4. Timeframes and Deadlines.
This not only needs to be made clear in the scope of work but also as a summary in the main contract. Key milestones should be marked and often, relate to payment deadlines similarly. While delays often occur, the contract can be referred to amend these delays or to refer the client to original timeframes. Similarly, you can be held accountable by your client for late or missing work. This is one part of contracts that neither part is keen to commit to, however, it serves to require written or verbal verification of changes - meaning that just because Joe from Copy mentioned in passing the project will run long, you only have to factor in this change or note this change by following up with your client liaison and clarifying, ideally, in writing how the timeframe or deadlines will deviate from the contract.
Ensure that you include all limitations on the use of your work on your contract. Most freelancers are happy for their clients to own the products of their work, and generally there are rarely any problems with this. However, it becomes a little more difficult once the client starts using the work in places that were not outlined in the contract OR provided consent of use by the freelancers. Basically, you want to make sure that IF your work is not used correctly, you have recourse to point this out.
6. Confidential information.
As it stands, most contracts - not even just ones related to employment - include some form of confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. For better or worse, it’s actually not just the company that needs protecting here. You are not just handing over work but oftentimes trade secrets of your practice and craft - even if you are not providing step by step manuals, clients will infer your process or professional strategies. Many freelancers will tell you they have rendered services only to have a client take a template of that process and internalise the work, usually fobbing it off to an unpaid or barely paid intern. Again, this is not every case nor by any means the majority, however it is common enough that it should be included as a consideration as to what is confidential to you and your business.
7. Limitation of liability.
This is also important as another frequent dispute amongst freelance services providers and clients is: ‘’this is YOUR fault!’. What can be hard to do without a contract in place dictating where your liability begins and ends, is unequivocally proving it is indeed not your fault and in any case, not your responsibility. This is also sometimes a tool used by clients to avoid final payment or to expand the scope of work without adjustment of payments.
Details, details, details...
Where you should get more detailed and where the crux of the details should be, is in the Scope of Work. This is where the protections around your deliverables and work shall be - and it’s not just for the contract/agreement, but actually the basis document for freelance work and project management. A scope of work should include:
- Project objectives
Using a scope of work as a foundation, you can also define what you WILL NOT be doing as part of your contract with your client. This includes limiting the number of revisions, outlining what is considered a scope creep (aka work that may seem like it is apart of the job, but creeps outside of the scope in a general sense).