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Why Using Free Online Contract Templates is a Bad Idea

By Darielle Teitelbaum

entrepreneur free contract template

Contracts aka legally binding written agreements are a very important component to any successful business. They protect you and your work and set a professional standard for your business. While it’s enticing to save money by using free templates you find online, they could ultimately lead to very costly problems in the future.

A good contract is one that is drafted by a licensed lawyer with expertise in your business area and is tailored to your business and best practices. A contract ensures your services and client obligations are clearly stated and serves to prevent worst case scenarios. There is no guarantee that a free online template has the specific clauses that you require for your business to run effectively, since they’ve been drafted for the masses. While you may think that by cutting and pasting parts from a variety of online resources it will make a comprehensive contract, but in reality by doing this you may be breaking apart the integrity of the clauses and how they operate together, and potentially invalidating the enforceability of the entire contract.  

With the law constantly changing, you want to ensure the contracts you use in your business are up to date and drafted by a lawyer. Laws vary by province and country and many of the available free resources have been created for US based businesses. The only way to ensure your legal contract is both up to date and applies to where you conduct business is to have it drafted by a licensed lawyer in your area. 

While every entrepreneur wants to save money, it’s crucial to know what is and isn’t worth cutting corners on. Legal contracts are not something you want to piece together now and suffer the costly consequences later, either when someone threatens to sue you or steals your ideas and intellectual property. The quick fix of a free contract template you find online is a shortcut that could cost you a lot in the future. AWE Contracts was created as a direct solution to this problem for Canadian entrepreneurs looking for legal protection that is quick, accessible and affordable. You don’t need to hire an expensive lawyer, or wait for your contract to be drafted, it’s ready as soon as you download it and takes approximately 1 hour to customize. 

All of the contracts at AWE Contracts are personally drafted by the founder and practicing lawyer of AWE Legal (a unique law firm focused on athletes, artists, wellness professionals and entrepreneurs), so you can be sure that they are comprehensive. We know business law, your industry, your pain points, and the realities of being an entrepreneur. The investment you make now will serve as professional and reliable contracts that you can use over and over as your business evolves and you grow your team.

Browse our Contract Kits and our individual Contract Templates to get your legal protection in place! They’re easy to download and customize with your business policies and branding so that you can focus on growing your business without wondering if your contracts are legitimate. 

Still have Questions? Send as an email at: hello@awecontracts.com or follow us on Instagram!

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How It Works

By Darielle Teitelbaum

How It Works
Check out how easy it is to use AWE Contracts templates by following 3 simple steps. Our contracts come with a helpful user guide and all of the details and legal terms that you need in order to feel protected and professional.

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Why Photographers Need a Photography Contract to Protect Themselves!

By Darielle Teitelbaum

Photographer
Every photographer and videographer needs a legal contract in place, not only does it protect you and your work, but it also sets a professional standard for your business. Within this legal contract, you set out your terms and conditions as well as your processes and expectations (think payment schedule, what a client will receive, image licensing and ownership, when you’ll deliver the final products, number of edits, etc.). It also provides security in knowing that your client is invested in your business and won’t flake last minute. If there’s no agreement in place and no deposit paid to retain you for your work, there’s nothing stopping someone from walking away or worse, ghosting you. 

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Hey Freelancers, Here’s Why You A Need Contract!

By Darielle Teitelbaum

freelancer legal contract templates
As a freelancer, setting up your business for success requires a lot of hard work, but ensuring your assets are protected and all client expectations are clear from the get go should be a top priority. While there are many online tools that allow you to download free waivers and contracts, oftentimes they are missing important clauses that could be very costly should things go awry. Here’s why having reliable contracts and agreements in place that have been drafted by a lawyer should be an essential part of your business.

Protect Yourself

Having a signed contract in place prior to starting any work clearly outlines what services the client is paying for and states how the work you create will be used (and for how long). A Client Agreement, for example, empowers you to take control over the licensing and ownership of the work you create and protects you from having it used without compensation or your permission.

Client Agreement

As we’ve experienced over the last few months, unexpected circumstances can arise out of the blue and may lead to cancellations or delays. Having a signed Client Agreement in place before beginning your freelance work, outlines the expectations of both parties should plans change. In a Client Agreement, you’ll be able to outline payment schedules based on the degree of work completed (do you have an on-going retainer? Do you get paid bi-weekly? etc.) and decide on who owns the work that has been created so far (is it you or the client) as well as what happens should either party wish to terminate the Agreement.

With a signed Client Agreement, you’ll also be able to outline that you require a non-refundable down payment before beginning any project work. When this is signed off, you’ll know that your client is committed to the project and you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t need to spend time chasing down any owed payment.

Having a Client Agreement in place is an excellent way to ensure both you and your client are on the same page throughout the project and acts as a reference point for both you and your client regarding expectations and clear communication.

Waivers

Another important contract to have in place, especially if you are offering an activity or service, is a waiver. A waiver is a release form that protects you from liability (aka legal responsibility) in the event of an injury during an event or activity. This contract contains an agreement between two parties by which the person signing it confirms that they understand the risk involved and promise not to sue the other party for any damages or injuries incurred during the event/activity.

Online Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

Having a well-branded website is a key component to any business. It not only provides prospective clients with a portfolio of your work, but it also walks them through what to expect when working with you. Before you launch your website, ensure you have a well articulated Terms & Conditions section as well as a Privacy Policy, both of which are often found in a website’s footer and as opt in pop-ups. These two pages form a contract between you/corporation and the user/visitor to your website. The Terms and Conditions often outline key terms for the visitor’s use of the site and protect the website owner (you!) from any damages or harm that may incur as a visitor browses your site. A Privacy Policy tells your site visitors in what ways you gather, use, or disclose their personal data and information while browsing your site and what third-party applications you may use in running your business. Examples of personal information includes a site visitor’s name, date of birth, address, contact information, financial records, and more. A Privacy Policy also outlines whether or not you keep this personal information private or if you sell it to any third parties or partners. These two important legal contracts allow you to be transparent with your site visitors, leaving no room for misinterpretation or miscommunication.

Set the Record Straight

As your freelance career evolves, the contracts you have in place will provide you with an immense sense of security and professionalism. Each contract acts as a reference point should your client have any questions and will ensure you are both being held accountable as you work together. Set the record straight from the get go and don’t leave any questions unanswered. With highly transparent contracts in place, you’ll have less to worry about and more time to focus on building your business!

Are you ready to have contracts for your business? Follow AWE Contracts today at www.awecontracts.com or @awecontracts to get reliable downloadable contract templates drafted specifically for your industry!

If you're a freelancer who needs legal advice in Ontario, contact AWE Legal today.

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