Freelancers, agencies, and service providers need to make sure that they are actually using legal contracts when engaging in any sort of contract work for clients. Not only can this open them up to potential legal liability issues, but it can also create issues with client nonpayment and client expectations. As such, it is always better for those who work with clients to have contracts in place before doing so. These contracts can even be standardized ort based on a template. However, they need to reflect the type to work being done and should also have specific legal clauses that address that type of work. With that in mind, here is how you can use contracts to help you with clients when you are providing services to them.
Table of Contents
Get legal protections and set expectations
One of the biggest benefits of contracts are the legal protections they offer. Contracts can help to protect your business when dealing with clients, especially when performing sensitive work. This can include anything from making changes to a client’s home or office space, or even to their website or other digital assets. For example, if you are a web designer, you will want to make sure you have a contract in place before touching a client’s website. If you do not, and something with their website goes wrong, it is possible that you can be liable for the damages or lost business that your client has depending on what kind of work you have performed for their website.
This is also the case when it comes to correctly setting expectations. Contracts can help to specify the length and breadth of an engagement, as well as what you are explicitly responsible for and what you are not. This helps in working with clients and setting boundaries when clients asks for endless revisions. If you have it specified in the contract that only a certain amount of revisions are permitted, then this can be referred to when a client signs the contract and then demands an excessive amount of revisions.
Create better client relationships with contract lifecycle management
Contracts affect every facet of life. This includes renting an apartment, enrolling in a program, and of course, the relationship between client and service provider. However, when service providers sign contracts with clients, they don’t often realize that these contracts are a two-way street and cannot perform for them well. This can happen even if the service provider is the originator of the contract, as many service providers use contracts that they find online without creating them into their own customizable templates.
The efficacy of your contracts can be measured through a process called contract lifecycle management. This process holistically looks at the contract process and breaks it out into steps so that you can determine what is working and what is not working. This can give you a better sense of a contract’s implications and what clauses are serving you well and what are not. When creating contracts in the future, you can then apply contract lifecycle management to better determine how a contract can benefit you as a service provider and what parts of a contract might be hurting you.
When entering a business relationship with a client, it is important for a service provider to have a signed contract. This protects them both legally and from a client’s expectations of further unpaid work. A service provider should also use contract lifecycle management to better assess its contracts and make sure that they are working for them.