We all like to think that we know our businesses inside out, but if you don’t have a solid client agreement, how well do you really know your business?
You may know that you have a service or product-based business, and that you’re seeing clients, or that you’re generating sales. You may have processes that you try to stick to. But without a client agreement that clearly reflects who you are and what you do, how can you really know your business intimately?
And, without a client agreement, how can your clients know your business, too?
What’s all this fuss about having a client agreement?
You’ve heard about client agreements and you know it’s something you probably should have done already (along with all your other to-do list items), but for a variety of reasons you haven’t got around to it yet.
Your rational, smart self knows that:
- A client agreement is there to have your back if something should go pear shaped in your client relations.
- A client agreement protects and educates your clients.
- A client agreement is another way to present your beautiful business, because it lays down the terms and conditions of the business relationship that has brought you and your client together.
So then, the big question is if business owners know all of this…
Why do business owners fail to make their client agreement a priority?
When clients come to me to talk client agreements, they often say:
“Legal documents scare my clients off—they won’t want to work with me!”
Or, “I know I need one, but I don’t know where to start!”
Does this sound like you?
A client agreement helps you nurture your client relationships
A client may have engaged your services and you might receive payment upfront, so payment is not an issue.
However, without a client agreement, your client might be expecting you to do much more work than you (thought you’d) agreed to, or expects more involvement and contact than you thought you would provide.
So, although you have been paid, the client relationship is not proceeding with ease and grace because your client has no idea how you work or know your business processes. They don’t know where they stand and this can be frustrating.
Maybe you’ve even started work with a client but you haven’t had a proper payment discussion with your client, other than briefly providing a fee for your service in an email.
So you waste a lot of time chasing money or arguing pricing, the client is most likely confused and/or has decided to not pay at all.
Ahhh… if only you’d had a client agreement to fall back on!
A client agreement can be a great tool to use as a point of reference for your client about how you would like them to work with you, and how you do business.
Client agreements are a SUPER-TOOL
Your client agreement, if developed correctly, will show you how well you know your business and where you need to fix your processes to have the best chance of making money.
From the client’s perspective, your client agreement is the guidebook that will help your client to understand how you work, ensure you get paid, and raise the bar of professionalism in your business processes, while still being YOU.
Need help making sure your client agreement is working hard for your business? Download my free checklist.
Lawyer, Contract Specialist, Speaker & Advocate for Women in Business.
Drawing on more than 15 years’ experience as a lawyer and a woman in business, Shalini Nandan-Singh helps Australian service-based entrepreneurs protect their businesses and their bottom lines with empowered legal advice and contracts.
Encouraging listeners to #loveyourlegals, Shalini firmly believes that business legals should be an authentic extension of your business. Her goal is to educate audiences that, rather than confusing legalese, business legals should be an authentic extension of your business, creating positive business boundaries that support you in working with your clients with compassion and understanding.
Disclaimer: This blog is written to support business owners to consider legal requirements and issues that may arise in business. The information provided is for general and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice for your individual circumstances. Please consult your lawyer for advice specific to you and your business.