Contracts: Now You Have a Client!

Standard

contract signing
I realize I had not posted in a couple of days. I had a busy last couple of days with regard to freelancing. I had meetings and conference calls this weekend with potential clients. It seems the work all starts to come in at once and so my focus is working with these potential clients to come to agreement on terms for work. This is where my attention has turned to today’s topic of contracts.

Up until now, I have always had a contract of some sort for the other party to sign that includes terms of work and payment. I have done this for every client, no matter how close I know them. So far, this has suited myself and the client just fine. The difference is that these have all been individuals asking me to create a project for them.

This new client I have is a company that wants me to create help documentation for their new online forms. This is right up my alley with my skills (although I am transitioning to more of an editing niche since I am a technical writer all day long). The difference is that this client has asked me to sign their W-9. I definitely agree with the w-9 because there is a possibility they will have more work for me in the future and the tax man will come looking for his money.

I have also been asked to sign the company’s standard consulting contract. I have read this over and agree with the terms. However, this is new territory for myself. I have asked many on twitter what they think about signing a company contract versus their own. Here are some of the replies:

@KOKedit If the consulting contract passed the sniff test (i.e., no clauses that stink), I might sign it.
@Anzac sign both. Protect yourself
@katefrishman I’m used to scientists-they don’t care about contracts much 🙂

Although the last reply sounds nice to not have to worry about contracts, I definitely want to cover myself. I always want to be sure project terms are agreed upon before I work in the wrong direction.

What are your thoughts regarding contracts? Do you have a standard template or do you rely on the client to have their own contract for you to sign?

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