Sample Freelance Contract by Peri Pakroo

I know from experience that it can be incredibly helpful to see examples of other businesspeople’s contracts — and that’s what I’m offering in this download. Below, you can download two (yes two!) of my own contracts that I’ve been using (and refining) for years for my editing and consulting services. I’m offering two versions so you can see the difference in how I do a flat-rate contact versus an hourly rate (sometimes called “time and materials”) contract.

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In a nutshell, for a flat-rate contract it’s really important that you spell out the details of the project (often called “scope of work” in business contract lingo) with a lot more specificity than is necessary in a time-and-materials contract, so that it’s excruciatingly clear what you are agreeing to do for the set flat rate. I usually include even more specifics in my flat-rate contracts than in the sample, typically in a separate exhibit or addendum that really gets down to the nitty gritty details. As you’ll see in my sample, the section titled “Scope of Services” is considerably more detailed in the flat-rate contract than in the time-and-materials version.

Here are a few more notes:

  • Both downloadable contracts are geared towards writing and editing services, though other creative professionals and consultants may also find these useful. In particular, make sure to customize the intellectual property sections based on your particular circumstances; in these samples it addresses text, but if you’re a photographer you’ll need to address photos, for example. If you don’t understand intellectual property and licensing, start educating yourself; again Nolo is a great resource.
  • I used red text and <> marks to indicate text that should be changed according to your specific circumstances. Stuff in ALL CAPS generally calls out basic information like your business name or a date. Other red text that’s not in all caps is essentially “example” text, showing how I handled those issues in my contracts. Again, depending on your circumstances, my examples may or may not be useful to you. Use what’s relevant and applicable for your situation.
  • Bear in mind that these are kind of “Frankenstein” contracts with the example text coming from a few different contracts so that I could illustrate a wider set of issues. The example text may not be 100% internally consistent. I’m offering them in the spirit of sharing some of the clauses and ways to articulate things that I’ve used over the years; it’s not intended to be a fill-in-the-blanks template. For something like that with comprehensive, step-by-step instructions, check out Nolo’s offerings.
  • I locked the files to protect the original text. To adapt it for your own use, save it as a new file.
  • I’m not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV. I’m sharing these contracts as one businessperson to another, but not offering legal advice. If you have specific questions about legal issues or technicalities, run it by a lawyer. Remember, hiring a lawyer to review a contract or other document that you’ve drafted on your own (with the help of self-help materials and examples like mine) will be much, much cheaper than hiring the lawyer to draft it from scratch.

I hope you find these helpful! Note that I cannot take questions about these as I’d be venturing into “practicing law without a license” territory. But I am happy to take your feedback.

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