In the world of freelancing, having a clear and well-defined agreement between a freelancer and their client is essential for a successful working relationship. This is where a freelance statement of work (SOW) template comes into play. A freelance SOW covers all the crucial details of a project, ensuring that both parties are on the same page from the start.
In this article, we’ll delve into the purpose and importance of a statement of work template and show you exactly how to create one.
What’s the Purpose of a Freelance Contract Template?
The real purpose of a freelance contract template is to lay out the terms and expectations between an independent contractor and their client in a way that ensures both parties are in agreement.
By downloading a free template online or creating one from scratch with the help of resources such as Google Docs, freelancers can make sure that they have everything laid out clearly before beginning work for their clients.
Having a well-defined agreement will ensure that both sides know exactly what's expected of them and protect against any potential disputes down the line.
9 Freelance Contract Template Essentials to Stay Safe and Get Paid on Time
Crafting a freelance statement of work is an essential part of any freelancing job, and it can protect you from being taken advantage of by your clients.
To stay safe and get paid on time, here are nine essentials that every freelancer should include in their freelance statement of work template.
In this section, you should give a brief overview of the SOW, including the project's purpose, objectives, and background information.
2. Project scope
The project scope outlines the expectations of both the freelancer and their client to ensure a successful working relationship. You should provide a detailed list of what tasks need to be completed. Project scopes can vary depending on the type of work involved, but all should include some broad strokes about what needs to be completed (along with specifics related to each individual task).
3. Timeline and expectations
As you set off on your collaborative journey, you’ll want to set clear and realistic expectations. Define the project milestones, outlining the specific deliverables and their anticipated completion dates. By aligning everyone's understanding of the timeline, you create a shared sense of purpose, helping to synchronize efforts and work towards a common goal.
Deliverables in a Statement of Work (SOW) template refer to the tangible or intangible outcomes that are expected to be produced or achieved as part of a project or engagement. Deliverables can take various forms, such as reports, software applications, design documents, prototypes, research findings, training materials, or any other tangible output that contributes to the project's objectives. These deliverables serve as specific targets or milestones that help define the scope and success criteria of the work.
4. Reporting frequency
The “reporting frequency” refers to the agreed-upon intervals at which progress updates or status reports will be shared between the involved parties. It specifies how often (and with which channels) you will communicate with the client or stakeholders to provide information on the project's status, milestones achieved, issues encountered, and any other relevant updates.
5. Intellectual property rights
Intellectual property rights can include inventions, designs, software code, trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, and any other intellectual creations. A statement of work (SOW) template typically outlines the specific terms and conditions related to the ownership, transfer, and protection of intellectual property rights. It clarifies whether the client, the service provider, or both parties will retain ownership of the created intellectual property and establishes any licensing or usage rights.
6. Budget, pricing, and payment schedule
Creating and managing a budget, pricing, and payment schedule for an original project is essential to ensure that all parties involved are on the same page. Not only do clear payment terms need to be laid out in your work templates but also details about any associated costs or non-fixed expenses should be included. Establishing clear and fair payment terms not only protects your interests as a service provider but also fosters a healthy client relationship.
7. Dispute resolution process
The dispute resolution process outlines a structured approach to resolving conflicts in a fair and efficient manner. If a resolution cannot be reached, it may detail the use of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration, where a neutral third party helps facilitate a resolution. This clause aims to provide a clear roadmap for resolving conflicts, minimizing disruptions to the project, and ensuring that disputes are handled in a professional and equitable manner.
8. Expected outcomes
This section outlines the specific goals, objectives, or deliverables that the client expects to be accomplished. Expected outcomes provide a clear and measurable description of what the project is intended to achieve, allowing both you and the client to align on what a successful project will look like.
9. Special terms and conditions
These terms address specific requirements, constraints, or considerations that are relevant to the project but don’t fall into any of the previous sections listed above. Special terms and conditions may include specific confidentiality agreements, non-compete clauses, regulatory compliance requirements, data protection obligations, indemnification clauses, or any other project-specific terms that need to be explicitly stated.
How to use electronic signatures on freelance contracts
When you send a contract to clients, you’ll want to give them an easy way for them to sign the document quickly. By using an electronic signature, freelancers and clients can quickly sign written agreements without having to physically print out documents or dealing with paperwork.
With the right signature tool, it's easy to attach handwritten signatures on work templates from any device without any hassle. This makes signing freelance contracts much more convenient for both you and your client as all they need is an internet connection!
Here are some common payment terms you can work into your freelance contract to suit your needs
Freelancers should always ensure that their freelance contracts include clear payment terms to protect themselves from any potential disputes down the line, including the payment timeline, deliverables, and more in their statement of works.
There are several common payment terms for freelancer contracts. Here are a few examples:
1. Hourly Rate: Freelancers often charge an hourly rate for their services. The client pays based on the number of hours worked, and the freelancer may provide timesheets or logs to track the time spent on the project.
2. Project-Based: In project-based payment terms, the freelancer and client agree upon a fixed fee for the entire project. The payment is typically divided into milestones or phases, with specific deliverables tied to each payment milestone.
3. Retainer: A retainer is a prearranged fee paid in advance to secure the freelancer's availability or services for a specific period. The client pays a predetermined amount on a recurring basis, such as monthly or quarterly, to retain the freelancer's services for a set amount of time.
4. Commission: Some freelancers, particularly in sales or marketing roles, may negotiate a commission-based payment structure. In this case, the freelancer receives a percentage of the revenue generated from their efforts or a commission for each sale they make.
5. Upfront Deposit: It is common for freelancers to request an upfront deposit or initial payment before starting work on a project. The deposit amount is typically a percentage of the total project fee and provides security to the freelancer while demonstrating the client's commitment to the project.
6. Recurring Billing: For ongoing or long-term engagements, freelancers may opt for recurring billing. They invoice the client on a regular basis, such as weekly or monthly, for the services provided during that period.
7. Net Payment Terms: Net payment terms specify the time frame within which the client is expected to make the payment after receiving an invoice. For example, "Net 30" means the client has 30 days from the invoice date to make the payment.
It's important for you to clearly define payment terms in your contracts to make sure both parties have a mutual understanding of how and when payments will be made.
What if I don't have a freelancer contract?
Not having a freelancer contract can have serious consequences, especially if you and a client don't agree on expectations for the scope of work, timeline, payment terms or any other aspect of the project. This can cause you to have to work on endless revisions, and worse, miss out on payments if a client refuses to pay an invoice.
A freelance contract creates legally binding expectations between you and your clients; without it, there are no industry standards or schedules which must be adhered to.
Taking time to craft an effective freelance statement of work template that outlines a clear understanding between both parties is key - so make sure not skimp out when creating yours!
How Can Indy Help?
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out in your freelance business, having a reliable and consistent document when onboarding new clients will make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them from the start date.
Indy has legally-vetted contract templates that make it easy for you to create and send contracts to clients in just minutes. Here’s how:
- Choose a template: Choose the contract template you need and fill in your business details. That’s it! The Contract Wizard automatically updates the entire contract in seconds.
- Digital Assistant: Want to revise a section of a contract? The Digital Assistant can automatically generate content for the most critical sections of a contract, giving you a first draft that you can easily revise to fit your needs.
- E-signatures: Electronic signatures make it easy for you and your client to sign a contract, so you can start projects faster.
With Indy, you can create rock-solid contracts in just minutes. Get started today for free!
Creating a freelance statement of work is crucial for freelancers to establish clear expectations and protect themselves from potential disputes with clients. A comprehensive statement of work template should cover the essential elements such as payment terms, timeline, deliverables, and more. By including these details, freelancers can ensure a successful working relationship with their clients, set positive expectations, and increase the likelihood of getting paid on time.
Ready to create a freelance contract? We recommend signing up for Indy. Our legally-vetted contract templates will help you create, send, and sign your next contract in just minutes.