The Introduction of Client Contracts and Why It Had To Happen
The day has finally come where I need all clients to sign a contract regarding our terms and conditions for non-payment prior to commencing work. This is sad in that it adds an extra step to the order process and more administration for both of us but it had to happen and today is the day.
Why is today the day? Because today I had a client tell me that they had found an alternative supplier that priced lower and that unless I could match their price, he was going to go with them. Now that’s fine IF the work hadn’t already been completed at my end. And just to clarify – when I say work, I mean the phone consultation, the writing of the document and the follow up where the client accepted the work and stated that it was all good.
To put this in context it’s like going to your local restaurant, ordering your meal and then seeing a sign out the window that the restaurant across the road has the same dish on special. Without cancelling your order you go next door and order the same meal and when your meal arrives at the first restaurant you take a bite and say ‘Hey, it’s good but next door is cheaper so unless you can give it to me for the same price, I’m going to eat there instead and I’m not going to pay you because I’m not actually eating the meal you cooked”. Ummmmmm, do you see my point?
And hey if you are reading this, no hard feelings! Thanks in advance for such a powerful lesson in protecting myself and ensuring that this never happens again.J
Anyway, you live and learn and I’ve learnt that as much I want to create a risk free and easy order process for my clients I also have to protect myself – hence the contract.
You can find the key points of my contract here:
1. You will be issued with an invoice when you receive your draft copy of the document. Once any edits or changes have been made this invoice needs to be paid within (5) days. You will not receive your final (un- watermarked) version until payment has been made.
2. To be eligible for a non-payment you will need to participate in a five minute telephone exit interview with me to explain your reasons for requesting a non-payment and to pin point the areas you were not satisfied with. (Please note this is not to be hard on you, rather it is to ensure that if I’ve spent the time working on your requirements, you have the time to spend five minutes with me to tell me where I got it wrong so I don’t make the same mistake again.)
3. Non-payment is only an option if there is an issue with the work quality that cannot be rectified or I fail to meet your deadline. The following are not valid reasons for non-payment:
• You no longer require the service but forgot to cancel your order
• You found a cheaper supplier in the meantime
• You are running short on cash at the moment
• You have decided not to apply for the job
• You used two providers at the same time and liked their version better
• You don’t have time to do the 5 minute exit interview
4. I realise that situations change and that sometimes you need to cancel your order. That’s fine. Let me know as soon as you know and I’ll only charge you for the work done (and send you the completed work as evidence that I’ve done what I said I would). So if you cancel the order and I haven’t started on it yet, you pay nothing. If I’m half way through you pay 50% etc.
5. Additionally I understand that when you are looking for a job you don’t always have access to the funds you need in advance. I get it – but this is something you and I need to discuss prior to work being started. I have at times put clients on payment plans if they let me know in advance about their issue. This is my choice and each situation is analysed on an individual basis. Do not sign this document if you do not have the funds available to pay for the service. Contact me direct instead and see if I can work something out for you.
6. Once payment has been made you own the rights to the work. In the event of a non-payment I own the rights to the work. If you do not own the rights to the work and use it or any part of it, you will be prosecuted under law for breach of copyright.
7. This contract is legally binding and all non-payments that have not completed the exit process will be followed up on and forwarded to a debt collection agency as part of the legal process.
8. Unless otherwise stated on this document the following prices apply:
• Resume $149
• Cover Letter $49
• Selection Criteria $199 for the first six points and $30 excess fee for each point after six.
So there you have it; the key points that will be addressed in all future contracts. I knew everybody else used them but I really thought that being a small independent contractor I could skirt the issue. I apologize in advance for the extra paper work but it had to happen. Just a reminder that I love working with you guys and girls and look forward to helping you with all your employment related needs in the future.