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3 Contract Tips That Will Make Your Life (Much) Easier

This isn’t one of those Buzzfeed/Upworth headlines like “…what happened next will shock you!” This is real: we really think these tips will make your business life much easier.

If you’ve been around these parts for a while you know that we love to yammer on about the importance of contracts—but that’s just because we’ve seen them either SAVE tons of asses, or SCREW people over big time. And we want you to be in the former group. So today we’re gonna talk about how to make sure you have a fully signed contract for every person you work with—that you can easily find later (without having to dig for hours).

Tip #1: Create contract templates for your main offerings

One hurdle many business owners encounter when they get serious about sending contracts to all their clients is the creating part. Instead of drafting a new contract each time, set aside some time this week to create basic templates for each of your main offerings.

For example, if you have 3 main packages, start with those. While most of the contract stays the same, you’ll want to edit the scope of work and payment terms for each package. Consider any other policies you want to memorialize in this version that may require editing.

Once you’ve edited the template, be sure to save it in a specific place and name it something very obvious. For example over at the law office, we keep a dropbox folder with all of our current engagement agreement templates. If we have someone buy a trademark, our intake specialist just pulls up the “Trademark Package Engagement Agreement 2015” document and loads it up into HelloSign to send.

Tip #2 Use electronic signing software

We’ve talked about this before but it definitely bears repeating. Nothing slows down a contract signature more than needing to print, sign, and scan it before the client can send it back. So, find an application or program that works for you. We’re big fans of HelloSign because they have a decent free offer and their lowest tier plan is pretty cost effective for most businesses. They also have great customer service which is always essential for anything we use.

We’ve also heard good things about DocuSign but a quick google search for electronic signatures will get you a bunch of different options to check out. (Sorry, scanners and fax machines.)

Tip #3 Save your own copy of the signed signature

It can be tempting to leave the signed contracts in whatever e-signing program you end up with. However, if you ever decide to leave that program or they decide to close their doors, you’ll be stuck having to download ALL the signed contracts at once and that’s a recipe for disaster. So, set up a system to download all the signed contracts on a regular basis. And again, put them all in one place and name them descriptively so when you need that one client contract from 4 years ago, you’ll have no trouble finding it.

Well, folks, that’s all there is to it. Once you get in this groove you’ll be like, “Why did I ever think contacts were annoying?” Promise.

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Comments

  1. I found your suggestion of using electronic signing very interesting and helpful. I’m curious if you have any other application or program that works well for you? Thank you for sharing your tips of creating contracts.

  2. I like the suggestion to save your own copy of the signed contract between you and a business or you and a lawyer. Having a regular copy of your contracts gives you more a surety that the companies you used to get the contract won’t go out of business. I personally like to have a copy of every document that I sign or any document that affects my way of life. This way I can ensure that I will always have access to the document and I won’t have to worry about the contract holder being unavailable.

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