Your business or organization is growing, and you want to work with freelancers. Have you thought about what to put in your contract with a freelancer? Here are some important things to include.
What are freelancers?
Freelancers are self-employed. They are independent, meaning that they don’t have a boss. They decide how to do their work. They don’t become your employee just because you pay them to do something for you.
1. The freelancer’s services
In the contract, you can describe what the freelancer must do for you. For example, you could be hiring a freelancer to create your website. Say so in the contract!
Think carefully about how to describe the freelancer’s services. Make sure that you and the freelancer have the same understanding of what this description means.
[NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] agrees to retain the services of [NAME OF FREELANCER] to [CLEAR AND DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF WHAT THE FREELANCER MUST DO].
2. The freelancer’s fee
The price is generally an important part of any contract! Be clear about the fee you agree on for the freelancer’s services.
A freelancer may charge a flat fee for their services, meaning a fixed price. Or, a freelancer may charge an hourly rate.
You can also describe in the contract how and when you will pay the freelancer. Will you pay by cheque, bank transfer, or cash? Will you pay when the work is done, before it starts, on certain dates, or after a certain amount of hours have been done?
[NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] will pay [NAME OF FREELANCER] $35 per hour up to a maximum of $500 for the services described in this contract.
[NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] will pay [NAME OF FREELANCER] $500 for the services described in this contract.
3. How the work will be done
You may have certain requirements for how you want the work done. Freelancers may have their own requirements. You can both put your requirements in the contract.
For example, you can require that freelancers do the work personally. You may have seen this clause called “no subcontracting” in some contracts.
Freelancers can require that you answer their questions in a reasonable amount of time so that they can do their work.
Putting these requirements in the contract can help things go smoothly.
[NAME OF FREELANCER] promises to perform all their obligations personally. [NAME OF FREELANCER] must get the written authorization of [NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] before using a subcontractor.
[NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] promises to fully cooperate with [NAME OF FREELANCER] to allow them to perform their obligations on time.
4. Who owns the work
The contract can say that you own the rights for any intellectual property that the freelancer creates for you. Intellectual property rights cover work that is artistic, commercial, scientific, and more.
If your contract doesn’t say this, freelancers own the intellectual property rights for this work. When freelancers own these rights, you may be limited in how you can use their work. For example, you may not be able to reuse freelancers’ work for future projects without their consent.
Freelancers can also give up their “moral rights” in your contract. Moral rights mean that the work can’t be changed or used in a way that could harm the freelancer’s reputation. So, freelancers could stop you from changing or using their work in some cases if they don’t give up their moral rights in your contract.
[NAME OF FREELANCER] agrees that the intellectual property rights for the work they create under this contract are the exclusive property of [NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION].
[NAME OF FREELANCER] expressly waives all rights to the intellectual property created under this contract, including their moral rights.
To find out more about copyright, read our articles Copyright: Protecting Creative Works and Copyright: When Can You Use Someone Else’s Work?
5. How to end the contract
You can generally end your contract with a freelancer at any time without giving a reason, if you’re doing so in good faith. Being in good faith means that you’re not ending the contract in an abusive way or just to harm the freelancer. When you end the contract, you must pay the freelancer for the work already done.
The freelancer can only end the contract for a serious reason, like if you refuse to cooperate with them.
You can also say in the contract how and when you or the freelancer can end it.
The PARTIES can end the contract at any time if they both agree.
[NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] reserves the right to end the contract at any time.
[NAME OF FREELANCER] can end the contract at any time by giving [NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] thirty (30) days notice in writing.
6. When the work begins and ends
You can put a start date and an end date for using the freelancer’s services in the contract.
[NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION] retains the services of [NAME OF FREELANCER] as of April 1, 202X.
This contract ends on May 31, 202X.
7. Other clauses to consider
You can add clauses to your contract to cover any other issues that are important to you.
For example, you can say that the contract is subject to Quebec law. This could be important if you’re working with a person or an organization outside of Quebec.
You can say that the written contract contains everything you and the freelancer agree to. This makes it clear that any conversations you had with the freelancer that aren’t written down in the contract aren’t part of your agreement. This can be useful if there is ever a disagreement about how to interpret the contract.
You can also make sure freelancers promise not to share any confidential information they have access to while working for you.
Finally, you can say in the contract that you and the freelancer must try mediation if you have a disagreement. In mediation, people discuss their conflict with someone neutral who is trained to help them find a solution that works for both sides.
This contract will be interpreted and performed according to the law that applies in the province of Quebec.
This contract contains the entire agreement between [NAME OF FREELANCER] and [NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION]. It replaces all other written or verbal negotiations and agreements that the PARTIES may have had before signing this contract.
[NAME OF FREELANCER] acknowledges that they may have access to confidential information regarding [NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS OR ORGANIZATION]. [NAME OF FREELANCER] promises to not share this confidential information with anyone, whether during the contract or after it has ended.
The PARTIES agree to submit any disagreement to mediation. They promise to participate in at least one mediation session.