In the freelancing world, the entrepreneur has to take a number of tasks that are normally handled by a separate department in a large company, all by themselves.
However, most of these tasks are not part of the creative process that the creative entrepreneur is used to, but rather more tedious left-brain paperwork. These particular detail-ridden tasks usually strain a freelancer who is responsible for a variety of tasks.
One of these types of tasks that drain freelancers is a contract. Drafting a contract is aimed at covering you and does not just enumerate information, it is crucial and important. Freelancers most of the time do not have the benefit of the legal department that is solely dedicated to protecting their interest with a watertight contract.
Nonetheless, a freelance contract has to be at the very best, concise and clear. It should be able to outline the scope of the job, the scheduling demands, and the expectations of both parties during the employment relationship.
One would rather have a basic agreement than to have no agreement at all. Just make sure that it is clear, unambiguous and that it covers all the essentials of the business arrangement.
Here are a few helpful tips;
Make sure that you define the scope of work that will be done
As a creative freelancer, you are most of the time accustomed to sending clients proposals that outline the scope of your project, and also includes the timeline expected. Therefore, it is not uncommon for these particular clients just to sign off the papers and send them back to you.
Regardless of the format, the contract that you get into needs to clearly state what you are going to do for the client, and when it is expected. Therefore, you will need not only to list what is going to be delivered, but also the contents that are expected and their delivery dates.
Jot down all the money issues
The most common contract-related issues are usually about the money. Making it an important aspect when drafting a contract. Therefore when you get to drafting the contract do not just make detail of how much you are going to get paid, you must also consider the following;
· What are you going to receive upfront?
· Are you going to be paid at delivery, or are there milestones?
· Is there a kill fee for the project in case the client is unsatisfied with your work?
· Will there be a late fee if the client does not pay on time?
· Will you be reimbursed for expenses?
Who will own your work?
When you build apps, there is no doubt who is going to own the apps, the client who buys it, gets full ownership. However, in case you are a writer or a graphic designer, then it becomes a bit complex who owns the material and the rights that are associated with it.
In this case, that is why it is important that you include a clear statement of which party has the full rights to the work, in the contract.
There are generally two ways you can go about this. You can decide and offer full ownership of the work, or grant a license to the client to use the work in certain ways, in which case you retain the ownership and the control over its use. In case you go with the license method then, your contract clearly needs to lay down the terms and address questions such as;
a) Where and how your work can be used?
b) The exclusivity of the license
c) Can the client credit you with the work?
d) Can the client modify the work?
e) Will you receive any royalties upon the sale of your work?
Mollaei Law is a law firm specializing in business law serving businesses and entrepreneurs. We provide legal expertise in all stages of business development by drafting and reviewing contracts and agreements, assisting transactions and negotiating, forming LLC’s and Corporations, registering trademarks and copyrights, business planning, and answering any legal questions you may have about your business.
Sam Mollaei, Esq., business lawyer, can be reached by email [email protected] or via phone (818) 925-0002.