Web technologist in Auckland, New Zealand.
I enjoy being a Dad, snowboarding and building amazing user experiences on the internet. more
Most people who have worked as freelancers for a while will have a story about a client who never paid. Often freelancers just do not have the time to think about getting a lawyer or writing a contract. Indeed the costs of getting a lawyer involved usually outweigh the risks for most freelancer engagements.
However many times, all the freelancer needs is that the client understands how they roll: the terms of how they engage. To avoid getting burned, I require my clients to either prepay the hours or sign my terms of engagement.
My terms of engagement template is written in plain clear English, with little/no room for ambiguity or misunderstanding, and without the legal jargon that makes legal agreements harder to understand.
The template is intended for freelance software developers and small companies. But they might also be useful, with some edits, for freelancers of other skills and industries, such as designers, architects, musicians, project managers, artists, even tradesman perhaps.
Feel free to copy, edit, use, distribute and share the template!