All About Self Employment Contracts

Self employment contracts are so common, many freelancers hardly think about them – which can be a big mistake. The World Wide Web is full of websites offering freelancing opportunities, everything from content-writing to live chatting. In the main, these websites will require all potential employees to agree to an independent contractor agreement. The truth is, these agreements are so common, so standard and so full of text that many freelancers simply skim over them.

Independent Contractor Agreements

Independent contractor agreements protect both the client and the freelancer. Contracts are documents which, in the case of independent contract agreements, forge a legal partnership. The self employed professional agrees to provide certain services, the hiring company or client agrees to provide compensation for these services. It’s all very, very simple…until it’s not. There are some points in independent contractor agreements which should not be overlooked, finer points which must be thoroughly explored before the freelancer signs his or her name to the agreement.

  • Non-competition agreements. Some sites may include non-competition agreements in their freelance contracts. What does this mean? Certain website may provide very similar services as competitor websites. It may be part of the independent contractor agreement that freelancers may not work for these competitor websites – which may or may not be listed by name. Non-competition agreements can throw a serious wrinkle into any self employed professional’s work load.
  • Working outside the system. Websites which hire freelancers commonly provide an on-site system through which the work is conducted. Whether it’s a content system where articles are submitted, a log where hours and other working information is entered or live chat software through which consulting work is conducted, it’s very common for the site to provide an on-site system for freelancers to use. In some cases, independent contractors may be contractually bound to use this system. Sometimes, working outside the system in any way may not be allowed – an easy rule to break if freelancers aren’t aware it exists.
  • Productivity. Independent contractor agreements may require freelancers to put in a certain amount of work. For instance, the contract may require the professional to provide a set number of articles or work a required amount of hours per week or month. It’s important to fully understand these obligations before agreeing to them.

Self Employment Contracts

Don’t break a contract! It’s easy for certain points on an independent contractor agreement to get lost in the shuffle, particularly when freelancers commonly work for many companies and clients simultaneously. Don’t just read the fine print – read everything thoroughly, even if it seems like all the same stuff that’s been said before. It’s easy to follow a contract to the letter when the details of it are clearly understood…and even easier to break a contract when they aren’t.

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