I went to a UK chartered solicitor to get this drafted so you don't have to! I made the mistake of working without a valid contract for years with my clients until one day I had to fight hard to get money I was owed. On-top of providing you with protection, having a good contract gives the correct perception that you're a professional who cares about your clients' relationships. This framework agreement gives you all the protection you need whether you're a client or a software engineer! Here's just some of the features:
Protects Against IR35: Ensures that you are legally seen as an independent contractor and that you can provide a substitute for the work should you need or want to.
Estimates, Not Deadlines: Clarifies that time-based estimates are just that and that delays as a result of unknown circumstances are still chargeable.
NDA Built In: A basic non-disclosure agreement exists to protect both yourself and your client's trade secrets but not in such a limiting way that you can't work within similar industries in the future.
Limited Liability: Most contracts ask for defective products to be fixed free-of-charge. Such clauses make sense for off-the-shelf products you might purchase, but software development is impossible to perform without the odd bug occurring. This ensures that you're protected from such scenarios.
Non Exclusivity: Ensure that you can continue to work for other clients where there is not a huge conflict of interest. As someone who makes their money working with clients from all fields, this is essential.
Client Cooperation: Sometimes, performing the work you are tasked with is impossible without the client's help or information. This ensures that they are required to give information or help if it pertains to the task at hand.
Client Ownership: All code written (rightfully) should be your client's. However it should only be so once payment has cleared for the works rendered. There are clauses here that ensure that's the case.
Written By An English Chartered Solicitor: This entire agreement was drafted with direction from myself and an English Chartered Solicitor ensuring its terminology and language is relevant and applicable to English and Welsh law.
Please Note: I am obviously not a trained solicitor and although this was drafted and written by a chartered solicitor it should be used as a starting point for any modification you might want or need to take for your circumstances. As always, you should seek legal advice from your own solicitors if you have questions or want to ensure that his agreement holds up to how it will be used in your context(s). As such, neither them nor me can be held liable for disputes arising from the usage of this agreement.
Framework Agreement, Statement of Work Pages and Word Templates