There should be a written contract that legally binds independent contractors or freelancers, and the people or companies that hire them. Even though it is not always legally required under Florida contract law, signing a written independent contractor agreement provides the most legal protection for both parties involved. This ensures that if any contract disputes arise, Miami contract lawyers will have a strong foundation to build a case. Read on to better understand what an independent contractor agreement is and its purpose.
Independent Contractors Versus Employees
To understand what an independent contractor agreement should entail, one must first know the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. Also known as freelancers, independent contractors are individuals or companies whose services are being paid for by the hiring company. Independent contractors are part of a separate business, they are not employees of the company that hired them. Therefore, an employment contract cannot be used.
There are some significant differences between independent contractors and employees. First, the hiring company does not have to provide them with employee benefits. Second, they have more autonomy. The hiring company can dictate the final product of the project, but they have little control over how the project is completed, that power is with the independent contractors. These unique characteristics must be specified in the independent contractor agreement.
Elements of an Independent Contractor Agreement
- Description — Define the specifics of the project like who will be involved, where it will take place, and when will it be conducted. Describe the services the independent contractor will provide. List what both, the independent contractor and hiring company, expect from each other during the completion of the project.
- Scope and Timeline — Explain the extent of the project including its deliverables and number of allowed revisions. Describe expected timeline, including scheduled completion date and any other deadlines.
- Payment Terms — Explicitly state the payment amount the hiring company owes to the independent contractor. Also, specify the payment method and structure they must use, including conditions on due dates, upfront payments, and cancellation fees (or kill fees).
- Ownership — Specify who will have ownership over the final product after the project is completed, the independent contractor or hiring company. If the independent contractor retains ownership, licensing terms must be outlined.
Every independent contractor agreement should, at the very least, incorporate the basic elements listed above. To draft a contract that not only provides strong legal protections, but also addresses the unique considerations of a specific project, consult with Miami contract lawyers. These Florida contract law professionals can also help if any contract disputes arise.
If you or your business is in need of an independent contractor agreement or legal representation, call Graham Legal for a free consultation.