Expressly written agreements outlining an independent contractor’s obligations and compensation are essential for any business owner operating in Los Angeles, or the United States in general. California has its own set of labor laws that significantly increase the complexity of drafting a legally-compliant independent contractor agreement. Consumers of legal services often find themselves in a difficult dilemma of whether to draft the agreements themselves or to engage a professional counsel with expertise of the local rule and regulations. Fortunately, services such as UpCounsel allow business owners to quickly find qualified attorneys who have understanding of the ever-changing Los Angeles law landscape, unfettered access to experienced lawyers and the reviews and ratings of each counsel’s recent work. In any case, there are five key things to consider when drafting an independent contractor agreement.

Time Commitment

The first thing to consider when drawing up an independent contractor agreement is the time commitment that the relationship entails. Business owners need to ensure that they term their contractor’s duties on specific timelines. For instance, a contractor could commit to deliver five projects over two months. It is crucial for both contracting parties to have a clear understanding of the timeline prior to signing the agreements. Doing so helps to establish reasonable expectations from both sides and avoid any potential disputes in the future.


Business owners looking to engage an independent contractor should clearly define payments in the contract. This is a key aspect of any contract. Stipulate the amount or rate for each milestone that must be completed in order to receive payment. For example, the contractor may be entitled to receive higher pay if the milestone is completed within the agreed timeline. This is especially important if the independent contractor is based in Los Angeles, as California requires employers to report wages to the government authorities through pay-as-you-go withholding. As such, employers must report and remit income tax, social security, Medicare deductions, and more on behalf of their independent contractors.


The third thing to consider when drafting an independent contractor agreement is a non-compete clause. This clause states that the contractor will not share or utilize any of the client’s proprietary information to another company or individual. Non-compete clauses protect business owners from potential conflicts of interest or misconduct caused by the contractor in the future.

Ownership of Intellectual Property

Much like non-compete clauses, independent contractor agreements should include clauses to protect the owner’s intellectual property. This states that the contractor will hand over the owner’s ownership rights of any work created while under contract. This is especially important for Los Angeles businesses as California has some of the strictest laws when it comes to intellectual property law.


Finally, it is important to include a confidentiality agreement in your independent contractor agreement. This agreement will prevent either party from revealing confidential information without authorization and should prevent the contractor from using the information to create works that are similar or compete with the owner’s.

Drafting independent contractor agreements, especially in Los Angeles, can be a tricky process due to the ever-changing labor laws. It is important to seek the counsel of experienced professionals who understand the local law landscape. UpCounsel can provide businesses with access to a wide network of experienced attorneys who have conducted successful cases for businesses of all sizes. With UpCounsel, businesses of any size are able to secure an experienced counsel with the rates they can afford, and are provided with the reviews and ratings of each counsel’s recent work.


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