Why do you need to create your own freelance project contract? Doing this can save you a lot of headache and even money. It helps to avoid misunderstanding or some fraudulent clients from taking advantage of any perceived loopholes to swindle you. But it is not only the freelancer who needs protection. Clients also need a written contract to safeguard their interests from freelancers who do not keep their end of the bargain. A written contract must meet certain criteria to be usable in a court of law.

Both parties must be mature and of sound mind. This means entering into a freelancing contract with a minor or somebody with a history of mental disability from whatever cause is not defensible under any legal system.

  • The freelancer and the client must use their real names. If the client is a corporate body, then the right person must sign on behalf of the company.
  • A real product or service must be the basis of the contract.
  • The contract must not involve illegal products or services
  • The project the contract is protecting must have specific timeframe.
  • The expectations/benefits for each party must be documented.

With this in mind it is time to formulate the actual contract that meets all the above points.

Types of Contracts

There are 3 main types of contracts.

  • One time service contract
  • Contract for ongoing service with various milestones and payment schedule when each stage is completed.
  • Contract for a retainer agreement.

Regardless of the type of contract, it must meet points discussed below.

Your Freelance – Client Contract

Contract Title

This must give details of the service the contract covers and the parties involved

Clearly indicate the nature of the service the freelancer is offering.

The Service the Contract Covers

This can be a summarized version or a detailed one depending on the scope and complexity of the service. It must cover all the important and specific details about the transaction.


The contract must clearly indicate who owns the copyright. It must also be clear on the type of copyright offered. For example; is it a country specific or worldwide copyright? If for example it contains written or image content, does it cover single or multiple publication rights. A copyright lawyer can be helpful here to give specific details.

Pricing or Agreed Upon Quote

The exact amount of money and payment method must be stated. It must be clear when the money will be paid. Will there be a down payment and if so, how much? How will the rest of the money be paid? What will be the consequences of delayed or nonpayment?

The Contact Person

Who are you dealing with? If the freelance service is offered by an agency the contract must spell out who the client is dealing with. Likewise, for the protection of the freelancer, the contract must indicate a specific person he is to communicate with in case the client is a corporate body.

The Length or Scope of Work

This clause protects the freelancer from additions the client might later ask for and which were not part of the agreement. The contract must be clear on terms and conditions of meeting such requests and how they will be catered for.

‘Kill fees’

A good contract must have provision for what happens when either of the party ends the contract before the service agreed upon is completed. If the client has already started work, what will be the amount paid to him by the client for terminating the contract? On the other hand how will a client be compensated by a freelancer who suddenly terminates a project?

Who is meets liabilities

What happens in the event the service you offer creates legal issues for the client?

A simple but clearly written contract agreement saves future problems between a freelancer and a client and is an important tool for efficiency for both parties.