Have I mentioned how important contracts are for your business? I mean, probably right? Just kidding. Go scroll through my other articles and you’ll see that if I can fit in discussing the importance of contracts, I will.
Today I wanted to go over some more frequently asked questions I get from people regarding contracts for their one on one clients. Recently I worked with an online fitness coach in developing a contract that can be used in the business repeatedly with each client she signs. I also helped navigate the muddy waters of liability waivers and informed consent forms to be incorporated in the overall contract. If you’re a fitness coach, you may want to check out this article for an overview of why having any of these contracts in place is especially important for your line of work. If you’re not, then keep reading.
Most Commonly asked questions and the most general responses:
- A new client signed up to work with me, do I need to get something in writing or will our email exchange/application process be enough?
No. Although in a court battle your email exchanges and/or client application might hold up and provide you with some direction on how to handle whatever bad situation you’re in, that is not ideal. Get a new, specific contract signed by your client! You want to make sure this contract spells out the terms of your agreement within all of those emails and texts, so that your client can’t come back later and dispute something. Your contract should also contain proper disclaimers if you’re working with people in the health/life/coaching space. You’re not a doctor, therapist, lawyer etc. and your contract needs to reflect that.
And perhaps more importantly for you, a proper contract will explain all payment terms so you can actually get paid for the work you do! Think about refunds, late fees, payment plans, cancellations etc.
If you need help drafting a one on one client contract, just let me know, I think I know someone that can help.
- I work online-my client is in NY and I am in FL should I designate what law controls?
Well, if you work with an attorney on drafting your agreement they will ensure there is a choice of law provision designating your home state as the state whose law will control. This is because, if an action is brought by your client against you, you don’t want to have to fly to wherever they might live to litigate. But, if you’re buying a contract from one of those pre-made contract websites, or even an attorney website that sells these types of contracts, be sure to check for a choice of law provision, and that it has the state you want to litigate in filled in that spot. And from a practical prospective, often times when a client sees that they would have to bring an action against you in another state, they will think twice about filing a lawsuit against you. So, just keep that in mind!
- Do I have to print this off, sign it and send it to my client to do the same?
Nope! This is one area where the law has caught up to technology, in most states that is. This is a major rarity when it comes to the law so please utilize this one! You can and totally should get an e-signature from your client if your jurisdiction approves them. A document that is e-signed through something like HelloSign or Docusign will be viewed as a perfectly valid and enforceable signature for your contract. Word of caution though, it is important to use a site or a software specifically for e-signatures because they will track the document, and provide metadata that shows your client signed the document from his or her computer or IP address. Plus, they’ll have copies of the document on file for download when you need it.
- Is my business party to this contract or am I?
The contract should be between your business entity, (probably an LLC) and the client. For example, if my client was Daisy Montgomery the contract would be between Montgomery Law PLLC and Daisy Montgomery. Side note: I wish Daisy could be a client, but alas there is likely a conflict of interest there…
- Can I manage client expectations with the use of a contract?
You totally 100% can and should. Your contract should do more than just outline what services you will provide and the fees you are charging. It should also include thigns like what your expectations of that client are. Will there be weekly check ins? Should the client be tracking progress somehow? Are they allowed to call you 24/7 with issues? Think about your ideal client relationship, and map it out in your contract so your client knows exactly what to expect from you, and what they are expected to give to you during the process.
Short but sweet…
I get asked more questions from a potential client than what’s above, but those are the most frequently asked questions. Hopefully this will help you navigate your client contracts and your client relationships and keep your business moving forward as you grow and build! If you need help drafting a contract to be used in your business, you can email me at Shannon@montgomerypllc.com I would be happy to help!
Please note that this is not meant to be legal advice for you or your situation, this is merely some legal research and knowledge on the given topic.