Five Reasons to Write a Contract

by Nicole Branigan on December 11, 2011 · 0 comments

Writing Freelancing ContractsEvery year I go into a retrospective haze where I think about everything I did wrong with my business and vow to make it better (along with my resolutions to recycle more and be nicer to my dog). I seem to remember a certain post from last year discussing the importance of writing service contracts as a freelancer.

Yet, here we are, another year later and I still don’t draft contracts for all my projects. Either the project is too small, I don’t want to impose on a new client, or they assure me it’s not necessary, there’s always a reason not to write a contract. As the contract hire, it’s my responsibility to write a contract, not my client’s. Here are five reasons [I need] to write a contract for EVERY project in 2012 (unless of course we die in a fiery, Mayan blaze – then, free work for everyone!):

  1. You’ll look legitimate. By drafting a contract you’re ensuring a certain amount of professionalism. You’ll also be portraying an, “I’ve done this before,” vibe that clients love to see.
  2. You’ll be guaranteed payment. I’ve been burned, as all freelancers have. Stop this broke-ass train before it starts or you’ll earn yourself a one-way ticket to Ramen-ville.
  3. You’ll be forced to finish the work. Hey, someone has to keep you on track [read: off the Entertainment Online blog]. A contract is a great way to set a deadline and motivate yourself to get things done.
  4. You’ll have a system in place. By drafting a solid contract, you’ll have a system set in place for all work. Whether it’s full web content, or a couple of advertising headlines, you’ll know the nature of the project before you start, because it’s in writing.
  5. You’ll be paid ON TIME. This is something I struggle with most as a freelancer. Sure, I’m paid…eventually. Next time you write a contract, add a clause about adding 10% interest for every week you don’t receive payment after a certain date. You’re likely to never receive a late payment again.

In the spirit of growing and learning, I’m vowing to write a contract for every new client project I take on. Not only will it protect me, but my clients will also enjoy peace of mind and a structured and professional start to every Blackbird Can Write transaction.


What’s your biggest professional challenge?

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