Contract for services: individual consultant, freelancer (sole trader) Client-friendly contract

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What's a contract for services: individual consultant, freelancer (sole trader), and when do you need it?

This is a straightforward contract for services agreement, particularly suited to individual freelancers, contractors and consultants who are not contracting via their own company or via another company. It provides a great basis to agree more detailed regularly provided service provisions if you wish to do so.

For example, you might want to:

• include not just a description of the Services, at Annex 2, but a table setting out a full Scope of works document with a breakdown of individual costings and delivery dates• negotiate more detailed or complex ownership of intellectual property provisions.

If you’re looking to contract services through a limited company, you’ll need our separate template contract for services for a consultancy company.

What else might you need?

It’s important to distinguish contractors, who are self-employed, from employees, not least for tax reasons. Self-employed persons operate either as sole traders (and would use a contract for services such as this template) or as a part of their own limited company (and they’d use our related template contract for services for a consultancy company in those circumstances).

Self-employed contractors can choose what work they do, and they can decide when and where they complete the work. They are able to outsource work to others, they provide their own work equipment, and they often work for more than one client at a time. They're responsible for arranging for their own tax and National Insurance contributions. They have fewer rights than employees.

It's important to ensure that a contractor is not an employee in disguise – even if that outcome is inadvertent. Getting it wrong can mean that both parties will face fines from HMRC under the IR35 rules. Use this handy tool designed by HMRC to ensure you've got it right. The wording of this template is carefully constructed to provide clarity about your respective intentions and to avoid ambiguity about the role that the consultant is to play. Of course, drafting in a document is one thing. You’ll need to ensure that your relationship in practice is consistent with what’s described in this document and conforms to the legal rules. Our guide Contractor or employee? Essential facts affecting freelancers and contractors, also provides helpful background.

If you have any questions at any stage, just select our Speak to an adviser feature, and we’ll match you with one of our experts who can consider your particular intentions and make drafting or other recommendations.

While we can connect you with some very fine advisers in the UK, and we collaborate with them to provide you with great materials, Farillio itself is not a law firm. We do not directly provide legal advice ourselves. All resources are available for you to use (according to our terms and conditions), but those resources are not legal advice to you and neither are they a substitute for you taking legal advice from a lawyer.

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