We freelancers often grumble about less-than-ideal contracts: Work-made-for-hire. Indemnity clauses. Vague payment terms.
Admittedly, we are in a bit of a bind. In our business, our clients set the terms. We attempt to negotiate better terms, and then we have the choice to sign or decline.
But humor me for a moment. After receiving a particularly ridiculous contract recently, I began to daydream. What if the tables turned? What if I was the one who sent my outstanding standard contract to clients, and they had to negotiate any changes?
What would my standard contract look like? Something like this, perhaps:
- I will produce quality work on time, based on the details we’ve agreed to in writing. If I don’t produce, you don’t have to pay.
- You can use my work once. For any additional uses, in any current or future technology, we will negotiate additional payment.
- I will do my best to be accurate, not break any laws, and so on. You will do your best to not introduce errors into my work during the editing process. Any errors will be corrected ASAP by either party.
- All rights revert to me if payment is not received within 30 days of submission.
- If you change your mind about what you need, you will let me know ASAP, pay for the work I’ve already done based on the original instructions, and pay for any additional time required at my standard hourly rate.
- The time allowed for the revision will rise in proportion to the time elapsed since the draft was submitted (Thanks, Helen Fields (bio), for this suggestion).
- In the event of a lawsuit, we will let the courts decide, or we will mutually agree to settle.
Hey, a freelancer can dream, right?
Image credit: By W.B. Wilson (Shiawassee County Historical Society), via Wikimedia Commons