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What Is an Independent Contractor?

Independent contractors, also called freelancers or consultants, are hired on contract to perform specific services such as:

  • Construction, renovations, and demolition
  • Landscaping and outdoor maintenance
  • Cleaning and janitorial work
  • Bookkeeping and accounting
  • Training and instruction
  • Creative work, such as writing and photography
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What Is the Difference Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor?

Independent contractors differ from employees because they:

  • Work with clients (individuals or businesses) on a contractual basis
  • Invoice clients themselves
  • Pay their own income taxes as well as self-employment taxes
  • Can build their own schedules
  • Have more freedom in where and how they work
  • Can hire subcontractors to assist them on a project

What Is an Independent Contractor Agreement?

An Independent Contractor Agreement, also known as a consulting agreement or freelance contract:

  • Describes the services being provided or project to be completed
  • Outlines payment details and the length, or term of the contract
  • Sets out other terms of the working relationship, such as ownership of intellectual property
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Why Should I Hire an Independent Contractor?

Many companies, particularly small businesses and startups, employ independent contractors to:

  • Access specialized skills or industry expertise
  • Complete a short-term project, such as designing a company logo
  • Balance their workload during busy periods
  • Save on costs, including employment benefits and office space (most freelancers work remotely)

What Should I Include in an Independent Contractor Agreement?

Your contract should include the following information:

  • What the contractor is being hired to do
  • Contractor and client contact information
  • Length of the contract
  • Compensation: a flat fee or an hourly/weekly rate
  • Invoice frequency: every week/two weeks/month or after the
    work is complete
  • Who owns the rights to the work
  • Whether the client's information must be kept confidential
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Should I Include a Confidentiality Clause?

Include a confidentiality clause in your Independent Contractor Agreement if you're sharing:

  • Personal information
  • Customer information
  • Business models or strategies
  • Business data or documents
  • Trade secrets

What Other Employment Forms Do You Need?

Employers might also find these forms useful:

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