Finding a freelance writing contract

Contract photo

I’ve been having a good week. It seems like I may soon be doing some freelance writing for two clients at a decent wage. While I have a good amount of trust in them, some bad past experience is encouraging me to take some legal precautions.

I have no power

Last year, I did a couple of days of freelance writing for a client who didn’t use my work. However, they said they would pay me for the hours I put in, so I sent them an invoice. Then I sent it again. And another time.

I called, left messages and sent emails, but I never got a response. And I never got paid. Maybe If I chased them up more, I would have gotten hold of them eventually.

But I realised I didn’t have any official document that said they owe me money. I never got them to sign anything. All I had was what they told me over the phone or in emails. 

A jargon-free contract

With this experience freshly recalled, I decided I should have some sort of contract which my clients and I can sign. Something that explains what work has to be done and what happens in case anything gets spoiled.

I searched online for freelance writing contracts. One of the first links I found was for a plain English copywriting contract, put together and declared free to use by the copywriter Jon McGarvey.

Jon explains that he didn’t have any official documents for his clients to sign when he began working as a freelancer, and he was inspired to write a contract without the corporate-talk these normally use.

This definitely shows in his contract, and I love this particular sentence on deadlines: ‘I also can’t be responsible for deadlines missed due to circumstances completely beyond my control, like family emergencies, floods, war, acts of god and so on.’

Credit is due 

Thank you, Jon. Your copywriting contract is brilliant, and I will keep it in mind for my own work.


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