Negotiating a freelance agreement can be a difficult thing for both parties. Typically, the negotiation involves a lot of mundane details that take a while to figure out. Everybody just wants to get started on the work and get the new project underway. However, there are a couple things that both companies and freelancers need to keep in mind when starting a new project and developing a new relationship. By paying careful attention to these aspects, both parties can assure that a freelancing agreement goes smoothly.
Both parties (companies and freelancers) should find it necessary to sign a contract. A contract is the easiest way to ensure that both parties agree and will get what they want out of the agreement. Developing a contract will help to outline payment, deadlines, and deliverables. If an aspect of a project is discussed, put it in the contract. Do not just rely on a verbal agreement. If you’re unsure how to draw up a contract, there are many examples of blank ones online. Feel free to use those and personalize to fit the situation.
2. Payment Agreements
A payment agreement should be outlined in the contract, but it’s also important to note that different kinds of payment agreements suit different situations more appropriately. Sometimes, it makes sense for a freelancer to be paid hourly. Other times, a down payment with additional payment installations will suit both parties better. Be honest and open in your communication about payment to best suit both parties. Typically, one payment agreement to avoid is where the freelancer gets the full payment after the project has been completed, especially if it is a long project. It’s generally more appropriate to make a small down payment as a sign of good faith.
Clear and succinct communication is important to any freelancing/company agreement. Both parties are likely very busy and want to get their message across in the shortest and most effective way possible. Because of this, it’s important to outline clear communication guidelines from the get-go. Discuss what methods of communication both parties prefer. Is email acceptable for most cases, but a phone call is more appropriate for an emergency? Does either party dislike being contacted after normal business hours? Does either party prefer a project management software to communicate and review deliverables? These things should be considered when going over the contract so you can set the stage for the rest of the project.
Paying taxes as a freelancer can sometimes be difficult. Companies are typically not obligated to take taxes out of your paycheck, so you are responsible for keeping track of and paying your own taxes. Most freelancers prefer to use software or a personal accountant to pay their estimated taxes quarterly so they are not hit with a big tax bill once per year. For companies, it is important to know if the person you are hiring for a project counts as a contractor or freelancer. For a freelancer, you typically don’t have to take out taxes, but you do for a contractor. Consult your company’s HR department and be sure you have all your ducks in a row before moving forward with a contractual agreement. Nobody likes feeding with the tax man!
5. Developing a Relationship
In the freelancing world, it’s very common for a freelancer and a company to cultivate a great working relationship. This way, communications and expectations stay consistent throughout projects. Cultivating this relationship takes time and effort from both parties. If a freelancer has enjoyed working for a company, he/she should mention that they would love to complete more projects for them in the future. If a company enjoys working with a certain freelancer, they should keep a file on them and next time a related project comes up, contact that freelancer to see if they are available. This way, both the company and the freelancer can work with people they enjoy and have a great experience.
When arranging a new freelancing agreement, it’s important for both companies and freelancers to pay close attention during the negotiating process. This is the best way to ensure that everyone gets what they want out of a project. Contracts, payment agreements, communication, and taxes are aspects of a freelancing agreement that both parties should consider carefully so that everyone is happy and a positive working relationship can blossom in the future.