A contract is a legal agreement between a service provider and the client, by means of which the client buys the services of the service provider.
When you finally landed that much sought-after client and are ready to get started on the project. It’s tempting to move forward on just a handshake, but it’s worthwhile to take the time and have your client sign a written contract before you do any work. More than a binding legal agreement, a contract also serves as an important point of reference for both you and your client, eliminating potential confusion or misunderstandings. Use the many benefits of a signed document to define the client-consultant relationship and iron out all your terms and conditions in advance.
When selling your services to a new client, you are likely to discuss a variety of projects that could be tackled. In fact, the client’s wish list can quickly grow quite extensive. However, when it comes time to perform the job, it helps to have a clearly defined scope of work by outlining what tasks will be tackled in the contract. Having this written description of the services you will perform prevents disappointment or confusion about what the client may or may not have been expecting you to handle.
A written contract is not only a legal document, it can also be used as a marketing tool. For example, take time to verbally review the terms of the agreement with your customer before he signs it, particularly the portion defining the scope of work. Sometimes a client will decide to broaden the services performed, once he sees the details in writing.
Another up sale opportunity occurs upon the expiration of the contract. Prior to a project being completed, or shortly before the consulting agreement is slated to end, meet with the customer. Discuss opportunities for new projects and how it will help his business, and review the potential for extending your services for the next phase of work now that initial results have been realized.
Benefits of developing the written contracts
- Define the scope of work
- Upsell your services
- Identify expectations and client responsibilities
- Establish the relationship
- Provide proof of what was agreed between the parties involved
- Help to prevent future misunderstandings
- Give you security and peace of mind
- Specifies how either party can end the contract
- Sets how disputes will be resolved
- Reduce risk of dispute regarding payments, responsibilities and timeframes that the services to be provided under the contract