The year is almost over and, if you’re reading this in 2020, you know it’s beena year. We’re all eagerly awaiting its end, and definitely looking forward to 2021 with optimism. If you’re reading this in the future, let us know how that worked out for us.
But like any end-of-year season, I know this is the perfect time to wrap things up, reflect on the last year, and make a plan for the year ahead… but there’s one thing I don’t want you to overlook.
Yup, you guessed it: Your contracts.
Why do you need to update your contracts?
Contracts aren’t just groan-worthy boring documents — they’re part of your client experience and part of what makes your business so successful. And no, I’m not just saying that because I’m a lawyer.
Your clients actually love that you’re paying attention to your contracts, dotting your i’s, and crossing your t’s. It lets them know you’re a professional and that you still care about their project or their business.
Plus, I don’t want you to wait until something breaks in your business or a client tries to ask for their deposit back for you to look at your contract. Instead, here are THREE SIGNS you should really refresh those contracts before 2021 rolls around.
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Sign #1: Payment delays
Are you being paid fairly and on time? Is there a client who stretches their invoice deadlines, or pays you when they feel like it? Yup, it’s time to update that contract with more specific invoice deadlines — and make sure you include clarity on what happens when they don’t hit that deadline. Are you charging interest? Does work pause until the invoice is paid?
Tip: highlight those provisions that your clients tend to “overlook” or “forget” so you know they see them in the updated version!
Sign #2: Scope and boundary creep
Do you have projects where it feels like tiny little things keep getting added to your plate? Are you starting to resent that one client who asks for “just one more little fix”? Update that contract to include clear scope and clearer boundaries. This might include the exact deliverables, timelines, number of edits, etc. You should also include any expectations you want to set, such as response times, office hours, call availability, etc.
Sign #3: There are cobwebs
If you’re drawing a blank thinking about the last time you updated your contract, just do us both a favor and review your contract. Please. It will only take 20 - 30 minutes and it can save your booty big time.
Need help refreshing your contract?
After reading those three signs, you might realize something: “Uh oh, my client doesn’t have [insert section or clause.” If you realize that your contract doesn’t cover the things you need to add in or want to update, it might be time for a new contract.The Contract Shop® is always here for you if you’re ready to get your legal-ish together.
If a new contract is not in the books for you right now, but you’re worried you’re missing something #important in your contract, you can check out our Rock Solid Contract Blueprint.
This guide makes it easy to compare what you SHOULD have in a client contract to what you actually have. And helps you fix it… no judgment.
Let’s get those contracts on point for 2021!