The short answer to the question in the headline is: yes. If you hire or are an independent contractor, you should have this type of agreement in place.

An independent contractor agreement can be a critical tool in defining expectations and rules for a professional relationship. Below, we examine what you should include in these agreements as well as what you can do if a dispute arises.

What is in an independent contracting agreement?

An independent contractor agreement is a legal contract that, along with other documents, is crucial to verifying the relationship and clarifying the expected work to be completed. As such, a traditional contract should include:

  • The names of the company and the contractor
  • Acknowledgement that the contractor is not an employee
  • Specifics on the project a contractor will work on
  • Expectations for deadlines and hours required to complete the work
  • Payment information, including rates as well as timing and methods of payments
  • Instructions for maintaining communication between the two parties
  • Confidentiality or non-disclosure clauses
  • Guidelines for termination

Not only can this document serve as way to ensure everyone is on the same page from day one, the information will be crucial should a dispute arise.

What happens if a dispute arises?

Just as contract disputes can arise between employers and employees, they can also arise between companies and contractors.

In the event of a dispute, parties should first refer to their agreement for clarification. Often, there is information in there that can clear up any confusion and guides parties toward a resolution. This is why it is so important to be sure an agreement is informative and enforceable when signing it.

However, if this doesn’t happen, or if parties cannot identify a solution on their own, then they may need to consult an attorney to examine the legal remedies that may be available.