Establishing clear expectations before beginning work with a client will help you avoid conflicts and get paid — and a contract is the best way to do that.
This tool will guide you through creating your own contract and allow you to edit it to fit each job.
Don't worry if you find a section that doesn't apply to your work. The final contract can be downloaded as a Word-compatible text document, which you can edit to your heart's content.
Contract Creator created in partnership with Furnari Sher LLP. Furnari Scher LLP helps freelancers, consultants and independent contractors start and build thriving businesses, while avoiding common legal pitfalls cost thousands to resolve. Visit www.FurnariScher.com to get a copy of their free mini course 7 Deadly Legal Mistakes that Cost Entrepreneurs Thousands.
Use your company name, if you have one. If you are doing business as an individual, use your full name.
Enter the name and title of the person you are sending the contract to (your primary contact).
Provide a one- or two-sentence description of the services you will provide or the project that you are being engaged for (for example, "copy editing with respect to the conversion of website.com to Web 2.0"). You will give more detail in the Scope of Work.
Enter objectives, milestones, and the date work commences here. It may be helpful to organize your Scope of Work into the following sections: Project Description, Tasks and Deliverables, Timeline and Milestones, Responsibilities, and Requirements.
Indicate whether you will be paid per hour, per page, a flat rate, or based on the completion of milestones. If applicable, specifically list each date and amount due on those dates. You may want to consider requiring a portion of payment up front. Some freelancers also require a "kill fee" to guarantee some payment if a project is canceled before completion.
You might specify that your client should reimburse you for travel expenses, project supplies, or purchases or work commissioned in service of the project. Late night cab? Buckets of sequins? New font family? It's good for both parties to think about these costs.
When clients pay late, you risk having trouble paying your own expenses. A penalty acts as a deterrent to late payment, so set terms that feel fair while still protecting you from additional fees you may incur if you're not paid on time. For example, you might decide to charge a penalty after 30 days.
A penalty acts as a deterrent to late payment and helps protect you from any additional fees you may incur from not being paid on time. For example, you might charge an additional 1.5% if you are not paid on time.
In order to fulfill the work you set out to do, what things do you anticipate needing from your client? This could be an initial payment, or for certain materials to be supplied. Anything you will obtain yourself but need reimbursement for should go in the "Payment" section, but anything the client should supply to you should go here.
It's important to establish clear expectations of how you and your client will communicate with each other should you need to end your relationship before the expected time. You may consider specifying that the agreement will continue until a certain date unless terminated earlier by either party upon 30 days advance written notice.
Your client's county is important if you ever require arbitration, which allows you to resolve your conflict out of court. This section allows you to designate where and under which state's laws disputes will be handled (for example, settled in your county under the laws of your state).