My first freelance job ended last week with no advance notice. I had been working for the client for more than 2½ years. I had scheduled my workweek (both regular hours and extra hours) just two days earlier, and had even worked that day. Then, a few hours later, I got an email informing me that my contract was being ended immediately. “Evolving work needs” was the vague explanation.

Is this normal in freelancing? It was my first gig (fortunately, I have another), so I have nothing to compare it with.

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, the nature of a contract is that unless there is specific language to the contrary in the contract, it can be ended at any moment without a reason given. This is one reason why companies like to use contract employees - so that they don't have to go through the hoops of justifying a firing. (There are other tax and benefits reasons, but those are not important at this moment.)

  • 2
    100% agree. I have been a contract software engineer the majority of my career. I try to keep the mental attitude that tomorrow may be the last day. We signed a 6 month extension with one company and a week later they flushed all contractors including our company. I feel you have to just suck it up and accept it. You don't want to burn the bridge, because they may want you sometime in the future.
    – edt11x
    Sep 8, 2022 at 17:53

In my experience, no this is not normal or typical. When you have been freelancing for a company for multiple years, a good company will typically give you notice if anything significant will change in the foreseeable future.

I think the company treated you with disrespect.

Although they may not give you an honest answer, you are certainly entitled to ask them why they took this action. If it was a performance or communication issue, you can learn from it. If they are just a crappy company, you can learn from that too.

I'll never forget when the CEO of a company with which I was once employed told me their standard practice was to "use them and lose them" for all business relationships. It wasn't a surprise when the company started treating their employees the same way and eventually went out of business. Fortunately, I was long gone by then.

From this experience, I learned to closely watch how companies treat all people. It's a valuable lesson for every contractor (and employee) to learn.

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