07 November 2006


I received interesting mail on Saturday - an offer to become a preferred supplier for a client I'd just done my first job for. A contract was enclosed. I had a quick glance at it then tossed it to one side.

As a freelance, I write my own contracts for most clients (not all, there are a favoured few that I trust not to mess me around and pay on time). It's part of working for oneself - the right to pick and choose clients and set your own terms and conditions.

I asked my beloved P to cast his professional eye over the contract I was offered. In short, it said (and I quote P): "You, personally, have to be available to do work for XXX all the time on our terms, i.e. you waive your own T&Cs. If you are not going to be available you have to tell us in advance, or you will become liable for any losses we incur. If we have a dispute then you are not allowed to keep any papers you may need to prove your side of the case."

I was stunned, because I hadn't read any of the contract and could scarcely believe I would be expected to work under such draconian conditions (possibly even Dickensian). It was the closest said client could get to employing me, without actually employing me.

I did a bit of asking around among others who have worked for this client. Quite a few thought I was overreacting. In the end, I rang the client yesterday to talk it over and pointed out the various problems with the wording. The client agreed that some of it was ambiguous and is now going to come up with a tailormade contract for me. Although I'm still deciding whether or not I want to work regularly for them or not.

I've had a pleasant 24 hours writing about wines and firing off invoices. My laptop is recharging and I'm preparing for a day out in The Smoke - coffee, cake, work chat and shopping...

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