• Back to the Basics

    Back to the Basics

    We all know we should use contracts in our business — but do we really?  It can be easy, especially in a service based business, to fall into oral agreements.  You tell a client about what you do.  They say they’d like to work with you and write check (or let’s be honest, pay through PayPal) and you provide the service.  Theoretically, it sounds like it should all work out.

    But what if something goes wrong?  What if your understanding of what you agreed to do is different than the client’s?  Even worse, what if they demand their money back, or do a credit card charge back for work you’ve actually done — that they claim isn’t what you agreed to do.

    I’ve had several clients in the last few months face similar scenarios, living in more than a little bit of angst, over something that could have been avoided with a client agreement or client contract.

    In a service based business, you can usually use the same general agreement for all of your clients — even if your tasks change for each client.  In that case, you simply use an exhibit “A” to describe the specific services you are planning to provide.

    The contract addresses not just the services you will provide and the amount of money (and when) the client will pay it, but also your refund policy (if any), your guaranty (if any), your warranty, where you would want to resolve any disputes (your town or your clients?).

    Contracts can define your client’s responsibilities as well.  If you build websites, and you have a time schedule to deliver the product, but in the middle there are things your client must approve for you to move forward, then you need to have those dates in the contract as well.  Putting the website together is a team effort – you do the technical part, but your client has to make decisions on what they want it to look like and what content should be included.

    Coaches of all kinds need to include client responsibility as part of their agreements.  After all, you can coach until you are blue in the face, but if a client does not take steps that create actual change, they will likely not see the results they want — and that is not because you didn’t coach them.

    If you need a custom basic agreement put together for your business, including specific clauses that address issues you face, contact me for a quote.  When you think about the stress not having an agreement can create in your client relationships, and the money you will ultimately retain and save from stopping avoidable client disputes, the investment in your legal support is well worth the cost.

    Have a great week!

    Kathy

    P.S.  Need to talk through a new business idea?  Have something you want to protect or trademark?  I am happy to give some initial direction and assistance by email or by phone.  You can schedule a free telephone consultation here: http://kathycatlindavis.com/book-an-appointment/.


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