7 Items to Include in Your Contract/Service Agreement
“If it was not documented, it never happened”—unknown author
As small business owners, especially independent consultants or trainers, sometimes we take verbal confirmation as sufficient to begin work. However, on occasion, the unexpected happens, the schedule changes, the topic changes, the hours change, and the worse, a cancellation.
It is imperative to have a written agreement before starting any work. It puts scope and expectations around the service and protects you from expending resources without payment.
Below are items to consider including in your contract. [Note: I highly recommend an attorney review your contract before presenting it to a client.]
- Establish who the contract is between, the name of the client, and the contractor.
- Include the agreed-upon service(s); and the duration of those service(s).
- Identify who owns the intellectual property—who has the rights to offer the content, ideas, material, etc.
- Include a cancellation policy. [Cancellation happens a lot to corporate trainers, you spend the time getting ready for the course, you have created the content, ordered and printed the material, made hotel reservations, and then…the client cancels, and you are out the time and effort spent getting everything ready.]
- Establish a location and who is responsible for providing the space, equipment, and material.
- Provide payment information. Identify who will receive the payment–you, your company, or a partnering agency. In addition, identify the timeframe the invoice needs to be paid.
- Payment amount. Include what the client is paying for: content development, material, instructional hour, travel, food, and lodging expenses.
There are other items you can include in a contract. The above are recommendations that I have noticed are often excluded
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