A freelancer contract is a type of commercial contract where an individual or business entity offers services to another individual or entity.
In this article, I will break down the Freelancer Contract in Quebec so you know all there is to know about it!
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What Is A Freelancer Contract
A freelancer contract is a type of commercial contract where a person or entity offers services to another person or entity related to any type of service.
Typically, the freelancer, the party offering the service, is a self-employed individual providing different types of services to businesses.
For example, a freelancer can provide translation services, web design services, software development services, advisory services, or any other service to his or her client.
The freelancer contract outlines the nature of the freelancer’s work along with the service fees and any other important terms and conditions required by the parties.
For instance, a freelancer may charge $2,000 to design a website for a small business.
The freelancer contract will therefore outline the nature of the website development services, the timelines, the applicable fees, project acceptance terms, and so on.
In business, freelancer contracts are quite common.
Freelancer Contract Pros And Cons
There are several key benefits to entering into a freelancer contract.
The most important advantage for the client is that it can decide with which freelancer to work with and on what terms.
The freelancer contract is highly flexible and could be customized in virtually any way suitable to the parties.
Typically, clients tend to hire freelancers that are highly skilled in a particular area or have a unique skill set that they cannot easily find.
Another benefit for the client is that it is not responsible for the manner the freelancer executes the work.
The client pays a certain fee and the freelancer will have to deliver based on the requirements in the contract.
Freelancers find this type of commercial engagement beneficial as well as they can potentially monetize their skills better than as an employees, they can choose with which clients to work with, and they are essentially their own boss.
On the flip side, freelancer contracts may not be ideal for individuals who are looking to have a stable working relationship like employees.
Freelancers must constantly find new clients and sell their services to earn revenue.
They are not salaried employees that can rely on a continual stream of income paid in the form of a salary.
Also, clients that use freelancers very often without properly distinguishing between who is a freelancer and who is a client may end up with hefty fines and liability for employee misclassification.
Freelancer Contract Elements
A freelancer contract will typically have certain key elements, such as:
- The scope of the services
- The freelancer’s fees
- The ownership of the work
- The contractual term
The scope of the services refers to the nature of the work required by the client.
For example, if the client engages a freelancer to translate a document, the scope of the translation service should be defined.
The freelancer’s fees refer to the amount the client will have to pay for the service.
A freelancer can price the contract in different ways, such as a fixed-price contract, time and material contract, cost-plus pricing, hourly rate, or others.
Another key element of the freelancer contract is with regard to the ownership of the work product or deliverables.
Typically, the client will require to have title and ownership of the end product or work.
However, in some cases, the freelancer may also require certain rights on the work product.
This aspect should be properly negotiated in a freelancer contract.
Freelancer contracts will also provide for the duration of the services (or the contract term).
If the service is a one-time gig, a one-year contract, or a more long-term engagement, the contract should be clear about the term.
Keep in mind that the parties can include any clauses or provisions they consider important in the contract.
Freelancer Worker Misclassification
Freelancers are technically considered to be self-employed individuals.
In other words, they are their own boss and do not work for anyone but themselves.
In employment matters, it’s important to keep in mind that employers have the right to enter into commercial engagements with freelancers for a particular project or service.
Hiring freelancers can bring important benefits to employers as it allows them to find a person with the exact skillset to perform a certain task or handle a project, the freelancer contract is highly flexible, and it is not responsible for the freelancer as it is for its employees.
By definition, a freelancer is a person that:
- Manages its own work
- Establishes its own work schedule
- Uses its own materials and equipment for the job
- Takes a certain level of commercial risk
- Earns the profits but is also responsible for business losses
However, in some cases, it’s possible that a person signs a freelancer contract with a company but in reality acts as the company’s employee.
In other words, the freelancer:
- Follows the company’s work schedule
- Is given equipment and work material by the company
- Participates in internal company meetings reserved for employees
- Does not take any commercial risk
- Earns a regular fee for the services performed
The Quebec authorities will consider that there may be a case of employee misclassification.
In the event of misclassification of an employee as a freelancer, the company will be considered as a deemed employer and will be subject to pay the necessary deductions at sources that were not withheld, pay fines, penalties, and interest.
The cost can be quite high for a company misclassifying individuals as freelancers instead of employees.
So there you have it folks!
What is a freelancer contract?
In a nutshell, a freelancer contract is a commercial agreement between a service provider (the freelancer) and a client where the freelancer is hired for a specific project.
Typically, freelance contracts are agreed upon on a project-to-project basis and are relatively short in duration.
A freelancer will work with multiple clients at the same time and a self-employed individual.
Freelancer contracts are very common in Quebec where businesses of all sizes use them to obtain specific services.
If you’re looking to enter into a freelancer contract or want one drafted or negotiated for you, it’s best that you consult a qualified business attorney in Quebec.
AK-Law is a boutique law firm having a core focus on all facets of the business. We support businesses of all sizes in their day-to-day as well as strategic legal needs. If you want to know more about our firm, better understand what we do, or get a quote, be sure to reach out!
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