A freelancer, freelance worker, or freelance is a person who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long term. These workers are sometimes represented by a company or an agency that resells their labor and that of others to its clients with or without project management and labor contributed by its regular employees. Others are completely independent. "Independent contractor" would be the term used in a higher register of English.
Depending on the industry, freelance work practices vary and have changed over time. In some industries such as consulting, freelancers may require clients to sign written contracts. While in journalism or writing, freelancers may work for free or do work "on spec" to build their reputations or a relationship with a publication. Some freelancers may provide written estimates of work and request deposits from clients.
Payment for freelance work also depends on industry, skills, and experience. Freelancers may charge by the day, hour, a piece rate, or on a per-project basis. Instead of a flat rate or fee, some freelancers have adopted a value-based pricing method based on the perceived value of the results to the client. By custom, payment arrangements may be upfront, percentage upfront, or upon completion. For more complex projects, a contract may set a payment schedule based on milestones or outcomes. One of the drawbacks of freelancing is that there is no guarantee payment, and the work can be highly precarious.