Are You Using a Written Client Services Agreement? You Should Be!
All businesses should be using a written client service agreement (also called scope agreement, general services agreement, business to client agreement, etc). Not only will it show you are serious about your business, it will establish expectations, rules and roles, and pay procedure. It will more specifically set forth conditions and terms that guide the relationship between the parties. Moreover, a client services agreement is binding because it is an agreed upon and signed contract. Otherwise both parties could be full of guessing games before, during, and after the product is delivered or the service is performed.
Every client service agreement will be different depending on your industry. For example, a photographer may have more information about copyrights and photo editing/usage. An event planner may have more information on event liability (personal injuries that may arise with staff or guests). Regardless, they all have some commonalities. Most have the following in one way or another: An Intro to Relationship/Contracting, a Scope or Statement of Work, an Intellectual Property Clause, a fees or pay process section, a rescheduling/refund/cancellation section, and information on governing law and dispute resolution methods. Again, this is a shortened list.
So how do I write client service agreements for clients? I do a combo of the following: Ask client about their business and their goals, Research contracts for that industry business type , Ask client about business process goals--pay procedures, types of services offered, etc., Ask client a Debbie Downer--What could go wrong? What do you fear? This helps me write provisions that establish expectations and preclude liability (as much as possible), and I use contract law and contract language which are appropriate for this industry and this type of contract.
As mentioned having a written client services agreements shows that you mean business by not just setting expectations but getting them on paper. They also will help you get paid by having a specific pay protocol (ie. Client must pay no later than 2 weeks after delivery of service). It's also easier for you (or me) to say to your client, "You're possibly in breach of the contact you signed. Provision 3 says........" That's much better than you or me saying, "Um...can you please just pay."
Contact me to learn more. You can schedule an appointment by going to the contact portion of the site: www.rationalunicornlegalservices.com/connect or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org