Having a written contract is the best action you can consider as a freelancer before starting any job. There are so many risks associated with online work. Though there are many challenges in finding freelance work online it is always better enter into formal contract or agreement with clients before undertaking any work. A study by the U.K. Federation for Small Businesses showed that 58% of the survey participants’ working online at one point failed to receive their pay after completing a job. Here are ten reasons why it is important to sign a contract either physically or digitally before you can start working on any online job.
Several clients are not usually willing to pay their employees for unknown reasons. In addition, others make late payments or even fail to pay the agreed amount. Most often they bring in reasons that appear Legitimate such as company closed down, we no longer are in that business, our business requirements have changed, we are going through a financial crisis or even sympathetic reasons such as business faced a sudden disaster. For such reasons, freelance websites have introduced channels that ensure that individuals sign contracts through different mechanism with their employers to minimize payment uncertainties.
Getting into contacts helps to distinguish real clients from scammers. Before starting on any online job, always ask your clients to sign an agreement contract containing the terms of the project. Just in case the client declines or tries to divert your attention, take that as a red flag. Long standing legitimate clients generally understand the importance and adhere to formalities such as contracts as they have experienced discrepancies somewhere during their previous engagements.
Generally an agreement will contain all aspects of the projects such as project deliverables (or a references to a scope document), project commercials and delivery timelines. Both the employer and employee can refer to the agreement when a disagreement arises. They may choose to solve the issue between themselves or involve a third party.
Clients are more likely to trust individuals who request them to sign an agreement. A contract including clauses that protect the client assures them of the security of their funds. They believe that a Freelancer requesting to sign a formal contract is an organized individual who takes his work quite seriously.
The scope of work entails the requirements of the project. A good contract defines what both parties should do, terms of payment, and the project deadline. With such measures in place, cases of miscommunication are minimal. If client requests additional or differing features later as project progresses you as the Freelancer could always refer the scope document for any out of scope requirements and request for additional commercials if needed. Make sure you always act diplomatically and not the conflict with the clients.
A written contract signed by both parties will act as a legally binding document presentable in a court of law as evidence. On this occasion, the freelance website involved can use the contract to determine the party that breached their terms and make a sound judgment.
In many countries, it is illegal for people to work from home without signing contracts. For instance, in the U.S., laws such as the Freelancing isn’t Free Act of 2016 have been set aside to prevent the exploitation of freelancers.
A well-written contract will help build successful relationships and show how orderly a freelancer is. External parties are attracted to working with you upon realizing that you follow legal procedures when handling your projects.
This ensures that each party keeps their word as per the agreement providing minimal cases of future misunderstandings. Both parties get a chance to clearly define their roles, eliminating misunderstandings that can ruin the parties’ working relationship.
A client might get to have you do more work than you had agreed without revising the payment terms. Ideally, doing additional work means that you are spending your time which demands pay.
Freelance contracts are essential when hiring online as they protect freelancers without a legal department dedicated to safeguarding their interests. Contracts assist in outlining the duties of both parties and offering protection in case of disputes. If you wish to venture into online work to earn money, consider having a contract in place before you can start working.