Contract for freelance work

Hello everyone, I was hoping to get a bit of help from anyone with a bit of experience in this field.
I’ve just secured (verbally) my first big freelance client and before I take this on full time I’d like to get them to sign a contract for the work they have briefed me on.
Firstly, am I (I presume I am from other threads) right in getting a contract in place before I do anything?
Secondly, I have given them a rough time scale of 6 months to complete the work but as it’s made up from 3/4 projects I can see areas that it could run over past that. Has anyone had any experience with building in a time scale which then reverts to a rolling contract until the project is finished? I’m planning on getting it all drawn up professionally so im not asking you for legal advice but I just wanted to see if anyone had any experience with this first.

Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:


You are doing the right thing.

My suggestion would be to work with a lawyer to have a general contract drawn up. This should include the following clauses:

Clear identification of the parties
Services to be provided (a general description and then a direct down to an SOW added as an addendum)
Payment terms and schedule (and what you charge per hour if it goes over due to change in scope or failure to give timely feedback)
Association rights (IE if you need to subcontract anything, everything applies)
Costs (IE materials, or if they ask you to buy samples, how will that be handled)
Competing interests
Papers and property
Disclaimer and guarantee
and a few other things

At the end you can then attach an SOW (Statement of Work) with:

Key activities
Milestones and approvals
Estimated timeline (I usually show this as a waterfall chart)
Detailed list of deliverables
and I like to add a payment schedule again along with a late payment penalty

Wow, thank you Michael for the great reply and for coming back so quickly. I’m really excited to get started but I wanted to ensure I took a step back and do things properly so I’ll be sure to get something in place before I start any work.

I’ve had advice from someone to ‘not bother and just get on with it’ which sounds like a real headache should anything happen! I’d rather not take bad advice and get paid than rush into something and be left out in the cold (literally and figuratively!) if anything goes wrong.

I hadn’t thought about separating the SOW from the contract but that makes so much sense now you have listed it for me like that. I presume then I can use the general contract for future contracts and just change the SOW to suit.

Thanks again! :smiley:

Exactly. It also creates two sets of negotiations around the terms in the contract and the work to be done. It is a bit of a filter. If a prospective client doesn’t want to sign a contract clearly say who is responsible for what and when then you have to ask if that party will be trust worthy.