in Misc

How To Create A Good Freelance Contract

Freelancing is a good way to make a living. You are your own boss, you make your own schedule, you have the power to pick the clients and charge them as much or as less as you want. But as everything in life, freelancing has some drawbacks and one of that is creating the contract. You must be very careful because a weak contract can cost you not only a nightmare of a project, but your reputation too. When designing a contract, you should keep in mind 8 important steps:

Step 1. Terms and Conditions

The first thing you must add in the contract, are the Service Terms. Don`t start a project without stipulating the terms and conditions. Most word processors apps have pre-designed templates so you can choose one and tweak it.

Step 2. Write your complete contact info

You must write your name, title and your complete contact information. Don’t forget to include your telephone number, fax number, email and your mailing address.

Step 3. Assign a job number and write down the date of the contract

You need to give the contract a job number in order to be easier to find. This thing not only make you look more professional but also helps you when you have many projects for the same client. As a tip for new freelancers, don’t start with the number “1” when assigning a job number for the project and also avoid rounded numbers like 500 or 1000. Select a number that doesn’t make it look like it’s your first project.

Don’t forget to write the contract date. This should be the date you’re typing up the contract, not the date you are promising the project will be finished.

Step 4. Client’s name and contract information

Type in your client’s name and complete contract information. This will appear underneath the date of the job number and the date of the contract.

Step 5. Describe the job

In this step you must be as specific as possible when describing the project. Your client must understand what is expected out of the project. If you are writing a commercial, be sure to include the length of it (like :20 for 20-second). For a brochure, write what kind of type it is. You have to be as detailed with the project as you can.

Step 6. The project outline

Here is where you will describe everything from what is included in the price to how many sub-project you’ll be creating. Also don’t forget to tell the client whether you charge a flat rate or a per hour fee.

Step 7. Project description, payment terms and policy information

This is the most important area from the entire contract. Here you must identify what you will be providing and how much it will cost. Also, here you will write the estimation on how long the project will take to complete and what your hourly rate is (if you don’t have a flat rate).

Don`t forget the policies because this is a standard practice. For example, you should have a policy that doesn’t allow the client to make you rewrite the work after six months of hard work, just because he changed his mind.

Step 8. Signing preparation

I think most of the freelancers do business via telephone or email so in-person meetings can be very rare. In most cases, the contract will be faxed to the client and he will fax you back the signed copy.

Add two lines for signatures, one for you and one for the client as well as instructions stating where they should sign the contract. After you are done, fax the contract (that is signed by you) to the client. He will also sign the contract and after that, he will fax it to you.

If you need some help, check some sample contracts:

1. Sample Non-Disclosure Agreement

2. Sample Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement

3. Sample Service Provider Agreement

4. Sample Freelance Engagement Letter

That’s it, now you now have a contract and a deadline!



Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.