New template contract for freelance services handed to self-employed

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A business agreement document template for freelance services is today on offer from FreelanceUK, allowing all self-employed people the foundation of a contract with a client.

Divided into 12 parts, including Services, Liability and Remuneration, the template came about thanks to a FreelanceUK reader who was struggling to put his commercial offerings ‘in writing.’

'To cover differing freelance services'

Taking to Twitter, the freelancer said he had set up a new business, but was without an easy to amend document he could “send to clients for [the differing] freelance services I provide.”

Gerrish Legal, a commercial law firm also serving the freelance sector, has previously said that a standard set of ‘terms and conditions’ for self-employed people to work from can be enormously helpful.

But now the firm has gone one step further, by actually authoring the very T&Cs that FreelanceUK readers can potentially use when freelancers start out, expand or differentiate.

'Words and phrases'

Available below in both PDF and Word, the six-page template covers key areas of supplying services on a self-employed basis, like Work/Product; Obligations and Term/Termination.

It also includes sections entitled Schedule, Parties, Background and, to help head off flashpoints, a Definitions section to give clarity of meaning to the used “words and phrases”.

But the template is no substitute for tailored help from a qualified legal adviser and leaves plenty of room for the inevitable modification, cautions Gerrish Legal’s Komal Shemar.

'This template offers a foundation'

“Although they offer a foundation, freelancers should be aware that template contracts are not the absolutely safest option, since they are not adapted to your specific business needs.”

The adviser added: “Where freelancers are unhappy with the wording of this free template or don’t understand it or want to know what’s best for them, it’s safer to seek bespoke advice.”

Last month, an online post by the founder-CEO of a hub for freelancers pointed to the many different areas that contracts for the self-employed could potentially cover.

'Make sure your contract covers everything'

“When entering a contract, always be clear with your client…[about] Key Performance Indicators,” the chief executive’s post began.

“[Make sure the contract covers] everything. Deadline, output, format, samples...[even] how you want to deliver the results.

"This will eliminate assumptions and minimise errors.”

'Despite helpful wording on substitution, still get yourself an IR35 review'

In the Gerrish Legal-authored template, the firm’s founder says freelancers may wish to refer to her previous advice to FreelanceUK when they come to consider the Intellectual Property section.

Featuring as section seven in the template, it currently states that the freelancer transfers IP rights to the client company, in exchange for "fees."

And on IR35, while some specially ‘added wording’ on Substitution will help bonafide freelancers shore up an 'outside' position, those concerned about status should ideally “get an IR35 review”, Charlotte Gerrish also advised.

'Very handy, as a guide'

The lawyer added: “A template agreement can be very handy but remember, it’s just a guide and cannot replace having an expert on IR35 or IP tailor it to you.”

During the coronavirus outbreak, contractual best-practice dictated having ‘force majeure’ clauses inserted into freelance services agreements, partly so workers can negate any liability if supply has to come to an abrupt end.

But the gradual and underway lifting of the third national lockdown because of covid-19 may make such provisions potentially applying to the pandemic and other unforeseen interruptions to services less important.

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Editor’s Note: Download the freelance contract template below:

PDF: PDF freelance contract template

Word: Word document freelancer contract template

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