Freelance Contract Dos and Don'ts for Freelance Programmers

Freelance programmers work in a very complex environment. There are many jobs and even more contract arrangements. Contract problems can play havoc with your income. The problem with some freelance programming jobs is that there can be many unproductive situations. There is a wide range of jobs online  that should be avoided. There are a few things to look out for, the following is a list of what not to do:

Contracts with Much Work, for Low Pay

Low paying contracts are typical when you’re learning freelance contract work. Once you are an experienced programmer, these arrangements no longer work to help you. They’re suitable for getting income when nothing else is available, but they’re expensive when you’re using time that could be working on better paying work.

Old Code Issues

There are many old codes still rattling around on commercial systems, and it’s a curse to programmers. Getting this code to run is a really hard task, even for experts. Contractors hire programmers for these problems because they don’t have to pay salaries. These contracts can be a waste of time because you will be working with codes that you can’t use as relevant experience on other jobs.

Impossible Contractors

Some contracts heavily favor the employer, leaving the freelance programmer at a disadvantage. There are things like contract “milestones” (schedules), reporting requirements and an irritating process. The employer spells out, to a programmer, how to program.

These are impossible relationships. The contractor can also be trying to create a situation where work has been done, but failure to do some minor thing under terms of contract means they can get out of paying. The only real option is getting your money and getting out of the contract before it wastes any more time.

Time Consuming Contracts

Some contracts tend to be routine jobs, with no credential value. You really need to look long term at the value of your work, and what good use of your time and money is.

Checking Out Contracts

Never sign a contract until you’re sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. There are some basic steps you can take to spot the good and bad contracts:

  • No clear specification of fees
  • No indication of method of payment
  • No clear termination clauses
  • Many terms and conditions
  • Escrow terms you don’t understand on third party websites

Good contracts

  • Clear specification of rates and methods of payment
  • Contract is clearly written, and not onerous
  • Tasks required under the contract are clearly set out
  • Non-disclosure clause- Typical provision on real contracts
  • Termination clause explains termination for both parties
  • Escrow terms clearly laid out on third party websites

Researching Contracts

Before you sign anything, research the employer. Remember you can decline a contract before signing if you’re not satisfied with the terms. Always ask for what you want, you just might get it.