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Eskymo

Freelance Contracts

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I have had a load of requests over the past year, via PM, to supply my freelance contract...so instead of sending stuff out individually via PM, I've decided to set up a template with explanatory text for anyone to download and adapt to their own circumstances.

This is a contract that I came up with several years ago, with the help of a lawyer [personal friend]. I didn't want anything too technical or full of legal speak. Just wanted something simple, straightforward, that made sense and didn't confuse or intimidate in any way. So there are no major legal terms in the document at all...it simply does what it's meant to - lay out the information that client has supplied [the brief], say what you're going to do for them and how much your going to charge and what deadlines there are...

-----Edit 2011-----
These templates are now available as part of my latest e-book called "Freelance Contracts" - you get 12 pages of information, advice and instructions on how to use freelance contracts as well the contract template in .odt, .doc and .pdf format. You can also get just the templates without the e-book.

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great post Eskymo,

 

I have pinned it to the top of the forum so that it doesn't get lost within all the other posts :D

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What a great resource. Thanks, Eskymo!

 

My own contract has a bit more legalese but now I will definitely be incorporating some of your elements into it (I especially love the "Milestones" and breaking everything up into stages - sometimes simpler IS better). :D

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If anyone wants a copy of the Open Office template or it's exported MS Word counterpart, just let me know and I can email it to you - you'll need to PM me your email address...I did post this thread to avoid having to constantly send out emails, but it might be useful to have a file you can edit...maybe I should just put a download link to my website - what do you think? Is that a good idea?

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If anyone wants a copy of the Open Office template or it's exported MS Word counterpart, just let me know and I can email it to you - you'll need to PM me your email address...I did post this thread to avoid having to constantly send out emails, but it might be useful to have a file you can edit...maybe I should just put a download link to my website - what do you think? Is that a good idea?

 

Download link is a good idea - then your avoiding 20 emails and getting fedup with it. :)

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I have had a load of requests over the past year, via PM, to supply my freelance contract...so instead of sending stuff out individually via PM, I've decided to set up a template with explanatory text for anyone to download and adapt to their own circumstances.

 

This is a contract that I came up with several years ago, with the help of a lawyer [personal friend]. I didn't want anything too technical or full of legal speak. Just wanted something simple, straightforward, that made sense and didn't confuse or intimidate in any way. So there are no major legal terms in the document at all...it simply does what it's meant to - lay out the information that client has supplied [the brief], say what you're going to do for them and how much your going to charge and what deadlines there are...

 

A few pointers though:

 

1. When the terms 'client', 'job' or 'your company name' appear in your text always use a capital letter 'Client' - 'Job' - 'Eskymo' as these are terms that have been defined at the beginning of the document and this is the proper way to refer to things.

 

2. I generally send clients a contract via email - I export the document as a PDF [so they can't edit it in anyway] and email it to them. They then have the option of printing it out and signing it and sending it back to me via the post, or they can 'digitally' sign it and email it back, or I just ask them to respond to the email with a formal acceptance of the contract - I then print out this email and keep it on file. Always make sure you get an agreement either in writing or an email - an agreement in a telephone conversation is no good as there is no way of referring back to it.

 

Here's a PDF version:

 

 

Here's a link to the Open Office Document:

Open Office Doc

 

Here's a link to the MS Word Document:

Open Office Doc

great template my friend.

thanks for sharing it with us!

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Hi all. This is my first post so hello.

 

I need a contract for freelancers. We are expanding the business, but instead of hiring any more staff, we want to freelance out.

 

Does anyone have a contract that I can use between the freelancer and my business? This contract seems to be between the designer and the client.

 

I want to protect my business name, and customers etc.

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This is a big help Eskymo. Thanks. I also would like to add some details here. I would also indicate under "terms and conditions" of the contract that there is a time limit should the client put the project "on hold" for months. In past dealings, I meet clients that took them 3-6 months to give an approval for a design I submitted. And we can't collect the final payment unless the project is completed. There was a time when I ended with dormant projects and did not get any kind of payment for months and months. I mean we all have monthly expenses to take care of. At least this was the scenario in my area.

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I know what you mean. I've recently changed the payment process in that I invoice for half the total amount up front and then the remainder at the end of the project. That way I get some payment straight away.

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I know what you mean. I've recently changed the payment process in that I invoice for half the total amount up front and then the remainder at the end of the project. That way I get some payment straight away.

 

 

Thats what I do as well, I always get a 50% deposit at the start of a project - since doing this its amazing how it focuses clients into getting on with the project and also help cash flow - no more waiting months for copy etc.

Before it was around 30% which really was a cash flow problem, especially when you get a client who waits right up until the 28 day invoice deadline to pay you!

 

I was worried that it would put off prospective clients at first but I have found it hasn't - in fact its made the whole process smoother. If I ever did have a complaint that it was too much upfront I would have to question if they can afford or want the website in the first place! (just for background, I work for mainly small businesses so were not talking about £1000's up front)

 

I also don't start designing anything until payment of the 50% has cleared in my bank (unless its a tried and trusted client).

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I think it's the best way to work now and I've also found it helps speed up projects as it certainly does focus the client's attention to getting the job done.

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Another tip on contracts is to add in the services that will be charged as an extra and at what rate.

Stuff like image manipulation, stock images, fonts, logos etc.

 

That way it makes it easier to turn round and say "its going to cost you more" when a client wants you to cut out 100 images, sort their levels and put them on a white background with shadow!

 

It really does pay to do this - I got burned pretty bad on this in the past! :(

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Yup I also ask for a downpayment. When I got stuck with dormant, pending projects and did some accounting, income was not coming in for many months. Like not being able to "rotate your capital" And the initial deposit given was slowly vanishing in covering monthly expenses. I was also worried that setting a time limit might discourage clients but most of them understood and was considerate.

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It can sometimes seem like you are pestering the client but its really worth it - most clients want there sites up asap...... having said that I have found that the worst time offenders are then ones who make a song and dance out of deadlines and time frames at the start!

i.e. " Dear Client, the design is there for your approval"....... a month goes by then approval......... " Dear Client your website is build but I am still awaiting the copy from you".......... another month...... AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

 

So much for 'Time frames';)

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Any advice for providing a contract for hosting, where I am the reseller, but not appearing as the middleman?

 

 

Write down everything they get for there money, including what kind of service support. Also detail what things are extra.

Its well worth having a bullet proof contract as you will always find one client who will try and get things done for free!

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Thanks mate very useful.wish i had seen this early just got ripped of 30pounds as the person changed there mind at the last minute

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Hey ...thanks this is just what i needed!

 

One question.... my friend has been saying to me about 'intellectual' information / processes involved in the creation of the website and how it should belong to the designer and not the company that you have provided the site for. I sort of get what she's saying, but think maybe in practical terms it just ain't happening.

 

Any thoughts?

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There are threads about this, I'll try to dig one up later.

 

The jist of it is that by UK law a person owns anything they create. Web law works such that when your client pays you for the work they are only paying for the rights to use the design in the form in which you create it. They do not own the design & therefore you can feasibly use it, or any part of it again. If this wasn't the case, most web designers could only have one client, as they'd get sued every successive time they created a site in their "style".

Who owns the content depends on who created it.

 

A company I did work for had FTP access, downloaded my site and gave it to another company who updated the design slightly & removed my copyright notice. This was illegal but I was like 18 and had no money to take them to court with - so it's worth having legal cover/insurance if you're freelancing and want to ensure your work stays your own.

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I support everyone who said thanks because this information is very important for all the frellancers-beginners! Thanks eskymo!

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Just wanted to add my very heartfelt "thank you" to the list!! As someone who's just starting out and feels overwhelmed by all the stuff she needs to learn and take care of, this is an invaluable resource. :good:

 

Also thank you to everyone who added suggestions / advice regarding artwork etc....

 

:)

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