6 Things To Include In Your Independent Contractor Agreements
In a recent blog post, I shared my love for outsourcing in my business and gave some honest insights about how when I first started The Boutique Lawyer, I *thought* I could do it all on my own.
But I quickly realized that in order for this business to really grow and thrive – and for me to continue living my normal life outside of work – hiring help wasn’t just a want, but truly a need.
Without my team of independent contractors, I wouldn’t be able to live in my zone of genius, work on projects that will grow the business even more, be the visionary that I want to be or serve my clients to the best of my ability.
With my team of contractors that I’ve very strategically hired throughout different seasons of my business, I’m able to do ALL of those things, while also being a mom to four kiddos, a dog mom, wife, and friend to those around me.
Now, I know that outsourcing can feel scary especially if you’ve never handed anything off in your business before, so if you aren’t sure where to start, read this blog post first and then come back here for the legal talk!
In this blog specifically, I’m diving into 6 things to include in your independent contractor agreements, so that you can outsource with full confidence and know that your business is being protected along the way.
6 Things To Include In Independent Contractor Agreements To Protect Your Business and Outsource With Confidence
When you decide to outsource in your business, you want to make sure that you’re protecting yourself and the person you’re hiring through properly structured legal contracts.
With that in mind, here’s a few things you always want to include:
- Clearly Defined Scope of Work
A well-crafted contract spells out the exact tasks, deliverables and responsibilities of the independent contractor, which ensures that everyone is aligned on what is expected.
When you have this defined, you’re able to minimize misunderstandings, avoid scope creep and keep all of your boundaries intact!
- Payment Terms
In addition to the scope of work details, the contract should also outline how much will be paid, when the payments are due and under what conditions.
This section of your contract provides a clear financial roadmap for both parties, reducing the chances of payment disputes.
- Project Timeline
Another important detail to include in your agreements with independent contractors are the specificities of the timeline of the project, if you are working on a project basis.
In this case, this will typically include a start and end date, as well as any important project milestones. These details will help with planning and ensure that time-sensitive tasks are completed as expected.
If you plan to be working with a contractor for an extended period of time with no designated end date, you want to make sure you include any information about how either party can exit the agreement if needed and how that needs to be navigated.
- Quality Assurance
One of the reasons that outsourcing can feel scary as a business owner is because you want to know that the work being done is being done well and it can often feel like you are the only one capable of that.
If you can relate to feeling that way, I want to first encourage you to trust that there are professionals out there who can do certain work wayyyyy better than you can!
And no, that’s not a knock on your skills. Just like you have expertise in your field, so do they, so trust that!
But also know that your contract can specify quality standards or project milestones that must be met for payment to be released.
This provides an avenue for you to hold the contractor accountable for the quality of work and make sure that it meets your standards before ever being presented to your audience!
This alone can give you a TON of peace of mind when it comes to outsourcing in your business.
- Intellectual Property Rights
This part of your contract is especially important for creative or technical tasks that someone will be doing for you, such as content creation, video editing, etc.
The contract should always stipulate who owns the finished work and any intellectual property generated. This clause can prevent future disputes over ownership and usage rights.
- Confidentiality and Data Protection
In today's digital age, protecting sensitive data is critical and it’s important to be even extra cautious when hiring someone that you will potentially have to share confidential information with, such as passwords or other personal information regarding your business.
To protect yourself and your business, always make sure that your contract includes a clause that binds the contractor to maintain confidentiality and comply with data protection laws!
How To Implement Independent Contractor Agreements In Your Business
Overall, investing the time and effort into creating a properly structured contract is a form of risk management that can save you from future headaches, legal complications and financial losses when it comes to working with independent contractors in your business.
While outsourcing is designed to be a great thing, there are definitely some horror stories out there and that’s the very thing that I want you to avoid!
If you’re planning to outsource, make sure you have a contract in place with all of these things included and if you’re already working with independent contractors and don't already have a legally binding contract in place, make sure you take the time to create one to protect all involved!
To make things easy for you, I’ve created a fill in the blank contract specifically designed for independent contractors that you can use in your business just in case you don’t want to piece one together yourself.
This customizable agreement template ensures both parties are on the same page about important terms, conditions and expectations by covering all of the essential aspects of the relationship!
With this contract in place, you can outsource confidently and trust that your business is legally backed along the way. 👏🏼
P.S. Are you an independent contractor looking for a client agreement to also protect YOUR business? This one's for you!