Ongoing Contracts vs. Short-term Contracts: part two

December 22, 2014
Ongoing Contracts vs. Short-term Contracts: part two

This post is the second in a two-part series that compares the advantages of ongoing contracts and short-term contracts.

It’ll be up to you to decide which type of contract you think is better after reading both parts, and this post (part two) will highlight some of the benefits of short-term contracts, pointing out their benefit over ongoing contracts. (If you’re interested in reading about some of the benefits of ongoing contracts, please take a look at part one.)

1. Short-term contracts are more varied

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of talking on numerous short-term contracts is that they provide a wide variety of different topics to address. One day you could be translating work from a lawyer, and the next day you might be working with a security firm’s documentation. 

Having an ongoing contract with one or two different clients usually ensures that you’ll be doing the same type of work day after day. If you thrive on variety, then it’s easy to see how ongoing contracts could slowly grind away at your motivation.

2. Short-term contracts broaden your skills and experience

The variety that short-term contracts provide give you more chance to learn new skills and gain fresh experience in new fields. After completing a number of short-term contracts, you’ll be surprised at the familiarity you gain in a number of different sectors, which broadens your potential client base.

3. Short-term contracts afford you more flexibility 

One of the main perks of working on a freelance basis is the flexibility that the freelance lifestyle affords. However, if you sign yourself up to a few ongoing contracts, then you loose a degree of that flexibility. Of course, you can still complete the work at a time convenient to you, but you’ll always be expected to provide your agreed work on a regular basis. 

If you need to take a break from your work for a short period, then you run the risk of loosing the contract or letting your client down. With a short-term contract, you can simply complete your obligations and take time off.

4. Clients are willing to pay more for short-term contracts

It’s generally assumed that ongoing contracts should carry a lower value than short-term ones. This assumption is based on the fact that the client sees the provision of continual work as a major perk of an ongoing contract, and so shouldn’t have to remunerate you as much. 

Whilst this assumption might not be a fair one to make, and part one of this series stated that effective negotiation should counter this, the assumption nonetheless remains. However, If you’re only looking for short-term work, then you won’t have the hassle of having to deal with this assumption as clients will be more willing to pay your suggested fee.

5. Short-term contracts have more potential to grow your network

When you’re working for a variety of clients, you’ll notice that your professional network will expand at a far quicker rate than if you only have one or two clients. Securing good feedback from your previous clients will give you plenty of glowing recommendations, making the job of finding new work easier.

If you only have ongoing contracts, it’ll take you longer to build up a similar sized network and give you less opportunity for consistently updated testimonials for your marketing material.

Final thoughts

How do you think these advantages compare to the advantages of ongoing contracts mentioned in part one? Do feel free to let us know which type of contract you prefer in the comments below.

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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