What Contract Terms You Need to Protect Yourself & Your Biz
You’ve probably seen terms and conditions when using apps or downloading something. It’s that long document we all scroll through and (don’t) read. Did you know that these create a binding contract between you and the site, program, or app owner, indicating how each of you are allowed to use the product and information provided there? Yah… makes you want to read them now, huh?
Businesses make these because they need to cover all of their bases — and you should be doing the same (you’re a business now, heyyyy-o!). Selling a product or service requires that you don’t let just anyone put their grimey grubby paws all over your stuff, but how do you know exactly what to include so you keep the people you like around while kicking the PITA visitors, customers, and clients to the curb?
How to form a contract
After a semester of Contracts 101 in law school, you learn that to form a contract you need an offer, acceptance, and consideration which is just a fancy word for “you both lose something of value to you in the deal.” For example, I might lose my money and you might lose my time if I’m a business owner hiring you for coaching.
A contract doesn’t need to be written to be valid but dang it’s a bad idea not to get this important info recorded somewhere. It’s the business equivalent of throwing glitter in the air and trying to go find all the pieces later. They exist… you just… have no clue where.
This is what makes it essential for you to have a contract, in writing, that neatly sums up everything you and your clients want to happen in the course of your work together.
What terms should you include in your contract
Your terms and conditions in your contract outline the relationship between you and your client. While terms and conditions are not required by law, you’ll want to include them to ensure your product or service is being used the way you intended it to be.
Most terms and conditions include an introductory paragraph where you immediately let the clients know what the agreement is and when it applies to them, such as where our templates prompt you to fill this out in your “Services” section. This is a good starting point because it makes it very clear to the client what is included in the contract and how.
In your contract, you can dive in deep to the do’s and don’ts of your offer. For example, here at The Contract Shop®, the shop includes courses and other digital downloads. However, to use our courses, you agree not to copy or forward any of the work. This keeps our work protected and is part of the terms our User Agreement.
At a bare minimum your contract should include things like the effective date of the agreement, an acceptance (something to the effect of “by downloading this template, you agree…), a confidentiality clause, how and when payments are due, and information about terminating or cancelling the contract.
Another benefit of having a solid set of contract terms is that you can limit your liability in the case of a lawsuit. For example, our templates limit the amount of time a client has to bring any cause of legal action after their work with you wraps up!
Cover your booty, cutie
Entering into a contract with someone should include important terms and conditions. Why? Well to cover your butt should anything arise. You want to go to sleep soundly at night knowing that you are protected. We covered all that above, though.
Do you already have a contract and just want to make sure you’re completely covered? If you don’t, we likely have one that will work for you. From coaching to equine photography to graphic design, we have a variety of contracts that were created by an attorney and revised by other attorneys for maximum quality. Plus, hundreds (and maybe even thousands) of other creatives have used our templates so we know they’re airtight.