Protecting Yourself: Contracts and Clients

Freelancers work extremely hard on each project they take on and strive to present their client with the best work possible. Being a hard worker and giving each project 110% is one of the many foundation blocks of freelancing. In addition to working hard, other parts that go hand in hand in each project include strong communication and even stronger contracts. Since the average freelancer isn’t a company with stockpiles of contracts and other legal documents requiring numerous signatures before work begins, it’s important that every freelancer has a contract system in place that covers themselves and the work they produce.

Motivapp, a web application for freelancers specializing in proposals and contracts, offers a way to produce contracts easily; offering both sound legal and industry related content. Without a contract, there’s a great chance you’ll produce quality work that won’t result in payment. Furthermore, clients may violate your terms, or use the work you produced without authorization.

A strong contract protects against all of the job’s “What if” situations; leaving you free to focus on what you’re good at.

The New Client vs. The Existing Client

Two notorious mistakes freelancers often make are getting too comfortable with a client or undervaluing the need for a contract. With new or existing clients, the temptation for not using a contract may be large due to the project being small or requiring just a few quick changes to something already completed.

Motiv’s proposal and contract application can significantly cut down the amount of time you spend on creating contracts. Template a longer contract for new projects and a shorter one that details an agreement to pay for services rendered. Instead of always drawing something up, you’ll have a go to contract that clients can electronically sign; ensuring it’s automatically documented and on record. Another significant problem freelancers face is getting too comfortable. Having worked with a client that’s paid on time in the past may make the need for a contract less pertinent within your mind.

Always establish the habit of getting contracts signed; regardless of if they’re a returning client or a new client. This will also set the standards for the client to expect a contract.

What Contract Works Best for Me?

Freelancers work throughout multiple creative industries. Whether you’re a graphic designer, writer, marketing specialist or in another creative field, contracts should be customized to fit your specific niche in the freelancing world. There is a no one-size-fits-all contract and it’s important to acknowledge this when creating your freelancing contract. Motiv’s proposal and contract application offers unique content for many freelancing industries. This premade content unique to Motiv offers coverage for every situation and allows for an easy creation process. With each freelancing niche, there are different situations that may arise; not to mention the general fear of no payment or receiving significantly less than originally agreed to.

Consider a contract that consists of multiple parts. Always outline the estimated cost, when payment is expected to be received, an hourly or overtime rate and what’s included in the cost. Also outline what work files are expected to be released to the client upon completion and when it’s okay for the content to be used. By having everything detailed, you can feel comfortable focusing on the project at hand.

Document Everything. Then do it again.

A comprehensive contract does wonders in court should a specific case ever need to be taken that far. Having additional documentation to back up the contract secures your case and solidifies that the other party is in the wrong. Utilize project management software, save emails and detail a client’s requests for changes somewhere to ensure everything is being tracked. Going through this process also has additional benefits of being more organized and potentially accounting for time that can be billed out to the client that you may have missed otherwise. Your client will appreciate the organization and recognize your intention to be as thorough as possible throughout the project.

Whether you’re working with a client down the street, across the country or across the world, contracts are always needed to ensure a smooth client to freelancer relationship. Using Motiv to create freelance contracts is not only easy and fun, but it significantly cuts down the amount of time spent preparing contracts in the past. Set your mind at ease knowing you can focus on producing the high quality work you’re worth and know that you’ll get paid for the work that you do. It doesn’t matter if a project is big or small and with a new customer or a repeat one.

Any client that is wary or uneasy about signing a contract is most likely not worth your time. A good client will also understand the need for protection as a freelancer and will have no issue with agreeing to a contract that is reasonable and contains pricing information as discussed. Don’t be afraid to turn down a client who refuses to sign a contract. This is a tell-tale sign from the start that there may be problems down the line.

Freelance with confidence knowing your work is protected and always use contracts before beginning a job.

Written by

Dylan Feltus is a young freelancer and entrepreneur residing in sunny Sarasota, Florida. His background in Graphic Design and Web Development has helped him to master his craft as a self-employed freelancer. As the founder of Motiv and head blogger of The Daily Motiv, Feltus enjoys posting and sharing his experiences in freelancing with others.

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