Freelancers who are new to the art and craft of freelancing may easily get carried away by all the new clients and contracts that they get. However, it is crucial to pay attention to the rights and responsibilities of both parties (the client and the freelancer) in order to avoid any future disagreements and confusion. A freelancer agreement not only protects solo professionals but the clients as well. Small disputes between clients and freelancers are fairly common, it’s something to expect when you set out to be an independent solo worker. In this article, we are giving you useful tips for why and how freelancers should draw an agreement.We can say that the building blocks of an efficient and well functioning freelance agreement are:
- Clearly set and communicated expectations regarding the nature of the project
- Clarification of the payment terms
- Protection of intellectual property and copyrights
- Non-disclosure agreements if necessary
Set expectations in stone
The first thing to do is understand the expectations of both parties. This way, freelancers can communicate how much of the expectations they can meet, and vice versa. Certain aspects of a project on which expectations should be set and communicated are:
- Job details
- Scope of work
- Communication rules and channels
- Payment terms
An elaborate scheme of the given project, what it entails, the number and the nature of the revisions, rules of communication and the possible mediums as well as the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated should be adequately given place in your freelancer agreement. Other possible points that would definitely be a plus to consider are:
- What happens when one party fails to meet their end of the agreement?
- What are the regulations of late payments?
When you’re faced with a disagreement a bit harder to overcome personally, seeking legal advice in case of disputes might be a good idea.
Secure your payment
Perhaps one of the most important things to secure via a freelance agreement is your payment. While all payment terms are vital to clarify in an agreement, the form of the payment and the issue of delayed payments are the issues that should be clarified in the best possible way. You should also keep in mind that the efficiency and the sustainability of your freelance business is tightly related to the quality of the invoicing that you can provide for your clients.From invoicing to freelance hourly calculator and legal services, we at Ruul continue to constantly add to our features in order to make finance management hassle-free for solo workers.
Protect your IP and copyrights
Before talking about how freelancers can protect their intellectual property, we need to clarify what IP is and what it means for freelancers. Although you may have a general idea about what intellectual property means, it is always better to have a legal definition of it in order to avoid future mistakes.
What is an IP agreement?
An IP includes all the written as well as audiovisual material that is created by the contracted freelancer. The right to intellectual property (shortly referred to as IP) is the right to reproduce, sell, distribute, publish and reprint a given work. While the IP rights can be only owned by the creator, the rights to the IP can also be given to the people and organizations indicated in a work agreement.The core of any IP agreement consists of who gets to own the material produced as a result of the project and under what conditions and the material be reproduced, copied or distributed. While every IP agreement is different in nature, the thing that freelancers need to keep in mind is that it is quite important to have an IP agreement set between the freelancer and the client.
Ensure security and confidentiality
Earlier we talked about the importance of securing your payments as a freelancer and your intellectual property rights. We can also underline that security and confidentiality between you and your client is equally important to the success of a project and of your freelance operations in general. There will be times when the project that you work on will contain sensitive information either about your business operations or of your client’s. While the essence of this information and the level of sensitivity varies from project to project and from business to business, certain chunks of content such as business intelligence, customer lists and financial data is always considered classified information. Other types of confidential information include data on marketing and marketing strategies, future business plans and models and data about supply sources and chains. As a freelancer, it is of utmost importance that you protect this information in order to prevent your professional activities from third-parties.
What is an NDA?
An NDA is a legal document protecting the confidentiality and the secrecy of certain elements of your work. NDAs can also be named as proprietary information agreements, secrecy agreements or as it is sometimes referred to, a confidentiality agreement.Keep in mind that NDA agreements are legally binding for both parties. They are usually signed before beginning a project. A non-disclosure agreement should clearly state what kind of data and information can not be public and what the possible outcomes of violating an NDA can be.
Strengthen your professional brand
Freelancers, especially novice ones, need to find methods and strategies to draw clients and keep them to develop their business. Creating a brand that is professional enough to attract new clients is not an easy task but it is certainly an achievable one. Strengthening your professional brand is all about good and successful marketing combined with an appealing persona. Drawing detailed, customized, branded agreements, too, should also not be missed out as an extension of diligent image building. Strengthening your professional brand is best achieved by portraying your freelance business and the services that you offer in the most accurate and classy way possible. Trust us, your clients will see your brand in a much more positive way if you customize your agreements according to your brand.
Best tips on managing finances for novice freelancers
It is not always easy to start building yourself a career as a freelancer new to the trade. While a prosperous and long lasting freelancing career depends on many moving parts, one of the indispensable ingredients of it is securing your projects by freelancing agreements. Now that you've learned the importance of having one, register with Ruul for free and use our customizable templates to create your own professional, legally compliant service agreements!