5 Reasons Why Every Freelance Web Designer Needs to Have a Contract

Photo Credit: Domenico Lola (Unsplash)

This year’s COVID-19 pandemic changed the world of work as we know it. Employers became increasingly aware of the benefits that came from remote working. Furthermore, the advantages of hiring freelancers became evident. In addition to being able to access a larger pool of talent, working with freelancers offers companies greater flexibility and can potentially be highly cost-effective.

While web design is certainly one of the professions most well-suited to thriving in this dynamic environment, setting yourself up as a freelancer is also a lot of hard work. Most of this hard work will need to be done by the budding web designer themselves, without the support or formal structures of a company. One of the most important basic administrative tasks you’ll need to do as you begin this journey is to establish a contract. While this may seem like a bit of a tedious task, it does provide a solid foundation for future ventures. What’s more, you can use a number of online templates that can be used when drawing up a design contract for freelancers. Before you get started, here a few of the reasons having a contract in place is vital for new web designers entering the field.

It’s an Easy Way to Communicate With Your Client

As a freelancer, effective communication with clients will be a key part of your success. A contract is one of the best ways to do this, as it ensures that both parties are on the same page in terms of deliverables and the scope of the work. Try to be as clear as possible about the parameters of a project.

A Contract Establishes Clear Deadlines and Milestones

One of the worst things that can happen to a freelancer is to have the client suddenly change a deadline without warning, especially when you have multiple projects on the go at the same time. A good contract allows you to map out the process and establish a workflow system that allows you to work effectively. Using a contract to establish hard deadlines or milestones will make it easier for you to manage your workload.

It’s the Best Way to Make Sure You Get Paid

Your contract will establish your rates, as well as how and when you expect to be paid. Some freelancers choose to be paid hourly, monthly or for a specific task. You can also include clauses about any overtime pay too. Furthermore, you can use the contract to establish which party is eligible for tax obligations.

Your Contract Establishes the Payment Schedule

As a freelancer, you’ll need to discuss a payment schedule for your work. Are you going to be paid after the work has been delivered or do you require 50% of your fee upfront? Is payment due on the same day that an invoice is delivered? Are there any late fees? All of these factors should be considered when drawing up a contract.

It Provides Protection Against Legal Disputes

As is the case in any workplace, at some point in your freelance career, you’ll probably experience an issue with a client. If this happens to escalate and become more of a serious dispute, your contract will be an important asset in any legal proceedings. This is why it’s so important to make sure that this document is prepared meticulously.

Drawing up a freelance design contract will by no means be the most fun part of your job, but it is necessary. Remember that contracts are flexible and can be revised over time as your business develops. Furthermore, the terms of each contract are open for negotiation. Having a basic idea of how to format this document and the elements that need to be included is always a good place to start.

There are both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to pursuing the freelance route as a web designer. There are lots of bureaucratic elements that need to be factored in when deciding to go it alone and it can be hard to stay on top of these sometimes. Hopefully this to-do list should help you get started.

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