When a business consultant sets up shop, the first few months (or longer) are often spent in solo mode: you the owner are responsible for everything from landing major clients to taking out the recycling. But after putting in some grunt work to get things off the ground, most business consultants find that they have more work than they can do by themselves — but maybe not yet enough steady revenue to justify hiring a fulltime employee.
Freelancers are the small-business owner's best friend because they are flexible, less expensive than employees, and often experts in their subject matter. Working with a freelancer lets you expand the services you offer to clients without committing to pay a regular salary and benefits every month.
So how can you make sure the relationship you establish with your freelancers is professional and clear? Contracts, of course. A contract with a freelancer should do a number of things, including…
- Outline the terms of employment (for a project, for a period of time, for a specific client, etc.).
- Establish pay rate and payment methods.
- Detail what work is expected of both parties and who owns the rights to that work, if applicable.
- Establish what (if any) behavior would allow either party to end the relationship.
Depending on the nature of the project, a freelance contract may also need to do a lot more.
As with any legal document, it's a good idea to work with an attorney to develop the contract you use for your freelance workers so that you're confident it will hold up in the event of any legal action or disputes. But hiring a lawyer every time you want to bring on part-time help can get costly. That's why we've provided this free sample freelance contract, available for you to download.
By taking a look at what goes into a freelance contract, you can get an idea of what you'll be paying your lawyer for. You may even request that your legal representative help you develop a freelance contract based on this one, so that you don't have to pay for him or her to write'one from scratch.
Of course, the specifics of the work you want your freelancer to do will determine the exact language of and provisions included in the contracts you ultimately use, but this free downloadable template can give you an idea of how freelance contracts work in the wild.
Note that this sample is meant only for illustration purposes and is not meant to be used as legal advice or as an actual legal document.