As an employer, you sometimes need to bring temporary help into your company on a contractual basis, whether as consultants or independent contractors.
A formal, written contract is absolutely necessary to make sure that the parameters of your working relationship are clear. There are specific details that you’ll want to include in this agreement to protect your company.
Describe your relationship
Consultants aren’t employees, so you need to make sure that you’re clear about their relationship with your firm. You’ll want to emphasize that they’re not entitled to benefits generally afforded to employees, such as paid time off and insurance, and that they’ll be responsible for paying their own self-employment taxes. You should detail the work that your consultant will be performing for you, along with details about when you expect the working relationship will end or what can cause that relationship to be terminated.
Retention of intellectual property rights
Companies often hire consultants to uncover and analyze raw data that they may ultimately use to gain some type of competitive advantage over others in the market. A consulting or contracting agreement should clearly document who retains the right to the intellectual property accessed or created by the worker.
Work completion deadlines and compensation
You’ll want to ensure that any consulting agreement that you draft includes a completion date. It should also describe your payment structure, including what steps your contractor must take to invoice you and how long they can expect it to take for you to pay them.
Verbal agreements aren’t sufficient
You and your potential contractor might seem to get along with one another quite well — but a verbal agreement is a never sound business practice. An oral agreement won’t stand up in a court of law. Only a written one will. An attorney can guide you as you look to draft an airtight contract when hiring a consultant at your company.