There are three situations in which you need a contract. If any of them apply to you, then yes, it's time for a contract.
Situation 1: You are running a business and want your clients to treat you like a business owner. Nothing screams "hobby" like a duct-taped contract falling apart at the seams. Contracts are there not as a pain, but as a tool you can use to both build trust with your clients and convey that you know what you're doing (even if it feels like you don't! shhh, we won't tattle). Contracts are a vital part of every great client experience.
Situation 2: You need to get paid. If you do not need to get paid for whatever service or product you're providing to a client, then it probably doesn't matter whether you have the agreement in writing or not. If your service/product is only given as a gift, a contract wouldn't be very helpful anyway.
Situation 3: You need to cover your butt. What's more expensive than a contract template? A lawsuit. Even if it's only in small claims court, or if it's totally bogus and has no merit, you still have to answer these things. Translated? An answer to a "complaint" (aka lawsuit) costs at best hundreds of dollars more than a template. Each of these templates are crafted to minimize the risk to you and your business, and reduce the amount of money you could be on the hook for if a client goes nutso.
We get this question so often that we wrote a blog post about it!
The short answer is, no, we merely provide lawyer-drafted and reviewed templates. Law firms provide custom legal advice and solutions based on your problems and questions at hand.
These templates are designed as a solution to remedy the most common situations as well as the ones you hadn’t thought about yet. Despite this — they are still a better solution 99% of the time for anyone who is taking a look at their contracts + client experience for the first time.
Sound legal advice can only be given by a lawyer who knows your business and specific situation inside and out. The Contract Shop® merely provides products and business support; it does not advise on any legal issues.
Christina Scalera, founder of TCS, has a separate law firm. You can click here if you are interested in more custom services.
No, nor do I recommend it. Electronic signing (e-signing) is way more convenient for your clients, and shows them that you are going to be considerate of their most precious resource: their time.
By using reputable e-signing platforms, your clients will have a better experience and the e-signature can be traced to their IP address, which is arguably better proof of who signed a contract than a physical signature since physical signatures can be forged, while IP addresses must be traced to a specific computer using a specific wifi system.
Christina here... and I actually think that no, it is not worth it to spend your money on a custom contract. I have so many reasons why that I'm turning it into a future blog post... but suffice to say, you will spend WAY more money for not a lot of ROI.
Our templates are drafted by Christina Scalera, a licensed attorney in Georgia. They are then peer reviewed by at least two licensed attorneys — one based in the US and one based in the country the template is to be used in.
For example, if you purchase a Canadian contract template, it will have been drafted by Christina Scalera, reviewed by a US-based attorney, and reviewed by a Canadian attorney.
Not to brag (okay, totally bragging), but our contract templates have been signed by people like Danielle LaPorte, featured on Ramit Sethi’s Growth Lab blog and we're the go-to for companies like HoneyBook®.
When you buy a service agreement template from The Contract Shop®, you get:
• A peer-reviewed contract drafted by Christina Scalera, a licensed attorney in Georgia. These templates have been reviewed by multiple lawyers, which means you're getting the expertise of a handful of attorneys at only a fraction of their hourly rates.
• The peace of mind knowing that your contract was written for your industry by someone who understands your business.
• Solid protection in plain English. We skip the legalese, so you can please your clients with a contract they can understand.
• Yearly updates! It would be easy to justify yearly license renewals for each of these documents, but I don’t believe in making you pay again for something you’ve already purchased.
We really hope you don’t get that far! To learn more about how the dispute process works and the steps that come waaaay before ending up in court, click here.
That said, if you were to get to litigation, the most important thing to have at your disposal is a clear, unambiguous list of what your rights and responsibilities with your client were/are.
Our templates provide that, plus the necessary language around dispute resolution and the things that make a contract legally sound + legit for biz use.
These are things like:
• Where a dispute will be negotiated, or litigated, if it comes to that; and
• What your cancellation policy is, and how that will be enforced (the template allows you to choose, with suggested language); and
• The fact that this contract is your full and final agreement — if it’s not, you’re left hunting around your email, texts and Facebook messages for the final say on an issue, blech!
Another popular question that has merited its own blog post. Click here to read about why these templates still apply to you, regardless of the state you do business in.
From time to time, this happens. We don't want you to seem like a clueless service provider (even if you are! we all start somewhere) so we've created our Hold My Hand guides that walk you through your own template.
You can watch the whole thing, or skip right to the section of the contract the client has a question about. If you have five minutes to prep with us and return your client's call, you can show up like a pro and explain your own contract.
Each template is delivered immediately in PDF and Word formats for easy use "as is." You'll receive access to your lifetime portal shortly after your purchase, where you can always go back to access the most recent version of the template and learn how to upload your template to any e-signing platform of your choice.
This portal is also helpful in case you lose your order, your computer deletes all your past emails or any of those other inevitable tech glitches that only ever happen when you're in the middle of something important.
No. Sharing isn't caring in this instance, and in fact, seriously hinders The Contract Shop's® mission to help the entire creative economy. In the interest of great customer service, we haven't put up a fortress around our templates that would require eight hours to unlock your downloads. Please don't be the a-hole that makes us change that though.
You'll get plenty of instructions as to how to use your template with your download, and in your Hold My Hand™ guide, we'll also show you how to make the most of your contract. Pinky swear, I send my clients proposals in less than 30 seconds, and so can you.
You can use it as-is by downloading it, filling in the blanks where prompted and sending it to clients either electronically or physically.
I'll let you in on a little secret... pretty contracts are JUST as legally binding as the boring ones! And if you want to see a few examples of what your contract could look like, take a peek at this.
We’re customers of all this online business stuff too, and it really irckles our shirkles when we get treated like poo. So we’ve made a refund policy that is the opposite of that.
For all Products sold by The Contract Shop®:
Our no-hassle, 14-day happiness policy means that if you are not satisfied, for any reason, we’ll work with you to make sure you’re happy, even if that means a full refund. Click here to submit a refund request.
In order to make sure your request gets taken care of as quickly as possible, all refund requests must be submitted through this form handled by our expedited support inbox. It’s basically the NASCAR of customer support, except instead of always turning left we make it right! #dadjoke
For any Services, such as participation in a group program, consulting, retreat or mentorship program:
The Contract Shop® stands behind our work and our participation as professionals aiding in your success. If you find evidence that Christina Scalera LLC dba The Contract Shop® has not performed its work in a professional and ethical manner, you may request a refund of any payments made in the 60 days prior to your submission of evidence.
We are always working with licensed attorneys outside the United States to add new countries and languages to our templates. You'll see many of our templates have versions ready-made for your country.
However, if you don't see the template in the language or country you serve, please click here and tell us what template you'd like to see in a certain language or applicable in a certain country.
One of the reasons we’ve been so successful as a business is because we like to treat people like people. That means we work regular business hours of 9-5pm PT, Monday through Thursday each week. Not weekends, not holidays.
Please note: If you have an extremely urgent issue that must be addressed outside of our normal customer support team hours, let us know. We may be able to make ourselves available for a rush fee of $500 per hour outside of normal work hours.
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