“Put It In Writting”

Creating a Shield Through a Written Client AgreementWhen you agree to perform services for a client, and the client agrees to pay  you for such services, you and your client have entered into a legal contract.  The terms of the contract, however, are difficult to recall and prove unless in  writing. A written contract is pivotal as it puts clients on notice of business  policies and terms, sets a professional tone, promotes consistency of policies,  and is legally enforceable in court (the decision whether to sue a client to  enforce a contract is, of course, a business decision, as well as a legal one,  and should be carefully considered). The contract, thus, helps to prevent  misunderstandings and clearly defines the expectations of the parties.

Some entrepreneurs choose not to use contracts for fear that a written  agreement may be too formal or legal in nature and, thus, may scare a client  away. Again, this is a business decision that should be given consideration, and  you should determine if this is a real or imagined fear by communicating with  your clients to test the waters. You can also use a “letter agreement,” which  may be less intimidating for clients. In the corporate arena, a written contract  is generally expected. Another disadvantage of using a written contract is the  cost of creating and advising if you use an attorney. While there are  standardized contract forms available online and in books, be careful not to  accept such standardized forms carte blanche. I often see small business owners  fail to adapt contracts appropriately, which causes embarrassing typos,  inappropriate clauses, and general confusion. Not only does this look  unprofessional, but in extreme cases it can also result in unenforceability of  the contract in court. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a business lawyer  review the agreement to make sure it adequately protects you, contains the  relevant terms, and fulfills the goals you want to accomplish. It is an expense  worth paying for to secure adequate protection in the long term.

To Your Success,

Larry D. Hall

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One thought on ““Put It In Writting”

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