For many people, hearing the phrase “contractor” conjures up images of shoddy roof work, late home construction, and irresponsible handling of many household tasks. But just because most people work with housing contractors doesn’t mean that all independent contractors are bad - heck, even the word “contractor” doesn’t just refer to construction and repair men. Instead, independent contractor agreements are ways of solidifying a deal with anyone you hire independently, whether it’s a freelance writer, a web designer, a journalist - whoever. These agreements can help shape the experience you have as well as the work that gets done.
That’s why it will be so important to understand independent contractor agreements not only on a bird’s-eye level, but understand what actually goes in them to make them legally-binding. So let’s take a closer view of independent contractor agreements and see what they typically consist of to ensure that the work you need to get done gets done - on time and on budget.
First, any contract of this type makes sure to define the two parties involved. Since many independent contract agreements can come from template forms, they’ll typically have places blanked so that individual details can be filled out. For example, when you write in your name in a contract, the contract will then say that you are to be referred to as the “Buyer” or “Hirer,” or some other such verbiage, throughout the remainder of the contract. It sounds like legalese, but it’s simply a great way to ensure that the contract can be printed, copied, and used in a variety of situations. (Note: not this specific contract, but rather the contract template.)
As you move on through the independent contractor agreement, you should notice a healthy amount of language dedicated to describing the job that is to be handled. In many cases, you’ll be able to fill in specific details like the hiring budget, the schedule of the project, and any other issues that need to be dealt with and defined. The more that is defined in this contract, the more ironclad the agreement will be.
There will also be extensive sections on the rights of each party, describing, for example, what happens to the independent contractor’s work after it’s completed. In many cases, the person hiring the contractor will be able to use that property as his or her own, although each contract is fully capable of making its own distinctions in this regard. These are typically issues that are negotiated as part of the agreement outside of the actual signing of the contract - but it’s always best to read through one of these contracts to make sure that everything they describe is as expected.
Hiring independent contractors can be a little scary for some, especially if you haven’t hired people before. That’s why having an independent contract agreement in writing can do a lot not only to make sure that the project is completed as it should be, but to give you peace of mind as the work is being finished.