October 04, 2022
"Do I need a custom contract or can I use a contract template?" This question turns up in our inbox quite a bit, and today we want to have a frank discussion about the pros and cons of having a custom contract vs a contract template.
You’d think that something created specifically for you and your business would always be the best option, right? Well, no, not necessarily!
Let’s break down the differences between the two first.
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.
To get a contract template, all you have to do is pay for one once, download it, and customize it with your information. Easy peasy. When you’re just starting out with your business, this is often the safest, most affordable, and quickest option.
But if you need more convincing, let’s talk about why you should use a contract template over a custom contract.
Every time a lawyer drafts a custom contract for a client, they start from scratch. That means hours of research, writing, and revision...that you have to pay for. And if things change, YOU have to pay again. Why do all that when you can get a lawyer’s expertise and a solid, industry-specific contract template at a fraction of the cost?
Would you rather buy the first house a builder builds, or the 57th? In other words, wouldn’t you rather have a template that’s held up against all sorts of sticky legal situations?
A brand new, untested custom contract hasn’t been through the wringer yet. And if you hire a local attorney to draft your contract, you may not know if that attorney has the industry experience and knowledge to give you the protection you need in your contract.
There’s tons of different legal situations you could run into, but you may not even know what they are unless you’ve had someone go through it before. A contract template from us means you’re getting years and years and experience — including crazy situations (like flooding 4 floors in a hotel…yes, it’s a real story from a real client) that come out of left field.
Custom contracts are a one-and-done deal. They don’t get updated unless you pay your attorney to review and revise them on a regular basis. Yep, you have to pay for each revision.
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. That saves you time and money, not to mention the stress that your contract isn’t up to par.
And we’ll let you in on a little secret — attorneys are basically pulling from standardized templates anyways. So you’re paying for a baseline, re-used template, AND the revisions — and it’ll cost ya.
Custom contracts are great...if you hate your money. If you’re an entrepreneur, we’re pretty sure you don’t.
We tend to steer creative business owners away from custom contracts because they’re expensive. A new custom contract can cost anywhere from $750 to $3,000. Plus, you need a new one each time you book a new client, start a new project, and so on. That adds up fast.
A custom contract means only one client will see it. All those hours of work and all that money for just one person. But with a template, you buy it once and then can use it an unlimited number of times.
Part of the reason we launched The Contract Shop® is that our founder, Christina, lost clients when she couldn’t get their contracts to them quickly enough. Attorneys are notorious for moving slowly.
So, they moved on and went with someone else.
Take it from us: potential clients won’t wait for you. When you go with a contract template, our hope is that you can have it downloaded and filled out in 10 minutes or less from the time of purchase. So even if you’re a brand-spankin' new biz owner, you can look profesh and legit ASAP.
To sum up, a custom contract usually involves money, money, and — you got it — more money. A contract template, on the other hand, gets you expertise, regular revisions, multiple uses, and a professional product at an affordable price.
So, are you ready to look super professional and legally protect yourself and your work? We have lots of contract templates for all sorts of professions and industries, so you can find the one that’s just right for you and your biz! Not sure which one is best? We recommend the Independent Contractor template to cover all your bases.