A Guide on Creating A Contract to be signed with a Freelancer

Shivani Sinha | 24-Feb-2016

A freelancer is a person who is self-employed and is not hired on a long term by the employer. Some freelancers work independently while others are represented by the company or an agency that sells freelancers to clients. A freelancer has to design a contract enumerating all the details of his/her job, the deadline, penalties, pay as well as terms and conditions.

Designing an appropriate freelancer contract is a must when you work as a freelancer. It should include all the essential details and information. Unlike other departments, a freelancer’s interests are not protected by a legal department. So it becomes necessary for a freelancer to design a contract in such a way that protects his/her interests and expectations as well as that of the client’s. 


When you think of it from an employer’s perspective you are probably moving towards forming an employment contract with a freelancer and it should be such that it safeguards your interests as well as those of the freelancer’s. An employer’s contract should be framed carefully and it should include all terms and conditions. It must include each and every detail of the employment being provided. Given below are the Do’s and Don’ts that must be kept in mind while framing a contract with a freelancer. Let’s have a look!


Specify the time frame -
It is important to include the time frame. Don’t forget to mention it in the contract, as it is a crucial part of the contract. Include the time that the project will take, along with the duration of the project. You may enter an employment contract which is specific for a particular time frame or it may not have any defined end time. This is important because you may be hiring a freelancer for some specific job, the services of which may not be required after a particular period of time. Therefore it is very crucial to mention the specific time frame so as to not create any confusion whatsoever in future.

Clearly, specify your role -
Specify roles that you are going to play in the work. This ensures that the client does not force you to do any work afterward, that you don’t want to perform. For example, the client may tell you to provide technological support even when you were told to do designing work.

Include delivery details -
Your contract should include the delivery details. This frees you from the later thoughts about how you will be delivering them and gives the client the knowledge of how the delivery will be made.

Clarify the details of salary -
Make sure that the contract includes the details of the salary. There should be a clear understanding of the payments to be made to the freelancer. It must include all the wages to be paid including the base salary, the bonuses (if any), raises, commissions and everything else. If you are providing any other benefits to the employees then your contract needs to include those as well. If you are entering into a contract on a project basis then determine the payment accordingly with a set deadline for the payment to be released.

Include a penalty clause -
Sometimes, it may happen that the client may not be able to pay you fully or on time. In this case, there should be a penalty. Also, it may happen that you may get late to deliver the work or fail to do it, which will also result in a penalty. Include the penalty clause accordingly to ensure compliance of both the parties.

Convince your client for an initial sum -
You should try to convince your client to make some initial deposit for the work before the work starts. This ensures that both the parties are responsible and committed without being influenced or sidetracked by others. Include a clause of cancellation in the financial section of the contract, which will protect you if the client backs out for the contract.


Don’t say a “no” to a known client -
Sometimes you may not want to work with your known client, because you may have worked with them a lot of time, or may prioritize the work of new clients more than the familiar ones in order to acquire new clients. Avoid doing this because you don't know when the things go wrong and your relationships become messed.

Don’t allow your client to impose things on you -
The freelancer contract should include the terms from both parties. Both parties should provide their terms and conditions to draw up the contract in a fair manner. Ensure that the client does not become the boss of the contract. Remember to say no to any term you are not okay with. Until you haven't signed for the job you have the right to say no to anything you don't agree with.

Don’t design complex contracts complex contract -
Design your contract in a simple way which is easy to read and understand. Avoid including a long list of terms and agreements in the contract. The contract should include information which is easy for you and your client to read and understand.

Don’t deploy your time in too much revision -
Don’t promise your client revision more than 3 times. There are some clients who may come back again and again for iterations and revision. This will consume a lot of time of yours. Ensure that you give your best in revision requests so that the client does not come back again and again.

Don’t include unlawful non-competition clauses -
Employers often try to protect the disclosure of the confidential information by the employees in the non-competition clauses. Such clauses are unlawful and hence they must be avoided at all costs.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Fagnum.com. The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.
About the Author
Shivani Sinha
A Master degree holder is a Content Developer and an SEO specialist. Having more than 6 years of experience into content development and marketing, she has contributed substantially in this arena. She is good at brainstorming and fast in writing crispy content, bold slogans, catchy captions and punchy one liners. Her stories are well researched and provide for an interesting read. She enjoys working in association with entrepreneurs while spearheading business launches providing marketing advice.