Do you have clients in your business? Nearly anyone who owns or is involved in a business, no matter the type, will answer yes to that question, which means this blog is for just about everyone! If you sell a good or service, you have clients and need to understand what the rules are that govern that transaction where you deliver a good or service, and your client delivers a check, cash or credit card authorization. If you mainly deal in smaller dollar, high volume retail transactions, click here to make sure you get notice of our upcoming post with vital tips for you. But if you provide a service, or if your transactions are for high dollar amounts, you’re in the right place, as we’re going to discuss the most important things you need to cover in your agreements with clients.
- What Do You Expect Me to Do? – Sounds pretty simple right? But not always. Basically, what you need to ensure is that the client’ s expectations are set out EXPLICITLY in the agreement. Think this isn’t that important? Think again. If you’re creating a website for a client, it’s important to spell out when it will be considered “done” and when you will expect a client to pay for support. Providing creative work to a client? Do they expect that they will own it when complete or that you will be able to use it as well? See what we mean? Setting out the expectations the client has for you is VITAL before you start to do the work.
- What Do I Expect You to Do? – Pay me on time, for starters, but often this isn’t the only thing we expect from our clients. Perhaps we expect them not to claim our work product as their own, or to pay more if they want to do that. Maybe we expect them to let us know about problems they encounter before they take to a complaint website to leave us a bad review. Often we will need them to review and provide comments on drafts in a timely manner so we can keep the project moving. No matter what it is, if we have an expectation for a client, we should write it down in the agreement.
- What Happens If We Don’t? – If we don’t do what the client wants, it’s often fairly simple – they don’t pay us. But what if they incur other damages that we couldn’t have known about (what if something down the line that was to be a huge payday for their business can’t happen because of our failure…should we have to pay for all of that?) What if they don’t pay us, should we be able to recoup the costs of collection? Spelling this out in advance, and creating the boundaries around what each person could be responsible for (basically a cap or maximum) can help both parties asses what the outside cost or risk might be.
Client relations don’t have to be hard as long as you explicitly set out some ground rules for the interaction. Think of your client services agreement as those ground rules, and you will likely have far fewer client related headaches.