Why You Need a Contract

If you are operating on any sort of consultant basis, meaning you’re providing your client with information or training based on your knowledge & experience, you should have a contract for ALL of the services you provide. This may seem obvious, but more often than not companies launch into projects, especially smaller ones, with no signed contract and the best of intentions. Sometimes it all works out, but too often working without a contract can lead to misunderstandings and bad blood when the work is complete. A solid contract should include the following information:

1. Exactly what you are being contracted to do, and if necessary, what you ARE NOT being contracted to do for the client.
2. Who the actors in the work will be: what employees from the client’s office and who is the point man from your company.
3. Timeline: How long (sometimes these dates are approximate) will the contract take?
4. What you need from the client: We’ve all been there – waiting on the client for information in order to proceed.
5. Cost: What you get paid. If there’s a flat rate it is essential that you provide precise detail as to what is included, and an hourly or additional rate for any work above and beyond the flat rate prices.

At the end of the day you owe it to yourself AND to your client to provide a detailed, comprehensive contract that helps to manage expectations and communicate what will take place as you embark upon new project. Your client will have a clear understanding as to what is expected of THEM, what you will do, and when it will happen. You won’t work for free or have to do additional work if your client isn’t keeping to the timeline laid out in the contract. Projects will run, and most importantly END more smoothly with more satisfaction for both parties if a solid, detailed contract is developed before it begins.