A lot of businesses nowadays are relying more and more on labor sourced from outside the workplace and the team you might have employed. Freelancers can be a great source of additional work then you need to be flexible to an additional demand. This flexibility is even more crucial in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
However, since they’re not obligated to the business in any meaningful long-term sense, you need to mitigate the risks with the strength of a contract. Here are a few things it should cover.
The scope and terms of the work
Simply put, the contract should make it clear, in no uncertain terms, what work you expect the freelancer to do and when you expect it to be done. It can also include a terminating clause that means the contract is broken if the freelancer fails to deliver the work by the deadline stated in the contract. Of course, you may not want to be too restrictive in the terms of the work as, if the freelancer works with you in the long-term, this can lead to legal hot water due to blurring the line between freelancer and employee.
The financials of it all
How you’re going to pay the freelancer should also be clearly laid out in the contract. This can include the rate that they are charging for the particular work that is being done, as well as how and when it is being paid. If you’re working internationally, then sure that it’s clear what methods you’re using to send money to those working overseas. This way, there’s a reduced chance of contested payments if the work is done on time.
The ownership of any work
If you work with freelancers that produce goods for your company, such as copywriting for your marketing clients, then it is important to make sure that they don’t have any ownership of the work that they produce. However, the clause should also ensure that freelancers get to keep copyrights to work that is done for you but not used by you. It’s good faith to make sure that you’re simply trying to claim all of the work that is done while you’re paying so that they can later use it for different projects if you don’t plan on using it.
A non-compete clause
This is not always necessary if, for instance, your freelancer doesn’t do the same kind of work as you. However, if you are, for instance, a social media manager and you work with freelancers to handle the day-to-day needs of clients, there could be a real risk of those freelancers convincing clients to work directly with them unless you have some form of non-compete clause there. You can forbid them from competing with your business entirely (these contracts easily get thrown out of court), but you can reasonably prevent them from stealing your existing clients.
The above is not an exhaustive list of clauses and details to put in your freelancer contracts, but it can be crucial to make sure that at least these are in place.