Client Contracts: How Good Are Yours?
I’ve gone through a season recently of having enquiries from potential wedding couples where one of them is a lawyer. They’ve loved my work and wanted to move forward but every time we’ve gone to contract, they want to have multiple areas changed. It’s not always the same area either; it just seems like solicitors want to ‘one up’ one another and have their verbiage be the one that is used. I’ve refused to make any changes and lost all of these potential bookings. It’s frustrating to not get the gigs, but I also feel like I’ve avoided what could have been disaster clients.
For my business, I’ve gone to great lengths (and quite a bit of expense) in hiring my own legal professionals to help me generate an iron-clad contract. I run a DJ master-mind group and we recently shared all of our contracts amongst our group. I was completely dumbfounded by the simplicity of the contracts that other DJ companies in the group were using. Most just crafted something on a Word document that they themselves came up with – no legal jargon and quite frankly, it would be laughed at in a courtroom if they needed it for legal protection. Others found something online and just tweaked it for themselves. Both approaches are a bad idea.
We had a spirited discussion within our group about the purpose of a contract. For all of us, its primary purpose should be to protect us from any legal jeopardy. However, the second thing it should do is be an extension of our marketing. Your contract should be so unique, detailing exactly what you are providing and your differentiators, that there is no question that it is tailor-made for your company. I shouldn’t be able to just cut and paste another DJ company name into your contract. That would make you and your service a commodity instead of one of a kind.
I implore you to spend the money now to find a legal professional who can you help you craft this. Trust me, it’ll be much cheaper than running into a situation where you aren’t protected if there’s a problem. Don’t let this happen to you.
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 97, Pages 26-27.