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5 Tools for creating & managing freelance contracts

freelance contracts
Table of ContentsUpdated May 19, 2016

Note: This article contains legal advice. We recommend you consult a lawyer before making legal decisions in your business.

We talk a lot about freelance contracts at Millo, because it’s a vital part of your success as a freelancer.

Depending on where you live, a handshake or even an email may not be enough to settle payment disputes, copyright issues and other legal matters that can be hard for us freelancers to wrap our brains around.

I recently posted a question about freelance contracts on the Millo Mastermind group because I too struggle with when and how to introduce a freelance contract to a new client.

Every single comment suggested a different contract tool. After doing a little digging, it became obvious that everyone, freelancer or not, struggles with these same issues when it comes to freelance contracts.

The important things that came out during my investigation were this:

  • there are really good free and paid tools available for managing freelance contracts
  • no matter which tool you use, you will probably want a lawyer to review the contract
  • not all tools are created equal, and choosing which tool to use is not as important as the fact that you need to have a contract

So let’s take a look at some of tools available to help you with your freelance contracts.

Moxie (formerly Hectic)

If you’re a freelancer looking for a streamlined and efficient way to manage your business, you should definitely check out Moxie. Their platform is designed specifically for freelancers and offers a range of features that will help you work smarter, not harder.

One of Moxie’s standout features is its invoicing tool. With easy integration with Stripe, you can create modern and professional invoices in just minutes. Moxie’s built-in time-tracking tool also makes it easy to log your time and itemize it for your clients, so you can ensure that you’re getting paid for every minute you work.

Not only that, you can set up recurring invoices, send automatic reminders and late fees, and even customize your payment terms to suit your needs.

And with Moxie’s mobile app, you can invoice on-the-go and get paid with ease, no matter where you are.

To learn more about Moxie and how it can help you streamline your freelance business, check out our full review here.

Any Word Processor

You can download a free contract template and edit the language to suit your own needs. Once you are satisfied, don’t stop there. Contact a lawyer and have them review it. This is probably the easiest option, because everyone who uses a computer has a free copy of document editing software.

Once the freelance contract has the blessing of a legal professional, you can create a PDF and use the digital signature tools built-in to Adobe Acrobat to email a signed copy to your client.

But unlike the other tools we will discuss, this is very inconvenient for your client. They may just print it out, sign it and send it back.

Bonsai

Bonsai is a free contract program that is created for freelancers. They also have integrated payment options, which makes it convenient for you to handle payments as well.

For more, make sure to take a look at our in-depth review of the Hello Bonsai App for freelancers.

Shake Law

Shake Law lets you send simple freelance contracts for free. It may be a great option for those of you who are just starting out or doing a low volume of business. The FAQ page of Shake states it works well for freelance contracts, but not for complex or high-end transactions.

If you are starting an agency or planning to grow your business into a mega-corporation, this may not be the right tool for you.

Hello Sign

Hello Sign is free for up to three freelance contracts a month. Similar to Bonsai, they offer a very straightforward pricing plan. It integrates with Google Drive so you can create, send and store your documents easily.

They have an API available that lets you integrate with other applications, but this is not included in the simple pricing they claim to offer. And they don’t offer payment acceptance.

Bidsketch

Bidsketch is an online proposal software created by two software developers. In integrates with Zapier, Basecamp, and a long list of popular project management and accounting programs.

You can choose between three levels of pricing: agency, studio or freelancer. All plans allow hosting on your own domain. You also get team management and collaboration options that work well for remote teams. This way your designer and copywriter can update the proposal at the same time and everything stays updated.

How do you manage your freelance contracts?

No matter which tool you choose to use, don’t forget that the single most important part of having a contract is to protect both you and your client. Whether you choose to use a word processor or something more sophisticated, don’t forget to seek legal help and be consistent about enforcing your agreements.

Have a favorite tool that wasn’t mentioned here?  We would love to hear about it in the comments!

2 Disclaimers: This is not legal advice. If you have further questions about how to write a contract or what should be in it, please consult a legal professional. We also were not paid to promote any companies mentioned in this article.

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Written by Sharon McElwee

Staff at Millo.co

Sharon McElwee is a copywriter and freelance business coach dedicated to help people get better at making real money doing what they love. Check out her free e-course to earn an extra $1000 in the next 30 days.

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Reviewed & edited by Bilal Ibrar, Editor at Millo.

At Millo, we strive to publish only the best, most trustworthy and reliable content for freelancers. You can learn more by reviewing our editorial policy.

  1. I am also freelance designer ….It good guide for me…

    1. Sharon McElwee says:

      Glad we can help you neha…

  2. Laura Lee Moreau says:

    Great article Sharon! I tried a few times to use Bonsai, and every time I forgot it wasn’t available to my province (Quebec) in Canada! What a shame!

    Would anyone know a platform for contracts online that’s available in Quebec?

    1. Sharon McElwee says:

      It looks like Hello Sign is available in Europe, so it may work in Canada too. Check https://www.hellosign.com/info/legal for more info. Thanks 🙂