One of the great advantages of tech contracting is that you’ll get heaps of variety in your work, as you’ll often be starting a new job every few months. This means signing a lot of employment contracts, so it’s important you know exactly what to watch out for in these to ensure you’re treated fairly in each position you undertake. Here’s what to check for in every tech contracting agreement you sign:
1) Scope of work
This is the most important section of the contract as it details exactly what the project
you’ll be working on is. You want this section to be as detailed as possible. It can’t just be “the contractor will undertake software design services for the client.” Instead, it needs to include:
- The specific objectives of the project, deliverables and the solution required.
- Any applications the client wants the contractor to use.
- Exactly how the solution will interface with other technologies the company is using.
The scope of work section should also encompass an estimate of length of contract, including a timeline for project milestones, with details as to what each milestone actually involves.
What you don’t want to include is specifications on how the work will be done. As an independent contractor you have control over how you carry out the work, just as long as you deliver the end result.
The scope of work should include broad estimates for the project milestones and the dates they should be delivered.
2) Changes and termination
The scope of work may need to change at some point during the project. You shouldn’t just let your client have unlimited revisions, as it may mean scrapping all the work you’ve been doing for the last few months. Instead, it’s common procedure to give them one free revision, and charge for any others. Revisions that are completely outside the scope of work should be negotiated separately.
It’s also important to include provisions for termination of the contract and provide a minimum notice period (usually 30 days) as well as a kill fee if you’re being paid a set fee rather than an hourly rate.
3) Payment and expenses
This is another one you need to be specific with. You can either be paid by the hour or have a set fee for the whole project. You’ll normally want to be paid in instalments for the latter, so ensure you specify exactly when you will be paid and how much. With Talent Engage you can easily submit timesheets from anywhere for your client’s approval, making receiving pay easy.
Contractors are usually responsible for paying for their own expenses, but if you anticipate abnormal spending, factor this into the contract to avoid forking out too much on travel or equipment.