6 elements of a 6-figure freelance contract

freelance contract protects each the freelancer and the shopper — and but too many new freelancers skip this step fully.

I get it although: Typically you simply need to do the work and receives a commission (particularly at first).

Additionally you possibly can’t assist however really feel such as you’re making an attempt to purchase somebody’s soul with a contract.


“I’ll write the gross sales web page, and also you give me your soul and that of your first-born son. Sound honest?”

Nonetheless, having a contract contract prepared helps you and your shopper be clear on what’s anticipated and will help shield you down the highway.

Let’s check out why a contract contract is vital, then break down the six components wanted for a successful contract.

What’s a contract contract?

A contract contract is a signed settlement between a freelancer and the shopper. It outlines the deliverables from the freelancer in addition to what’s to be anticipated from each events.

It additionally serves a wide range of different functions:

  • Safety. A contract contract protects each the freelancer and the shopper by outlining the precise work that’s anticipated of you. So in case your shopper expects extra work for a similar quantity of pay, you possibly can level to the contract and present them it’s not a part of the settlement. Likewise, when you don’t totally ship in your work, the shopper can maintain you accountable since you will have an settlement in writing.
  • Psychological. The freelancer and the shopper additionally profit from the peace of thoughts that comes with a contract. This could be a enormous acquire psychologically. Having a bodily contract you each can check with will help once you’re working with a brand new shopper and also you’re making an attempt to ascertain working relationship.
  • Skilled. There’s little that’ll make you look extra like a professional than having your individual contract prepared. With it, you’ll come off as skilled, dependable, and able to work it doesn’t matter what your stage.

Having freelance contract ready additionally helps you retain an in depth document of all of the work you do. That means, when it comes time to request fee, you gained’t must dig by your inbox or make a ton of cellphone calls to prep your bill. You possibly can simply refer again to the contract!

It’s price mentioning now that I’m not a authorized knowledgeable — however I can say freelance contract can offer you a greater likelihood of popping out on high if issues along with your purchasers break unhealthy and you find yourself in court docket over a problem. As with most authorized points, this could function an informational guideline and it’s best to seek the advice of your individual lawyer on your personal private scenario.

If that occurs, although, you simply realized a priceless lesson: Respect your individual time sufficient that you simply by no means work with a shopper like that once more.

KISS: The cornerstone of each good contract

The principle factor to bear in mind with freelance contracts is KISS.


Rock and roll all night time and shield your skilled pursuits each day.

Maintain it easy, silly.

It’s simple to get carried away and attempt to cowl each conceivable chance. Nonetheless, you run the chance of complicated your shopper. At worst, you would possibly find yourself scaring them off with a contract that reads longer than Battle and Peace.

As an alternative, write with easy, easy language. Your contract doesn’t must be “legalese” to be authorized. You need your shopper to have the option to check out this over their lunch break and perceive all of the phrases outlined.

Whereas protecting it easy, you additionally must ensure you’re very particular about expectations. That means all events concerned know precisely what’s to be anticipated from the opposite.

That is the tenuous stability you must strike. However once you accomplish that, you’ll provide you with a contract template good on your and your shopper’s wants.

6 components of a 6-figure contract

We’re going to check out a contract utilized by Will Inexperienced, good friend of IWT and copywriter extraordinaire.    

“I’ve used the contract for lots of freelance work [amounting more than six figures],” Will says. “It’s been reviewed by legal professionals and it’s held up in court docket.”

Nonetheless, he’s additionally fast to remind us that he’s no lawyer. In his expertise, although, this contract has served him properly.

And the contract works as a result of it adheres to 6 ideas:

  1. The Introduction
  2. The Work
  3. The Scope
  4. The Cost
  5. The Copyright
  6. The Termination

Let’s check out every ingredient now and break down the way it works.

NOTE: This is only one instance of a contract contract — nevertheless components used inside will be relevant to your freelance contract as properly.

The Introduction

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Like several excellent news story, you’re going to place crucial items of knowledge first.

Your introduction then goes to be a brief define of the connection between you and the shopper.

Discover how this contract additionally specifies who’s the “shopper” and “firm.” This will probably be related all through the remainder of the contract as you’ll be referring to these phrases.

The Work

That is the place we get into the meat of the matter: Deliverables.

You’ll need to get this part as particular and centered as doable. Meaning together with the next at minimal:

  • Undertaking. An outline of what you’ll be doing for the shopper.
  • Timeline. Once you’re anticipated to begin and be completed with the venture.
  • Cost. The way you’re anticipated to be paid (e.g., hourly, retainer, per venture) and when the shopper pays you.

Discover how these areas are deferred into separate appendixes. These are fully completely different areas of the contract devoted to these topics. Very helpful if there’s a number of element that it’s good to embrace.

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For those who can clarify it shortly although, there’s no purpose you possibly can’t simply embrace the main points on this part.

The Scope

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This part is the place specificity will really want to shine, because it helps shield you from the dreaded “scope creep.”

That is when a shopper retains asking for extra work than you agreed to, or asking for modifications to the work you’re presently doing.

Scope creeping most frequently happens when the venture isn’t clearly outlined. That’s why it’s so vital to be as centered as you possibly can in your contract and the work you each agree upon.

This freelance contract dedicates greater than a web page to the scope and contains precisely what the freelancer will ship, the deadline for the venture, in addition to what the shopper will ship.

In fact, if both you or your shopper needs to alter the scope of the venture, you possibly can at all times change the worth — which brings us to …

The Cost

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Arguably crucial part of the contract to a freelancer.

Be as centered and particular as doable once you’re outlining how and once you’re going to receives a commission. By no means depart room for interpretation on this part.

Doing so might permit your shopper to delay paying you, pay you lower than what you agreed to, or worse: Not pay you in any respect.

At a minimal, it’s best to embrace the next items of knowledge:

  • How a lot you’re going to be paid.
  • Exact timeline or schedule of fee out of your shopper.
  • Cancellation payment when you or your shopper terminates the contract.

That final half is vital. This lets you get one thing on your work even when the shopper decides to drop your providers — which brings us to …

The Termination

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This part is for when issues between you and your shopper simply aren’t understanding. It permits both occasion to separate from the settlement underneath agreed upon phrases.

On this freelance contract, which means an “e mail or letter” to the opposite occasion with every week’s price of discover.

It’s crucial to incorporate that buffer time. There’s nothing worse than having a shopper cancel a contract with no discover — leaving you with out work or time to search for extra work.

The Indemnity

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That is the authorized part of your contract — and it’s there to guard you from the worst case situation.

This will embrace issues like not getting paid, getting sued by your shopper, or in case your shopper runs into authorized bother related along with your work.

The authorized time period for it’s “indemnity,” or the safety towards obligation. Discover this contract provides the shopper AND the freelancer indemnity from authorized points similar to “gross negligence.”

NOTE: A little bit of legalese data is required for this part — greater than IWT can present. Our recommendation: Seek the advice of an legal professional or discover a company that may give you free authorized recommendation. Right here’s a listing of lawyer organizations that present pro-bono authorized providers.

Instruments on your freelance contract

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In order for you your freelance contract signed shortly, it’s good to make issues as simple on your shopper as doable.

That’s why it’s vital to present them the instruments they should learn, evaluate, and signal your contract painlessly.

To do this, we recommend the next instruments:

  • Google Docs + Doc Variables. This can be a no-brainer. By together with your contract on Google Docs, you’ll be capable to export it right into a PDF and ship it to your shopper, ship them a hyperlink to your contract, and preserve a template helpful for future purchasers. Nonetheless, with the addition of Doc Variables (a robust add-on) you’ll be capable to add particular particulars of your venture with out having to comb by the complete doc.
  • Bonsai. This on-line software permits your purchasers to offer digital signatures on your freelance contracts and even offers contract templates so that you can select from. There’s a free trial that permits customers to check out their choices. Nonetheless, it prices $9 / month for limitless contracts after that.
  • HelloSign. One other nice platform that permits you to get signatures out of your shopper. One good factor is that it’s free when you ship three or fewer contracts a month. After that, packages begin at $13 / month.

Earn extra money out of your purchasers

Your contract is essential.

It’s there to guard you, shield your shopper, and get you paid.

Having a contract contract additionally showcases to purchasers that you simply’re a High Performer. That’s why I need to share with you the way you need to use superior methods that can assist you get higher purchasers and improve your earnings whilst you advance in your freelancing profession.


My four minute video on charging on the high of your market.

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