Contracts are key if you plan to make a living as a freelance writer. However, it can be hard to enforce a contract if there’s no record of both parties agreeing to it, which is where online signature services come in.
The goal behind online signatures is to get a record that there’s a contract in place both parties agreed to. Should you ever need to take legal action to protect your work or to collect payment (which you hopefully won’t!), proof can be a lifesaver.
In this article, we’re going to talk a bit more about how online signatures can help you protect your freelance work. Then I’ll introduce you to three services you can use to sign freelance contracts online. Let’s get to it!
How Online Signatures Can Protect Your Freelance Business
In the past, we’ve talked a lot about the importance of freelance work contracts. When you’re using freelance platforms such as Upwork, for example, you don’t need to procure your own contracts. However, once you take the next step (through services such as Paid to Blog Jobs), which is contacting clients directly, contracts become a necessity.
If you’re new to freelance work, here’s a quick rundown of why having a contract in place is so important:
- It outlines your duties. At some point, you may run into clients that want to get additional work from you without paying for it. Having a signed contract can help you in these cases since you both agreed to specific deliverables.
- It protects you in case of disputes. If you’re unlucky, you may run into clients who refuse to pay. In these cases, having a contract signed by both parties can provide you with the ammunition you need for legal recourse.
The larger the projects you work on, the more important having a contract in place becomes. In a couple of cases, I’ve had to eat losses from clients that ordered one or two articles due to disagreements. However, when the needle moves from hundreds to thousands of dollars, that becomes less and less acceptable.
Having to go through legal means to recoup your losses is a worst-case scenario. However, as a freelance writer, you need to be ready for it. Plus, having a freelance contract in place will make you look more professional, so clients may take you more seriously.
If you’ve never drafted a contract before, don’t worry. There are a lot of great templates you can use, so you don’t need to hire a lawyer to do it for you. However, you will need to make a few adjustments to every contract depending on your workload.
Once your contract is ready, the next – and most important – step is to get it signed, which is where the next section comes in.
3 Services to Help You Sign Remote Work Contracts
Getting a signature on an agreement is the easy part. In fact, a simple email can suffice in a lot of cases as evidence. However, if you want to cover your bases, you’ll want to take a look at these services.
On top of enabling you to keep a record of all your freelance contracts, these services also track when someone reads and signs them, which is invaluable. Let’s take a look!
DocuSign enables you to upload, send, and otherwise manage all your contracts. However, where the platform shines is when it comes to record-keeping. I’ve personally used it to sign multiple contracts, and I can vouch for its ease of use.
Out of the box, DocuSign supports multiple file types, it integrates with other platforms, and it even enables you to process payments through its platform. If you want to get an additional layer of security for your payments, this platform can be a fantastic option.
- Upload multiple contracts using almost any file format you want.
- Track when someone checks out or signs your contracts.
- Enable clients to sign contracts from any type of device.
- Process client payments directly.
Price: DocuSign offers a 30-day free trial and paid plans start at $10 per month for a single user.
HelloSign is fairly unique when it comes to online-contract services in that it enables you to personalize your signing experience. With this platform, you can design contract templates and then have clients fill out forms to personalize those automatically.
That feature alone can save you a lot of time. However, it’s important you understand that you’ll still need to personalize each contract depending on the workload you agreed to.
Putting that aside, HelloSign offers one of the sleekest interfaces in the business when it comes to collecting signatures. Plus, the platform provides you with a lot of options to brand your contracts, which can make them look even more professional.
- Design contract templates and use forms to fill out client information.
- Add branding to your contracts.
Price: HelloSign’s free tier enables you to send three contracts per month, and premium plans start at $13 per month.
As with the other online signatures platforms I’ve introduced you to, EverSign also enables you to send and manage contracts and signatures. However, this particular platform shines when it comes to third-party integrations.
Just to give you an example, EverSign can connect to your Dropbox, Google Docs, and Gmail accounts. That means you can upload files from anywhere you want and keep multiple copies of them. Plus, the platform does a fantastic job when it comes to storing client data. That means if you want to sign new contracts with repeat clients, the process can be as simple as pulling their information and modifying a template to reflect your new workload.
Personally, I prefer working with repeat clients so I don’t have to spend as much time hunting for new business. The hunt is part of freelancing, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate the fact that EverSign makes it easier to reward customer loyalty, so to speak.
- Design or upload new contracts.
- Integrate your EverSign dashboard with multiple third-party platforms.
- Store all relevant customer information.
Pricing: EverSign’s free plan enables you to sign up to five documents per month, and premium plans start at $9.99 (alright, ten) per month.
If you decide to go into freelance writing full time, you will run into problematic clients at some point. Freelance work contracts are a necessity in these (and all) cases since they can help protect your work and provide proof there was an agreement in place. Once you have a contract ready to go, you’ll also need a signature.
There are several online services you can use to help you get those signatures, such as:
- DocuSign: A great all-around platform if you want to keep track of when customers check out and sign documents.
- HelloSign: Perfect if you want to add branding to your contracts.
- EverSign: This platform shines when it comes to storing customer information.
Have you ever had to enforce one of your freelance work contracts with a problematic client? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!