Sample Freelance Contracts
- Sample contracts showing structure and subheadings
- Flat rate and billable hours versions
- Plain-language examples of common contract terms
- Wording you can adapt and customize
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 sample contracts based on my own contracts that I’ve been using (and refining) for years. 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.
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 often 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. Much of the language assumes a fictional contractor and includes a typical level of detail. You’ll need to adapt this for your own specific circumstances.
- 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.
To give you an idea of what’s included in the kit, here’s an excerpt from the first sample contract, which is for Flat Fee work:
Lawyer-y Standard Disclaimer Stuff
While I work hard to ensure my content reflects best business practices, nothing presented at or sold from PeriPakroo.com should be construed to be legal advice, accounting advice, or other professional advice. For professional advice applicable to your specific circumstances, you should consult with a lawyer, accountant or other professional licensed in your state.
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Sample Freelance Contracts
.Docx download, 12 pages
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