I work with many startups helping them develop and grow their companies further. The one thing which, at all times, I ask when we first decide to work together is ” do you have your contracts in place when deciding to work with new business relations?
Starting work with a new client may be an exciting experience, however, who knows if the relationship stands the worth of time and the paperwork isn’t in order how might this affect the business relationship in the long run?
It’s important to ensure you are covered and the client has a clear understanding of the working relationship between you both. It’s also important to outline the roles each party plays in gaining great success for both parties. From my own personal experience, here are some point, which may help you with agreeing and maintaining a healthy working relationship and continuous business connection.
Do yourself a favour. Only ever start working together once you have a signed a written contract. Use standard business terms and conditions along with a Letter of Engagement. The letter takes about 15 minutes to write up and send. (Happy to work with you to help you get a contract in place!) We all have digital technology. They are able to sign, scan and return immediately by email if they are keen for you to start work straight away. [Tip: No scanner? Most cameras on smartphones are high enough quality to get a digital version in place while the hard copy is in the post]
Breathe, pause, think and THEN respond. Refrain from succumbed to pressure or desperation to helping this new business relation (turning eventually into a client) straight away. If a client is serious about working with you, they are dedicated to signing the documents – yours or their own so everyone may start to work protected from the outset.
Without a signed contract, or one never even provided, your position may be far from clear. Yes, should for some reason you go to Court you because you far from setting up a contract and now you are disputing, you may prove you did work for the client with emails, timesheets, documents, meeting notes etc. then English Contract Law may apply. However, it may be your legal responsibility to ‘mitigate my losses’. You have a duty to replace the lost income. You may only go after the client for actual income lost only by evidence.
With a contract, all in place from the beginning, this concern, extra court time and stress may be completely eliminated. Do yourself a favour, keep your health and happiness intact and start with a written contract from day one! You’ll thank yourself in the end.