Should I get a contract template or a custom contract?

This question turns up in my inbox quite a bit, and today I want to have a frank discussion about the pros and cons of having a custom contract created for you versus buying a template and customizing it yourself.

You’d think that something created specifically for you and your business would always be the best option, right? Well, no, not necessarily!

First… what’s the difference between a custom contract and a contract template?

In a nutshell, to get a custom contract, you’ve got to find a lawyer who (hopefully) specializes in your industry, sign an attorney-client agreement, and then pay them to write an original contract that is tailored to you, your business, and your concerns.

In contrast, contract templates are pre-written. You just pay once, download, read, and customize with your information.

(The quality of contract templates can vary drastically, so it’s important to make sure you start off with something that’s well written, and I do NOT recommend trying to pinch pennies for this. Look for a solid product instead of cobbling together three different contracts you’ve downloaded from and lying awake at night hoping you got the legalese right!)

So with that basic difference explained, why exactly am I recommending that you go with a template?

Put simply, it’s a better investment for your business and can offer more protection in the long run.

Click here to find out if your business is legal and legit!

1. You’re not starting from ground zero

Every time I draft a custom template for a client in my law firm (a separate business), we’re starting from scratch. That means hours of research, writing, and revision… which I’ve already done for the template version available in my shop! Why pay for all that time spent when you can get my expertise and a solid, industry-specific contract template at a fraction of the cost?

2. Client-tested, rock-solid contracts

It would take one person or business YEARS to face all the cray-cray my templates have stood up to. Instead of a brand new, untested contract, I’d rather have a template that’s been through the wringer and incorporates all the feedback and crazy situations posed by hundreds of customers. Think of it this way — would you rather buy the first house a builder builds? Or the 57th?

When you hire a local 1-800-CALL-JON, you have no idea if that attorney has the industry experience to know about situations you may find yourself in (and subsequently protect you from them in your contract). While I’m sure Jon is a great attorney, I’m not so sure he knows anything about theft of Instagram photos or stationery design revisions.  

3. Regularly revised and updated

Custom contracts are a one-and-done deal. They don’t get updated unless the client pays me to review them on a regular basis. Nothing can ever be perfect, but our contract templates are reviewed at least quarterly for updated laws, regulations, business practices, industry changes, ease-of-use, and grammar — not just by me, but ALSO by a cadre of my peers.

4. No sticker shock!

Custom contracts are great — if you hate your money. I try to steer my law firm clients away from custom contracts because they’re EXPENSIVE! I’ve found that they’re always really excited and “don’t care about the expense,” at least, until the bill comes. Eeek. I tried to warn them.

5. Get your game face on, quickly

Potential clients won’t wait for you. Part of the reason I started TCS is because, when I started my first creative business, I lost TWO CLIENTS when I couldn’t get a contract to them in a timely fashion. They moved on and went with someone else. Pretty lame for a lawyer, huh? My hope is that you will have our easy-to-use templates downloaded and filled out in 10 minutes or less from the time of purchase. So even if you’re brand spankin’ new, you can look profesh and legit ASAP.

Need it summed up?

Custom contract = money, money, annnnnd (you got it) more money

Contract template = expertise, revisions, and a professional product at an affordable price

To me it’s a no brainer… I’d much rather take the money I’d save and reinvest it in my business, or treat myself to a night out with friends, or… you get the picture.

Ready to look super professional and legally protect yourself and your work?Click here to browse the contracts we offer and find the one that’s just right for you and your biz! Not sure which one is best? We recommend theIndependent Contractor template as a catch all.

Should I get a contract template or a custom contract?

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