All hail technology.
Tech has revolutionized the way we do business — from our ability to offer services remotely to the way we send contracts to clients. 👩💻
If you work as a freelancer, coach, consultant or service provider of any kind, you’ll want a firm grasp on the ins and outs of a legally sound client services contract.
Keep reading to learn what a client services contract is, why you need one and how to send contracts to clients in today’s digital landscape.
Ready to get your legal ducks in a row? Get ahead of the game with a stellar TLG freebie. Download our free Client Contract Checklist here. You can thank us later.
What is a Client Services Contract?
Before we get into the weeds, let’s go over a few basics so we’re all on the same page.
If your working relationships involve providing any kind of services to your clients, you’ll want a professional, lawyer-drafted Client Services Contract in place. This essential legal agreement is your business super tool to showcase your services, ensure you get paid, manage expectations and ultimately protect and grow your business, just like the doctor ordered.
We cannot stress the importance of using contracts in your professional life enough. Even when you perform work or provide services for a well-known acquaintance, a verbal contract puts you at risk. Yes, even if it concludes with a pinky promise.
It may also be tempting to download a free contract you’ve found on Google (who knows who drafted those!), or to go with the sample contracts included in your client relationship management (CRM) software. While your CRM is an amazing tool, the sample contracts included are often bare bones. When crucial provisions are missing in a contract, you open yourself up to unwanted risks and liability. 🙅♀️
If you think investing in a lawyer-drafted legal agreement seems too cold or too formal for what you do, it’s time to reframe that perspective, sis. A contract outlining clear obligations and expectations for both sides of a working relationship is a fool-proof way to foster trust, nurture your client connections and kick those pesky “what if” moments to the curb.
Appearances matter. Professional, high quality contracts show you take pride in what you do and help make a great impression on prospective clients.
Who Needs Client Services Contracts?
A solid client services contract is not only helpful for your own peace of mind — it’s CRUCIAL if you want to safeguard yourself, your business and your professional relationships. Service providers at all levels can make excellent use of a client services agreement, which should be entered into before rendering any type of service.
🔥 Freelancers — Freelancers who provide services like copywriting, illustration, web design, graphic design, facebook ads specialists, photography, etc., can level up their endeavors with the legal safeguards that a client services contract offers.
🔥 Coaches: This includes life coaches, business coaches, leadership coaches, career coaches, health coaches, relationship coaches — all the blessed coaches helping people find their light! Given the more intimate nature of the coach/client relationship, it’s easy for boundaries to become blurred so we recommend having a tailor made Coaching Contract that caters specifically to coaches.
🔥 Consultants — Business consultants, financial consultants, marketing consultants and creative consultants are all types of consultants that can use a client services contract.
🔥 Therapeutic Relationships — This includes those offering therapeutic services either remotely or in-person.
🔥 One-on-One Training — Whether you provide personal fitness training, singing lessons or one-on-one CEO coaching, the right legal language in contract form will help you nurture those gorgeous client relationships worry-free from day one.
🔥 Other Service Providers — Whether that’s social media managers, virtual assistants, online business managers, bookkeepers, marketing agencies, etc.: any type of DWY (done-with-you) or DFY (done-for-you) service that falls under the client services umbrella is subject to legal complications. You don’t have time for that. You’re too busy growing that empire!
This isn’t an exhaustive list of those who can benefit from implementing a client services contract by any means, but you get the idea.
If you’re performing work or services for a client, you’ll want an official agreement in place to help prevent completely avoidable misunderstandings from turning your sweet deal into sour grapes.
What Should a Client Contract Include?
Now that you know the basics of what a client services contract is and whether you might need one, it’s time to learn the recipe for an effective client contract. We’ll note here this is merely a general overview. A bona fide legal contract has specific, intentional language in place to protect you.
A well-drafted client services contract should cover key terms such as:
- The scope of required/expected work
- Expected dates of completion and/or milestones reached
- Any fees or retainer costs related to the services provided
- Conditions detailing payment and billing procedures
- Language that clearly defines the nature of the working relationship
- Terms for revisions and delivery of work
- All pertinent intellectual property (IP) and copyright information
- A confidentiality clause will safeguard sensitive information and create boundaries on both ends of the working relationship
- Language defining the length of the working term — along with termination conditions and procedures — can help tremendously if conflicts arise on either end
Together, these topics, terms and clauses help form a robust client services contract. Sound like something you need in your life? It’s your lucky day. The Legal Godfairy Client Services Contract template includes all of the above. We’re good like that.
How to Send Contracts to Clients
Okay so you have your brand new contract in hand, now what?
Unless you’re dwelling in the stone age, that’s a digital contract in your digital hand. While you could technically take the ‘ole print and snail mail route, you’ll want to send contracts to clients in a way that’s efficient. That means using a method that’s fast, cost effective, headache-free, easy to keep track of and makes you feel like the to-do list obliterating BOSS you are.
Enter: electronic signature software. A critical part of the modern business toolkit.
There are tons of specialized e-signature platforms that make sending, receiving, and tracking electronic signatures a breeze such as HelloSign or DocuSign. And yes, e-signatures are widely recognized as legally binding across the world, although most jurisdictions may have their own guidelines to ensure the validity of an electronic signature.
The most popular way modern entrepreneurs send contracts though are through CRM platforms, which include e-signature capabilities, such as Dubsado*, Honeybook, 17 Hats, Bonsai and so on, which allow you to securely and effortlessly send your contracts with intuitive digital signing and tracking. We really appreciate that you can also link a contract and invoice together to send to your client at once, improving efficiency and creating an easy workflow for you and your client.
If you’re not sure which way to go, we highly recommend Dubsado*. Better yet, you can receive 20% off of your first year or month by using Dubsado discount code “TLG” at checkout.
Once you have your spanking new contract ready for the masses, simply upload it into your trusted signature software or CRM of your choosing and you’re all set to send your iron-clad contract to your client, seal the deal and celebrate your win. 🥂✨
Pro tip: get your clients to pay close attention to the most important clauses by selecting 5 or 6 and explaining them in your own words in either your proposal or cover email containing your contract! This lets them know the rules of the game upfront and serves as further written proof that clear, mutually respectful and agreed upon conversations were had.
Bonus: How to Sign Contracts
How to sign a contract as a business owner seems simple enough but this is something we see being done incorrectly ALL the time!
If you haven’t formed a business entity such as an LLC or corporation, then this makes things simple as you’d be operating as a sole proprietorship. Technically, you and your business are one and the same in the eyes of the law so you can simply sign your own name on the dotted line.
If you’ve formed an LLC, you’ll probably already know that it’s treated like its own person for legal purposes but requires an actual person to sign documents on its behalf.
The first step to properly signing your contract in this case is to make sure you’re not signing in your personal capacity but on behalf of your business. To do this, you’ll want to ensure the parties to the contract are (1) your business and (2) the other party. You’ll also want to include your full name and your official title or include words such as “on behalf of” your business to maintain the legal separation between yourself and your LLC.
There are a few ways this can be done but here are a few example signature blocks to help you out:
__________________[Your Name] on behalf of [Your LLC Name]
Option 2:[Your LLC Name]
Name: [Your Name]
Title: [Managing Member]
Where to Find a Client Contract
If words like “legal” and “contract” make your head spin, don’t worry — The Legal Godfairy has got you covered. With a figurative wave of a digital wand, you can have a professional contract template landing in your inbox faster than you can say “home by midnight.” 💫
When you purchase a lawyer-drafted contract template from us here at TLG, you’ll receive an email containing your Get Started Guide and editable file right away. Every purchase includes clear, step-by-step instructions on how to edit and customize your template to suit your unique business needs.
Shop our collection of professional, lawyer-drafted contracts today!
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*Disclaimer: This blog post has been prepared solely for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to provide, nor should it be relied on for, legal advice. Should you require advice regarding a specific matter, appropriate legal or other professional advice should be obtained.