One of the number one questions I get from freelancers, whether that be freelance writers, photographers, graphic designers, or content creators, is: how do I know when I need to have a contract in place? Today I’m sharing 5 reasons why you need a freelance contract in place for every single client you book.
5 Reasons You Need a Freelance Contract for Every Client
To Protect Yourself and Your Business with a Written Record
As a freelancer, you always want a written record of what services you’re agreeing to provide and what the client is providing in return. When first engaging a client, there’s always a bit of back and forth, usually through email. The project evolves and changes once you begin to dig deeper into what the client really needs. Therefore, you need to have a written record in the form of a freelance contract of exactly what services each party is responsible for providing.
Along with outlining the exchange of services and compensation, having a written record of other terms surrounding the relationship is ideal. For example, the contract should include when it’s appropriate for you or the client to cancel the contract, when you will provide a refund, and the target completion date for the project.
To Ensure Clients are Paying You On Time
You need to always have a contract in place that outlines exactly what you’re getting paid and when payment is due. These terms should be very specific. It’s also worth including a late fee for any delinquent payments. This will ensure that your client is aware of the amount(s) owed and when it is owed.
To Boost Your Credibility
Sometimes freelancers aren’t taken seriously or are dismissed as just doing freelance work as a side hobby. When you approach a potential client with a formal contract to document your agreement, having the contract on hand immediately boosts your credibility with the client. Most clients appreciate when freelancers take the time to draft a contract laying out the exact terms of the agreement. Having a contract on hand to provide to each client automatically adds a stamp of professionalism to your name.
To Avoid Any Confusion as to What Happens Next in the Relationship
You should always have a contract in place that documents how the relationship with the client will progress. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, you’ll want to include language in your contract stating exactly how many rounds of proofs are included. You’ll also want to include any applicable timelines for the delivery of services and/or product to the client.
To Ensure that All Parties are on the Same Page
Having a freelance contract in place with every client ensures that each party is on the same page. Contracts provide clarity and ensure that all parties to the agreement are aware of their responsibilities under the agreement. Having a contract in place facilitates a smooth transaction of business between you and your clients.