How do you use Contracts?


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Hey All,

I got approached to do some consulting work/a website build, and as I'm putting the proposal to lay out what I'll do I got thinking about a contract. Where should I get a contract? Are there templates people recommend using that I can edit? Should I hire a lawyer to make one for me? Where should I start with this?

In the past I never used a contract for consulting work, it was just an agreement on deliverables.

What do you think? I need some opinions & help on this one
 

Blake Denman

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I had my lawyer do one. Explained everything we did and what we wanted in the contract. Ran me close to $600 but it was money worth spent.

There are some templates you can find online, then send it to an attorney for review and to make additions you want.
 

CodyBaird

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I don't. Why? Because I've been around long enough to know that if someone is going to avoid paying. Legal won't help. It will just cost you more to not recoup the losses.

Save time, money, and stress by saying no to the guy/girl/business you feel needs a contract.

Spend more time on clients that pay well and on time. Spend more time finding clones of your perfect clients.

Spend more time helping, writing, speaking, networking, drinking, etc where your ideal clients pass time.
 

Tim Colling

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I use contracts.

Actually, I use proposals which become "agreements" (contracts) when the client signs them to accept them.

Why?

For one thing, probably because I've been involved in a lot of different businesses over the years, everything from public accounting to chemical manufacturing to commercial software development and, more recently, elder care services.

I've seen what can go wrong when you don't commit things to writing. I've been involved in deals involving millions of dollars and I've seen what happens when the contracts involved did not adequately address the things that were important. Although I'm not a lawyer, I was deeply involved in most of the technology licensing agreements entered into by several different big software companies while I worked at those firms.

Also, I'm an accountant and an engineer, so I'm probably detail-oriented by nature.

Generally, people are willing to put down in writing that which they really are willing to promise to do. If they're not willing to put a promise in writing, that makes me wonder, "why not?"

Contracts provide an opportunity to commit to what each party will do and (sometimes) what each party won't do. They also provide an opportunity to say what the deliverables will do and what they won't do.

I've never lost a potential client by wanting to have a contract in place with them.

For those who say they don't use contracts, I am curious: do you have some form of outline of your "conditions of satisfaction" with clients, such as payment terms, due dates for client deliverables, and so forth?

Your mileage may vary.
 
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@Tim,

I think I agree with your line of thinking when it comes to contracts. I've done work without them in the past, and the biggest pain in the A is collecting payment. Either they forget (everyone is busy), or we see the worst of all... scope creep.

I feel like having the month by month outline of deliverables and the pricing in the proposal, then having both parties sign would be legally binding. As long as you throw a few disclaimers about the unknown of ranking fluctuations and no guarantee about ranking, someone would be sufficiently covered right?
 
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