual property will be handled, so you can be confident that nothing has been overlooked.

Lastly, using a contract template shows that you’re professional and organized. This is important because it sets the tone for how the project will be managed going forward. If the freelancer sees that you’ve taken the time to put together a thorough contract, they’ll be more likely to do the same with their deliverables.

Finding the Right Freelance Template for Your Needs

Not all freelance contract templates are created equal. When you’re looking for one to use for your business, there are some key things to keep in mind.

First, make sure that the template is comprehensive and covers all the key points that are relevant to your project.

Second, look for a template that is easy to understand and doesn’t have any legal jargon—you want something that both you and the freelancer will be able to understand without needing a law degree!

Lastly, make sure that the template is easily editable so you can quickly make any necessary changes before sending it off to be signed by both parties.

Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Freelance Contract Template

Whether you’re a freelancer just starting or an established business owner, at some point you’ll need to have a contract in place with your clients. After all, a contract is the best way to protect both parties involved in the project. But drafting a contract can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. That’s why we’ve put together this list of three mistakes to avoid when creating your freelance contract template.

1. Not Defining the Project Scope Properly

One of the most important aspects of any contract is defining the scope of work. This ensures that both parties are clear on what work needs to be completed and by when. Unfortunately, many freelancers make the mistake of being too vague when it comes to defining the scope of work. As a result, they either end up doing more work than they originally agreed to or they disappoint their client by not meeting their expectations.

To avoid this mistake, be as specific as possible when outlining the scope of work in your contract template. Include key details such as deliverables, deadlines, and any other requirements for the project. By being clear from the outset, you can avoid any misunderstandings down the road.

2. Failing to Include Payment Terms

Another mistake that freelancers often make is forgetting to include payment terms in their contract templates. This is a huge oversight because without payment terms specified, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get paid for your work!

To avoid this mistake, be sure to include clear payment terms in your contract template. Specify how much you’ll be paid for your services when payment is due, and what form of payment you prefer (e.g., PayPal, bank transfer, etc.). By including this information upfront, you can avoid any awkward conversations or disagreements about money later on.

3. Not Knowing Your Rights

As a freelancer, you must know your rights and protections under the law. Unfortunately, many freelancers mistakenly believe that they don’t have any legal rights because they’re not considered “employees.” This simply isn’t true—freelancers have many of the same rights as employees do, including the right to minimum wage and workers’ compensation (if applicable).

To avoid this mistake, familiarize yourself with the laws that apply to freelancers in your country or region. This way, you can ensure that your contract template complies with all relevant laws and that your rights are protected.


1. What information should be included in a freelance contract template?

At a minimum, a freelance contract template should include information about the scope of work, compensation, rights and responsibilities of each party, and delivery timelines.

2. How do I create a freelance contract template?

There are several ways to create a freelance contract template. You can use a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, or you can find a template online.

3. Where can I find a freelance contract template?

There are several places you can find a freelance contract template, including online template libraries and business document repositories.

4. How do I fill out a freelance contract template?

Once you’ve downloaded or created a freelance contract template, you’ll need to fill in the blanks with specific information about your project. Be sure to include all relevant details, such as the scope of work, compensation, rights and responsibilities of each party, and delivery timelines.

5. Can I use a freelance contract template for any type of project?

Yes, you can use a freelance contract template for any type of project. However, it’s important to make sure that the template you choose is relevant to the specific project you’re working on.

Wrapping Up

As a freelancer, it’s important to have a freelance contract in place. This document helps protect both you and your client by outlining the terms of the project and what is expected from both parties. Not only does having a contract help minimize potential conflict, but it can also be used as a reference point if any disputes arise. In this blog post, we’ve outlined the basics of what should be included in a freelance contract as well as 10 reasons why you should always use one when working with clients. If you need help finding the right template for your needs or want more information on how to successfully execute contracts as a freelancer, be sure to read our other blog posts.