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Profit share agreement - everything you need to know as a freelancer

Jun 25, 2023
(updated: Jun 24, 2023)
Max 5 min read

If you're a freelancer or someone considering entering into a profit sharing arrangement, it's crucial to understand the ins and outs of these agreements to protect your interests and ensure a successful venture. A profit sharing agreement is a legally binding contract between two or more parties that outlines the terms of how profits will be shared. These agreements are often used in joint ventures as well as when independent contractors are involved.

In this blog, we'll explore what a profit sharing agreement is, its benefits, the different types of profit sharing agreements, and how to structure them effectively. Let’s jump in so you can start creating one today!

What is a Profit Share Agreement?

A profit sharing agreement is a legally binding contract between two or more parties that outlines the terms of how profits will be shared. This entire agreement can help ensure success for both sides, as it defines what each party’s rights and responsibilities are in relation to the company's business. 

It can also protect freelancers by setting out clear guidelines on how their share of any profits will be determined. Knowing all the ins and outs of a profit sharing agreement is important for freelancers so they know what to expect should a venture become profitable.

Benefits of Having a Profit Share Agreement

Having a profit sharing agreement in place provides multiple benefits to all parties involved. The entire agreement sets out the terms of how profits will be shared, as well as setting out clear guidelines on what each party’s responsibilities are should a venture become successful. 

This ensures that everyone is aware upfront of their respective duties and any potential obligations they may owe one another. A profit sharing clause also gives freelancers greater security by determining their share of any future profits, so there’s no guesswork when it comes time to distribute the earnings. 

Additionally, having an agreed upon contract can give both sides legal protection and reassurance if any disputes arise.

Types of Profit Sharing Agreements

Profit sharing agreements can vary depending on the specific circumstances and goals of the parties involved. Here are some common types of profit sharing agreements:

Join Venture

In a joint venture, two or more parties collaborate to undertake a specific business project or venture. A profit sharing agreement is often utilized to allocate and distribute profits based on the agreed-upon terms and contributions of each party involved.

Mutual Mund

An investment vehicle that allows a group of individuals to pool their money and invest together. This type of agreement would typically involve setting up a trust or corporation in which all parties agree to share the profits.

Profit sharing plan

A profit sharing plan is another type of agreement where either one party or both may set aside funds for future growth opportunities and then distribute any gained profits between everyone involved. 

Standard contract agreement

In addition, it’s good to have a legal document such as a contract that can be used as well so that each side’s rights and responsibilities are clearly outlined in writing.

How to Structure Your Profit Share Agreements

When creating a profit sharing agreement, it's important to consider how profits will be shared and what retirement benefits, if any, are included. Additionally, you should include provisions in the agreement for handling third-party claims so that all potential issues are addressed ahead of time. These are the most critical sections to include:


Start the agreement by stating the effective date and the names and contact information of the parties involved, clearly identifying the client or company and the freelancer or freelancers.

Purpose and scope

Clearly state the purpose and objective of the profit sharing agreement, explaining the reasons for implementing the profit sharing arrangement.

After that, define the scope of the agreement, specifying the projects, services, or specific work to which the profit sharing applies.

Profit sharing mechanics

The mechanics of the agreement need to be cleary laid out. This includes:

Calculation Method: Describe the method or formula for calculating profits to be shared. Specify any deductions, expenses, or considerations that will be factored into the calculation.

Profit Allocation: Define the percentage or proportion of profits to be shared between the parties. This could be a fixed percentage, a tiered structure, or based on specific performance metrics.

Timing and Frequency: Specify the timing and frequency of profit sharing distributions. For example, monthly, quarterly, or annually, and the process for determining and distributing profits.

Conditions and Adjustments: Outline any conditions or adjustments that may affect the profit sharing arrangement, such as changes in business circumstances, termination of the agreement, or modification of profit sharing terms.

Responsibilities and obligations

Clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and contributions of each party involved in the profit sharing agreement, including the requirements for financial reporting, record-keeping, and any documentation needed to support profit calculations.

Dispute resolution

Specify the method for resolving disputes or disagreements that may arise regarding the profit sharing agreement, such as mediation or arbitration.

You should also determine the applicable jurisdiction and the governing law that will govern the interpretation and enforcement of the agreement.

Confidentiality and non-disclosure

Address the confidentiality and non-disclosure of sensitive information shared during the course of the profit sharing arrangement.

Then specify the ownership and protection of intellectual property rights related to the work or projects covered by the agreement.


Outline the conditions and procedures for terminating the profit sharing agreement, including notice periods and any applicable termination fees or penalties.


The miscellaneous section of the agreement is a catch-all that covers any clauses that don’t fit in the above categories. Some common clauses include:

Entire Agreement: State that the profit sharing agreement represents the entire understanding between the parties, superseding any previous agreements or understandings.

Amendments: Specify that any amendments to the agreement must be in writing and agreed upon by both parties.

Severability: Include a clause stating that if any provision of the agreement is deemed invalid or unenforceable, the remaining provisions shall remain in effect.

Successors and Assigns: Specify whether the agreement is binding on the parties' successors and assigns.


Finally, provide space for both parties to sign and date the agreement, indicating their acceptance and understanding of the terms and conditions.

Negotiating Your Profit Share Agreement

Negotiating a profit sharing agreement can be tricky, but it's important to ensure that all parties involved agree on the terms and any potential duties. It's also crucial to make sure that everyone is aware of their share of profits should the venture become successful. Consider using a third-party mediator if needed in order to help identify any areas of disagreement or misunderstanding regarding each party’s obligations. 

Additionally, emphasizing certain sale points such as how this agreement will benefit all parties can help get everyone on board with the terms and reach an agreement more quickly. 

Last but not least, you’ll want to build in provisions for handling third-party claims so that these are addressed ahead of time before signing off on the final document.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Profit Share Agreement

When it comes to profit sharing agreements, there are certain common pitfalls that freelancers should be aware of. By avoiding these potential issues upfront, you can help protect yourself and guarantee success for everyone involved in the profit sharing arrangement.

Legal compliance

Both parties involved in the profit sharing agreement shall adhere to all applicable laws, regulations, and statutory requirements at the local, regional, and national levels. This includes but is not limited to tax laws, employment laws, intellectual property laws, competition laws, and any other relevant legal frameworks.

Ambiguous or vague language

Using unclear or ambiguous language in the agreement can lead to misunderstandings and disputes. It’s essential to define the key terms and provisions clearly and precisely.


Maintain consistency throughout the agreement; if any changes are made after signing off on a final document, make sure that both sides agree upon them and that they are clearly outlined in writing.

Tax Implications of a Profit Share Agreement for Freelancers

When it comes to the tax implications of a profit sharing agreement, freelancers need to be aware of their obligations. As an independent contractor, you are responsible for managing your own taxes and ensuring that you pay the appropriate amounts in accordance with applicable law. 

Profit sharing agreements generally involve withholding certain taxes from any profits dispersed which must then be reported on both state and federal returns. Depending on the type of agreement used (such as a mutual fund or a profit sharing plan), additional tax considerations may apply, so it's important to research potential rules and regulations before moving forward. 

Ultimately, understanding how taxes will affect your finances is critical when negotiating a profit share agreement so that all parties involved can reap its rewards without any unwanted surprises down the line.

How Can Indy Help?

While Indy doesn’t have a ready-made profitsharing agreement template, the Contracts tool makes it easy to create one. 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!

Final Thoughts on Creating an Effective Profitshare Agreement as a Freelancer

Having a clear and well-written profit sharing agreement in place is important for freelancers, as it sets out the terms of how profits will be shared, ensures everyone is aware of their respective duties, and provides greater security by determining each party's share of any future profits. When creating an effective profit sharing agreement, it's important to consider key factors such as retirement benefits, tax implications for both parties involved, and other provisions that may be included in the document. 

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.

Get started today!

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