In business, whether you’re a consultant, a programmer, or a stylist, the first tool in your legal box should be a service agreement. We often talk about how important it is to get all of your business relationships on paper, but if you’re still on the fence about why you should invest in a properly written legal document, this post is for you!
Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding service agreements or would like to get one drafted or reviewed, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To set expectations
The first reason why you should ALWAYS use a service agreement is to set expectations between the parties. What is the work you will be delivering? When will you be delivering it? Are revisions included in the set price and if so, how many? Will the work be delivered in different stages? Is there any testing involved? Visual guidelines to follow? Depending on the industry you work in, the expectations will be different: this is why you need a clear agreement that is drafted to fit the particularities of your industry or your client’s industry.
To get paid
This is a relatively obvious reason, but having a service agreement allows the client to know how much you will be getting paid, when you will be getting paid, and for what work. Do you ask for a deposit? What happens if the client doesn’t pay on time? How much interest will you be asking for? Those are all questions your service agreement should be answering.
To keep your clientele
Being in business is tough and the last thing you want is a client reaching to your current or previous clients to offer the same services you do. This is why a non-solicitation clause is essential. Such a clause should however be reasonable and non abusive. Otherwise, it could be deemed non valid by a judge.
To get out of an unwanted business relationship
Your client has not been paying you? What happens with the work you have already done for your client once you terminate your business relationship? A proper service agreement should include when the contract can be terminated, for what reasons, as well as what is going to happen after it is terminated.
To protect your intellectual property
If you are in a business where you create work for your clients (graphic design for instance), chances are you will be giving them the rights to the content you create for them. But what about the educational documentation you provide your clients with, your visual guidelines, your presentations? Service agreements should therefore include an intellectual property clause to protect all the content you have created that needs to stay yours.
Service agreements are important and should not be taken lightly. Investing in the drafting of a proper service agreement by a lawyer could save you a lot of trouble. If you’re looking to get a new service agreement drafted or your current one reviewed, do not hesitate to send us an email at email@example.com or click here to schedule a consultation.