Having a contract in your online business is essential. You and your client need to be signing a contract every time you perform services or do work for any client. Today I want to share with you why you should have one and also how you can create one.
Essentially, having a contract helps avoid any issues and helps prevent you from getting screwed, put simply. We’ve all heard the horror stories. “I didn’t have a contract and my client refused to pay.” “I didn’t have it in my contract and I ended up doing hundreds of dollars of work for free.” It amazes me that in today’s day and age, people don’t have contracts that go into extreme detail about everything in order to protect themselves.
In addition to making sure that you’re getting paid for the correct services and are making sure the client is aware of all moving parts, it also makes you look so much more professional. A client should know that signing a contract is protecting them just as much as it’s protecting you. A client should see a professional with a contract as much more trustworthy and professional than one without.
A contract ensures that not only is the client doing what they are supposed to do (paying you), but you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. A contract should outline everything you’re doing and everything the client is doing. This way there is absolutely no confusion, and things can’t get said or did later on.
The first way to create a contract is to write it yourself. There are tons and tons and tons of articles online that can be of help in writing a contract. This is the most budget friendly option, and honestly, when you’re first starting out, it may not be essential to have a lawyer look over your contract. If you can afford it and that seems like an option, it is a great one.
The second way to create a contract is to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to write a contract can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to do your research and find one that’s going to be extremely helpful and one that is knowledgeable in your area of business. Something that is less expensive than a lawyer, and usually less personalized, but will get the contract writing done and done correctly, is a website such as LegalZoom. In addition to contract writing services, they offer a ton of different types of legal assistance and is a great tool for growing and maintaining your business.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about my favorite ways to get contracts signed. The best way is to do it in person, but for much of online business that just isn’t possible. I’ve experimented with a bunch of different signing tools, and here are some of my favorites.
The first tool that I’ve played around with is DocuSign. It starts at just $5 a month for 5 monthly contracts and goes up from there, adding features like personal branding. They have a mobile app, making it easy for people to sign with their finger on their phone.
The second tool that I’ve experimented with is HelloSign. I think HelloSign might be my favorite, only because I’m a huge aesthetics person and their layout is fantastic. Their plans start at just $0, for only 3 documents a month. If you only have a couple clients a month, this is an awesome deal. For unlimited, it’s just $13 per month. It’s insanely easy to use, and also links with Google Drive, meaning people can literally sign right from their Gmail. I love integrations with products I constantly use, so this is a big advantage for me.
The last tool I have not experimented with but thought I’d mention in case the above two aren’t quite right for you. It’s called Agree, and also has a great interface and a mobile app where people can sign documents with their finger. Agree also features online payments, which may be an awesome tool if you wanted to combine contract signing and payments all in one app. They have a free plan which enables you to have 3 active contracts and a processing fee for payments of $0.30 + 2.9%. Their plans then go up from there, beginning at $13 per month.
Thanks for reading!