Contractors' Questions: How to get a contract for freelancing?

Contractor's Question: I have recently re-established myself as a freelance professional and am currently trying to create a single contract which I could adapt for different roles in the future. Are there any good websites or groups which provide templates or a good basis for an amendable contract? Also, what are the advantages of getting a contract lawyer to frame the contract for me. Is the hefty cost likely to be the only negative?

Expert's Answer: There are many websites where you can simply download a contract template to be adapted for your own use. These are relatively cheap and easy to follow. The websites can be found by a search of the internet for 'legal documents'.

(Editor's note: For many years, the Professional Contractors Group has been recognised as one of the leading providers of contract templates to freelancers. Also, Contract Alliance members are entitled to discounted legal agreements.)

However there is no substitute for having a bespoke contract drafted by a professional. The benefits are that the professional will listen to exactly what you want and the provisions that you need to be included. These provisions will then be drafted in a way that they are legally sound and within the law.

As a result, you will have a stronger contract in place with client companies you engage, and will have a contract which is worded to your advantage, as an independent supplier. The downside, as you identify, is that using a professional will cost you more than a template downloaded from the web. However it may be that any reliance on the contract in the future, in the event that you need to enforce it, will pay off, as you may be able to enforce it on the strength of how it was drafted.

The expert was Jody Tsigarides, of Lawdit Solicitors.

Thursday 8th Apr 2010