We have so much to do in our businesses that when it comes to administrative items, we just want to check off a task and never think of it again. I’ll bet it’s been a while since you looked over your client contract, hasn’t it? (And you DO have a contract, RIGHT?) Business changes, you add new services, you decide to change how you charge – all of these things need to be clearly spelled out in your contract. Incorrect information or wishy-washy language can really get you in trouble. So here are some things to review in your client contract:
The Trouble with Mark-Ups
Are you giving specific percentages for marking up your products? You might want to talk about that with your lawyer ASAP! There have been some high-profile cases where that has gotten an interior designer into hot water. Remember that not only can your client be held to your contract, so can YOU. So be sure the language is clear and what you’re promising is what you are really delivering. Clients are demanding more and more transparency in how we sell our products, so your contract needs to be up-to-date with your policies.
Think About Photography
Have you ever gotten to the end of your project – all excited about how it’s going to look in a magazine – only to be told that your client no longer wants to have it photographed?! ACK! It’s so much better to have your expectations detailed in your client contract. And you should go over it with them before you even start. That way, the idea that you will photograph the project is right there from the beginning. You can always assure them that you won’t use their names if that worries them. But those photographs are our bread-and-butter – they are critical! Your client needs to know that.
Show Me the Money
A contract also helps you get paid! Review the language about when and how you want to be paid, particularly if you’re being paid in installments. Having a credit card number that can be automatically charged will really help you get paid instead of chasing a check. So if you want to only be paid by credit card or cash, then say that! And please don’t tell me that you purchase product before you are paid IN FULL by the client for that product! Yep, I have learned the hard way! It’s as if you’ve become a lending institution. So spell out the idea that you don’t order anything until you’re paid for it!
There are SO many important things to cover in your client contract – to protect you and your client. So please have a lawyer review it, and talk carefully with her about how your business has changed! If you need a little push to put this on your To Do List, then download my FREE document that helps you prioritize and categorize what you need to get done!