What should be covered in a freelance contract?
Anything and everything, including the kitchen sink. The contract between you and your freelancer should cover everything from the number of revisions allowed to the level of confidentiality you require. Payment terms, an outline of the work involved, deadlines, specific criteria - make sure the contract holds it all before signing it. If there is something missing, revise it and send it back to the freelancer with a note on what you have revised.
How do I know if I have the right freelancer?
During the interview, ask the same questions you would ask an employee. Ask them how they would deal with certain situations that may arise. How do they prefer to do business? Do they work well with others, or do they prefer to work alone? These kinds of questions can help you decide.
In addition, remember that a good freelancer will also ask you questions. Those who assume they understand what you want from the start have a 50/50 chance of getting the project done like you want it. The more in depth the project, the more they should know about your company, and a good freelancer will understand that.
How can I protect myself from bad deliverables?
Quite simply, you must research - just as you would with an employee. Look at their portfolios and feedback; see what they've done before and how others felt about it. Go through the interviewing process with your potential freelancer. Finally, most freelance sites offer escrow services. Especially if you've never hired the freelancer before, use the escrow services!
What kind of copyright do I need?
First rights means you will be the first to use the deliverables and for a specific period of time. Once that time span is over, others will be able to use it. You won't be able to change anything in the deliverables; they have to be used as is.
Work for hire, which most freelance contracts stipulate, means that, as soon as you accept and pay for the deliverables, they're yours. You can change them, sell them and use them anywhere. You own full rights to the completed project.
First rights cost less - because you're getting less - but most of the time, you'll want the freelance contract to state the deliverables are "work for hire".
What is a kill fee, and do I have to agree to it?
A "kill fee" is a set amount that you agree to pay if you decide to stop the project. Generally, this applies to writing, though it can be used with any project. Generally, the kill fee is a percentage of the overall agreed upon price. While you don't have to agree to it, some freelancers may not work with you if you won't approve a kill fee. Many consider it a way of guaranteeing that you won't change your mind on wanting the project done.
Hiring a freelancer could be one of the best decisions you make for your company, but you have to know the FAQs. Just these few above can make all the difference between getting a project finished, and getting it finished right!
Copyright 2009 - 2010 YesFreelance - Article may be reproduced, in its entirety, as long as copyright, resource box and links are retained. J.R. Pittman is a freelance writer, hired by YesFreelance, for YesFreelance, and has several years' experience as both a freelancer and a business owner hiring freelancers. YesFreelance offers business owners a platform for hiring skilled freelancers on a project-by-project basis. Hire a freelancer; pay safely through YesFreelance escrow.