Hiring a Freelancer - Image Magazine

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Hiring a Freelancer

Hiring a Freelancer

Our industry, and particularly SME’s operating across various endeavours, will periodically utilise the services of freelancers or contractors and for a range of purposes. Your business may not need permanent employees to perform those tasks or roles so outsourcing can be the way to go on an as needs basis. Here are some things to consider the next time you need to hire a freelancer.

Graphic design, website work, I.T, photography, and content creation, are just some of the tasks that can be successfully outsourced to a freelancer. Whatever the task and whether it’s for a single piece of work, a lengthier project, an outcome, or a short to medium term, the relationship should be given a secure footing that minimises the likelihood of later issues arising.

Engaging a freelancer should always be anchored by agreed terms in the form of a contract, the terms of which should be settled prior to commencement. The contract doesn’t have to be complicated or particularly lengthy; however, it should cover a number of items. I always recommend simplicity and clarity whenever and wherever possible. Template-style contracts are a good starting point, but they need to be appropriately customised for the particular engagement.

The contract should contain a number of required terms at the minimum. These include:

Clearly defining the parties to the agreement. Are you contracting the individual, their business, or some other entity? Is the freelancer entitled to contract out the work?

Defining the term of the engagement. This could include a set period of time or upon completion of an outcome relating to the work.

Detailing the services being provided by the freelancer. Consider attaching a schedule to the contract in which very clear work details are agreed upon. The last thing you want a freelancer to say later is ‘but you aren’t paying me for that!’.

Detailing the remuneration rate and on what basis it is paid. Remunerations could be progressive, upon completion of a project, upon invoice or other. If invoicing is expected, what payment terms will be agreed and applied, i.e., ‘14 days’, ‘end of month’ or similar.

Clarifying who owns any intellectual property created resulting from the work by the freelancer.  A freelancer is not an employee so it is recommended that any intellectual property created from the work is appropriately assigned.

Ensuring confidentiality is addressed. Depending upon the exact nature of the work being performed, there are important reasons for ensuring that any company information is kept confidential.

Consider inserting a communications clause in a contract to determine the planning and methods of communicating between you and the freelancer throughout the life of the agreement.

Including a termination or cancellation clause. Although it is important to attempt to resolve any issue, sometimes there is no other option but to terminate. Ordinarily, with a freelancer, that would be for substandard or non-performance of the work. 

Consider how you will handle a breach of contract should it occur. Are you open to attempting mediation prior to litigating? It is appropriate to refer to a specific state's applicable jurisdiction should a breach require Court involvement.

Most of the time, nothing goes wrong in such a relationship. Job is done, a freelancer is paid, happy days. However, if the meaning or intent of contractual terms is unclear, it can get messy. The last thing either party really wants to do is lawyer-up and litigate or defend when such an outcome could have been avoided from the outset.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice.


Written by Charles Watson

GM – IR, Policy and Governance

The Real Media Collective

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