Can a software development contract have a minimum term stipulation? Say, can a 'minimum' one year term after, say, one month of acceptable work be included in the contract?
I'm interested to hear thoughts on both W2s and C2Cs.
Generally, you can put anything both parties agree to in a contract.
I have never heard of such a clause and it does seem to go against one of the primary reasons for using freelancers - flexibility for the employer. Some freelancers do have various sorts of retainers, which potentially could be an alternative way for you to secure work at your client.
At times I've been presented with various try-before-you-buy condititions, which it seems your clause is a twist on. Personally, I and virtually all my clients prefer a straight freelance contract; the exception being 'immature' clients new to freelancing, who seem to believe freelancers are desperate to become employees after a trial period.
I used to have rebated service contracts where I would reserve a certain number of days per month for a client and he would pay me a monthly fixed fee. These had notice periods, which was appropriate because my client wanted the security of having access to my services for the foreseeable future and I wanted some fixed income.
So yes, such arrangements are made. One year seems a long time, although when both parties have to make a considerable up-front investment, this could be reasonable.
Other option would be to just agree to non-refundable advance payments upon reaching certain milestones.