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3 Things Freelancers Should Never Leave Out of Contracts

BY Rachel | 15 February, 2016 | no comments

Too many freelancers work without ever putting a contract in place; others fail to put their contracts together in a way which will fully protect their interests. Your own needs will vary, but there are three things that you should never leave out of any contract.

  1. Full Payment Information

It shouldn’t come as news to learn that each contract should spell out payment terms, but that means more than providing a fixed price for each project. Make sure you protect yourself by setting out a payment schedule.

Many freelancers require a certain percentage upfront followed by one or two further payments, especially when it comes to larger projects. You’ll also want to include the manner of payment, be it via direct deposit, PayPal, cheque, or other payment method.

  1. Cancelation Fee

Sometimes, particularly when dealing with larger clients, a project will be cancelled for reasons beyond your control. If you don’t have a professional contract in place, that means that you’re unlikely to receive any payment, even if you already started producing work.

A cancellation fee, often known as a ‘kill fee’, can prevent that from happening by making sure that you receive payment for as much work as you produce. Some freelancers create a detailed stage by stage fee, while others will charge a flat percentage of the expected final payment.

  1. Deadline(s)

No freelancer should ever work without a deadline. This should be one of the first things that you discuss with a client, and it’s vital to get everything down in writing when you put together the contract. It provides security for both you and your client – in fact, you might find that a potential client will not move forward on a contract without this area being covered.

You should also provide a payment deadline, possibly with an agreed charge added on if the client fails to make full payment within the chosen period. Most freelancers expect payment somewhere between two weeks and a month from the delivery of work.

As a freelancer, contracts represent more than a means to protect your interests; they’re also part of what makes you a professional. Make sure you get yours right.