Starting a business is very exciting and you may be tempted to skip over some of the tedious details and jump straight into the actual work. While you might be eager to get to work, it’s always best to get some of your precautionary measures in place before starting. It might sound boring, but it will save you from a ton of headaches down the line. One of those initial steps is to create a template for the contract that you will be using the majority of the time.
As a sole proprietor you should always have a contract in place that defines the relationship between yourself and your clients. No matter how impatient a client gets, you should never start the work until you have a written agreement that clearly defines the terms of the assignment that is signed by both parties.
Whether you’re a writer, consultant, programmer, trainer, or any other freelance-based professional -- you should have a standard contract that you can modify for each particular project. Once you’ve taken the time to get a solid contract written, you’ll never have to worry about it again. That is, unless you decide to have it modified to adjust to changes in your business later.
There are two options that most people consider when creating a contract. Either they find a generic template online and try to alter it themselves to fit their business, or they hire a contract attorney to do it for them. Of course, we recommend the latter, but the decision is up to you.
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN MY CLIENT CONTRACT?
Every contract is going to be unique to the specific business, but there are some general elements that most contracts will include. In addition to the standard legal wording founding in nearly all contracts, here is what your client contract should include:
Title and Preliminaries
The contract needs to have a name, such as Consulting Service Agreement. Below the title the contract should specify the parties involved (you and your client) by using your legal names and addresses.
Scope of Work
This clause should describe the work that will be completed in as much detail as possible. This might include milestones and due dates for each.
Payment and Terms
This section should list how much you’ll be paid, how you’ll be paid, and when you’ll be paid.
Term of Contract and Termination
Your contract needs to define when the contract begins and when it ends. The scope of the project will generally determine the term. You should also specify reasons for how the contract could be terminated.
To ensure that your contract is written correctly and is actually enforceable, we are happy to write your contract for you. Whether you’re located in the Houston, San Antonio, or Dallas areas -- we’ve got business attorneys that specialize in understanding your business and creating a contract that specifically address your needs.