Writing the Small Print – How to Construct a Contract

Whether you’re a freelancer or someone hiring one, contracts are really important. It’s a guarantee on both sides that you’ll hold up your end of the bargain, and neither of you will end up feeling scammed! Writing one can be tricky though – so we’ve broken it down for you.

1. Basic Contact Details

This obviously couldn’t be simpler, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget when you’re working through the finer details of the contract. So start the document with this info.

2. Project details and scope

This is where you spell out the freelancer’s obligations:

  • What is the aim of the project?
  • What exactly needs doing?
  • What are the main deliverables?
  • Make sure you include any stipulations about alterations. How many edits does the freelancer include in the basic cost?

Make sure everything’s worded as unambiguously as possible – having a contract that’s wide open to as many interpretations as Donnie Darko is a nightmare for everyone!

3. Deadlines

Decide on a time frame and define it clearly in the contract. When does the work start and end? If there are milestone deadlines too (for instance, a date for a first draft) make sure they’re stated here.

Image of a contract.

4. Payments

  • How much, when and how?
  • Is it an hourly rate or a lump sum?
  • Will it be payable in stages?
  • Is there a deposit?

Whatever you’re doing, put it in writing!

5. Expenses

If you’re expecting your freelancer to come in every other day to update you, you can’t expect it for free. Be prepared to pay things like travel expenses and again, write it down!

6. Copyright Terms

For creative work, it’s important to consider copyright. The freelancer will own the work until the contract is finished and they’ve been paid, at which point the copyright should pass into the hands of the buyer. This is obviously essential for work like company logos.

7. Responsibilities of both parties

Put everything in here that isn’t covered in the other parts of the contract – for example who should the freelancer to report to? How many review meetings will you have during the project?

You should also set out the details of the working relationship. When hiring a freelancer, it’s important to specify that they’re not an employee.

8. Signatures

Have two copies of the contract, and sign both. If you can, it’s good to get a witness’s signature too.

To help you out, we’ve made a freelance contract template you can download right here on the blog. 





Becca is the Marketing Executive at Twine. She loves literature, music, film and make-up. She spends a lot of time complaining about the mismatched angles of her winged eyeliner and stalking drag queens on Instagram. Otherwise, she’s helping Joe by writing blog posts and keeping Twine’s social media running.