If you’ve been hanging out with me here at The Contract Shop for any length of time, you’ll know that I am a big believer in having a solid client contract for your business. (Understatement of the year, right there.)
I’ve just seen too many situations where having a contract in place beforehand would have saved an entrepreneur’s sanity and in some cases… from some serious financial consequences.
But despite allllll my preaching, I still get quite a few people who are hesitant to invest in this aspect of their business…because of the cost of the template.
I get it, I get it. I really do. Dropping $300+ on some piddly documents when you’re still bootstrapping yourself along feels like a big payout for not much return.
So today, I wanted to talk a bit about that return:
Why are my contracts so damned expensive?!
And what are you getting when you pay that price?
1. Each template is peer reviewed on an annual basis
So, you all know me as the Emory Law School graduate who then promptly ran away from any jobs that were remotely legally-related, until I finally realized how useful my skills could be to all ofyou – entrepreneurs who needed rock-solid legal help without the rock-solid price tag.
I write each of these documents with the creative entrepreneur in mind. But, to make sure that they offer the very, very best legal protection they possibly can, I also have each document reviewed by a cadre of my legal peers…each and every year.
That’s not just me going “Oh hey, I’ll toss this document off and get it checked over for any glaring mistakes.” That’s me going “Man, I want to make sure that this contract is in line with all the newest laws and regulations, so I want multiple pairs of eyes on this puppy!”
So ultimately, you’re not just paying formy time, you’re also paying formultiple lawyers’ time… but still at a fraction of their hourly price!
2. Yearly updates are included in the price of the contract
It would be easy to justify yearly license renewals for each of these documents. After all, these contracts aren’t a review-once-and-done and upload for purchase kind of deal. Having them reviewed annually means that hours and hours of work are sunk into each one.
But I’m not a software company, and I don’t believe in making you pay again for something you’ve already purchased.
Because of that, every time your contract goes through review and is updated, you get a new version of the document to download.
3. Contracts are written foryour industry, by someone who understands your business
Remember that whole bit about running away from law school after graduation? Yeah, after that, I tried my hand at freelance graphic design, calligraphy services, teaching yoga classes, and as a hobby photographer… just to name a few.
I loved each and every one of of these ventures, but ultimately came back to what I knew best because I found a gaping black hole in the creative industry where solid legal advice and affordable documents should have lived.
All of this to say – yes, you could go to a local lawyer, and (depending on your location) pay $300-$500/hr for custom drafted documents unique to your business. But the chances are really high (okay, like almost 100% high) that your local lawyer (who has not been a freelancer, has probably never heard of virtual assistants, and still isn’t sure what Instagram “stories” are) won’t have addressed everything you need.
This isn’t really a failing on their part – after all – they’re not familiar with the unique needs ofyour industry. But I am.
If I had the choice between dropping a couple hundred on a template created specifically for my business niche, versus paying the big bucks for something that could still have legal loopholes, well… I know what MY choice would be.
4. Protection against mistakes that could cost you BIG time
It’s really tempting to think that you’ll always have nice clients and you’ll never run into issues, but unfortunately, that’s just not true.
In my time experimenting with different creative ventures and as a lawyer for creatives, I’ve seen the following situations happen:
The Photographer Who Caused $400K+ in Damages
A photographer was shooting a friend’s wedding and accidentally triggered the fire sprinkler system, causing more than $400,000 worth of damage to the hotel, the wedding dress, decorations, food… you name it. The photographer didn’t have a contract or insurance because her business was “just a hobby.”
The Dressmaker With No Dress
A dressmaker, working on faith with a very excited customer, ordered more than a $1,000 worth of fabric, beading, and other materials… before the customer ghosted on her, never to be heard from again. Unfortunately, the dressmaker didn’t have a contract and didn’t ask for a deposit. So she was left with fancy materials she couldn’t easily use and no recourse to recoup her costs.
The Creative Plagued by Chargebacks and Refunds
Multiple entrepreneurs with online businesses and courses who have had to give refunds and lost money in their businesses… all for the lack of a clear Terms and Conditions contract with a refunds policy.
Don’t be one of these entrepreneurs!Protect yourself, your house, your investments, and your business. Seriously, is not wanting to pay a couple hundred now worth the risk of having to pay out thousands later?
5. Solid legal protection… in plain, understandable English
Many legal documents and lawyers get a bad rap for using “legalese.” If you’re not familiar with that term, that’s all the incomprehensible mumbo hither herein therein that makes legal contracts impossible to understand.
I don’t write contracts that way. In fact, I pride myself on making sure that my contracts are written in everyday English that you can understand and easily explain to your clients.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that these contracts are less legally binding than the other, more “Legalish” ones out there. These documents are every bit as legal as the old school types.
6. Coming soon: More resources for implementing effectively
I’m suuuuuuper excited to announce that here at The Contract Shop, we’re working on a couple more ways to make your purchase even more bombass than it already is.
First, we’re working on a “Hold My Hand” video guide to walk you through your contract so that all your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted… and you can understand each and every clause and teach your clients and customers what they mean.
Second, we’re not too far away from launching a membership community focused on teaching you how to use your contract with clients, and leveraging it to create an even better client experience for them.
Both of these resources will be coming soon, so look for more announcements about them in the near future.
Ready to take the plunge and protect yourself and your livelihood?Click here to find the contract that is just right for you and your business.