If your business works with customers, the chances are that you are familiar with customer contracts. However, just because you already know what a customer contract does not mean you always create the best contract. And all that makes sense because the legal fine print of client contracts can be intimidating unless you are an expert in business law.
The good news is that these contracts don’t have to be challenging. At its core, a customer contract isn’t meant to set traps with complicated jargon. Note that a customer contract should outline important details like deliverables, project scope, payment, project time, and more.
Whether your business is signing a marketing-related contract or a contract with its target consumers, it’s important to ensure that it is perfectly drafted. This is why you need contractsafe.com or any other reliable contract management solution to streamline the creation and documentation of the contract.
How to write effective customer contracts
Here are important steps that you must follow to create effective and simple client contracts.
Step 1: Include correct identification and contact information of both parties
For any agreement to be legally binding, it must clearly state the entities who are legally bound by the agreement, and the contact details for all the parties involved should be stated clearly. Be sure to indicate the legal business name, physical address, contact information, billing information, and other important details.
Avoid using general terms like a service provider, third party, or client. Instead, use your name and that of your client throughout the contract. The use of generic terms can make the agreement sound significantly impersonal. While this is not a legal issue, it can make some clients uncomfortable.
Step 2. Outline the project scope and terms
No matter how minor or significant a contract is, you must outline its scope and terms. It’s important to be very specific about what you are being hired to do, how you intend to do it, and the specific expectations of both sides. In case you feel some aspects of the contract are ambiguous, it’s in your best interest to seek clarification. Understanding what you’re supposed to do makes it easier for you to do it perfectly.
For example, if you are being hired to design a website for a client, the contract must state the scope of that project, whether or not you are responsible for redesign only, or you will be handling other activities like on-page SEO. The contract must also state whether you are responsible for sourcing the necessary images, writing the web copy, and linking the website to various social platforms.
Generally, you can never be too specific when it comes to outlining the details of the project scope. The goal here is to set expectations and clear guidelines that you will follow when executing your duties. Remember, it might be time-consuming to outline the project scope, but those specific details are crucial to you and your clients.
Step 3: Be specific about terms of payment
If you want to get paid for your work, you should never leave out the critical element of a customer contract – terms of payment. To establish payment details, there are important areas that you must consider. First, you must specify how you will be paid. Will the client pay by the project or by the hour?
If you are going to be paid by the hour, what’s the maximum and the minimum number of hours you’re going to be paid for? This way, you can be sure to get paid for the time you allocate to this project even when the client reduces the project scope. It will also ensure that you get compensated fairly, even if the client decides to give you more work.
Project deliverables are another area you must consider when setting terms of payment. If you choose to get paid by the project, it’s crucial to outline the expected deliverables and what the project rate covers. Other elements of payment terms include acceptable payment methods, billing schedules, and payment schedule.
Being clear about payment terms will help prevent instances of getting overworked for little pay and the disputes associated with unclear terms of payment.
Step 4: Specify who owns final copyrights
Note that this will not apply to every client or business project you undertake. However, if you are creating original work for your client, it is important to define the copyright-terms for any drafts and final deliverables. For example, if you are writing blog posts for a company’s website, who owns the copyright to that work? If you help a client design a website, who owns the copyright to the website?
Generally, you (the service provider) own the copyright to the product or work until the last payment is made. Once this payment is settled, the copyright to the content created or any other work done in accordance with their client contract is transferred to the client. If you are concerned about copyrights, be sure to include the details in the contract before you sign it.
Keep in mind that a signed client contract is legally binding. A signed contract is all it takes to make sure that the client delivers their end of the business agreement. And there are no exceptions to this rule. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are not sure about some details of the contract or don’t know how to draw a contract, it is important to seek legal help.
For example, you can get a contract drafted by a lawyer. This expert can help ensure that all the important classes are included in the contract. In the event that the client violates the contract terms, you can also seek legal help.
No one signs a client or business contract with the expectation that things won’t work in their favor. The contract, if well-drafted, can protect you in case the other party violates the terms of the contract.
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