When was the last time you made it a point to update your client contract?
…this year? 😬😇
You can be honest if it’s been a while. This is a safe space.
Because we also care deeply about you & your success as a business owner, we wanna let you know…
Delaying a much-needed update of your client contract can come with some serious consequences.
Your Client Contract Should Evolve
You’ll never catch us telling you not to update your client contract, because we all know that business is never static.
Your business is a living, breathing thing that is constantly evolving. It’s always shifting as your priorities, preferences, and lifestyle change over time.
And your contract *also* needs to change in order to keep up with your evolution.
When you take the time to update your client contract so that it accurately reflects the current state of your business, your contract is a powerful tool.
But when you let it collect dust and become outdated, it can get in the way of your brand’s professionalism and even harm your relationship with clients. We’re not trying to be alarmists, we’re just serving up some truth.
We encourage you to switch your perspective when it comes to your client contracts. They’re not a “set and forget” solution, but rather a living, breathing document that constantly needs to be updated so that it supports you best.
Let’s get into three more reasons why an outdated contract could be a strain on your business – and how to keep it in tip-top shape!
1. Your Contract Might Not Be Enforceable
The very first, most important thing you should know if it’s been a while since you updated your client contract is that your contract might not be enforceable.
If the scope of your services has changed, and you’re still working off an old contract, it’s highly likely that your client is not legally bound to the terms of your contract.
This is why it’s so important that key changes to your offer are reflected in your contract. Be sure to send out an updated contract every time you make key changes to your services!
2. Your Contract Might Have Confusing Legalese
Another reason to update your client contract is to make sure you’re using clear and concise language that ALL parties can understand – not confusing legalese.
Legalese is the formal language filled with legal jargon used by lawyers to discuss legal matters.
And in most legal contract templates, it’s the default.
But signing a contract both you and your client don’t completely understand can have some serious consequences.
If you swiped a free contract template from Google, borrowed one from your BFF, or downloaded a contract off Honeybook or Dubsado…
We’re willing to bet it’s filled to the brim with legal jargon!
If you’re going through your client contract and noticing a ton of legalese, that’s definitely a sign you’re in need of an upgrade.
Did you know that our Coaches & Company legal contract templates are 100% legalese free?
We believe the best professional partnerships begin with transparency and honesty.
If you’re not able to explain the clauses in your contract, that’s not a good sign.
Grab a contract you can clearly communicate by grabbing one of our easy-to-use, plug-and-play legal contract templates.
3. Your Contract Might Not Be Industry-Specific
Another thing to watch out for when it comes to updating your client contract is to make sure that it makes sense for modern-day online business owners.
Many of the free contract templates entrepreneurs download when they’re just starting out are often very boilerplate and generic. They’re standard templates that can be used across a variety of industries, rather than customized for online coaches and service providers.
Digital business owners have unique needs and legal requirements when it comes to rendering services virtually, copyrighting and creating online content, digital products, offering coaching services, and much more.
Certain legal considerations that relate to online businesses might slip through the cracks if the contract you have wasn’t designed with your type of business in mind!
Upgrade your contract by getting a legal agreement *specifically* for your type of business.
Whether you need a:
- 1-1 coaching agreement
- Group coaching contract
- Service agreement template
- Membership contract template
How to Carefully Update Your Client Contract
Have you been reading along realizing it’s been a hot minute since you’ve given your contract some love? Take a moment to review your existing client contract and see if you’ve made changes in your business that need to be reflected in your contract.
Keep an eye out for these common clauses that need to be updated.
And for a more in-depth list, check out these 13 must-have clauses to include in your coaching contract.
As we stated above, if you’ve recently changed the scope of your services, and haven’t updated your client contract, it might not be enforceable. Due to the altered nature of your services, it’s possible your agreement wouldn’t hold up as a contractual obligation in the eyes of the court.
To avoid this, make sure that you update your contract every time you make a change to your services – no matter how small!
- Have your clients expanded your scope with different service add-ons recently?
- Have you gotten rid of certain services?
- Have you changed the set of deliverables your clients received?
- Added on more or less coaching sessions?
Review the scope stated in your contract and make sure that it’s still accurate with the way you currently deliver your services.
How do you want your clients to pay you? Have you made any changes to your payment systems recently?
For example, maybe you’ve decided to dip your toe into the world of customer financing and offer your client payment plans.
Or maybe you’ve started requiring a 50% deposit in order to book any project with you.
Make sure it’s super-duper clear when and how you want your clients to pay you.
List available options such as credit card, bank transfers, or PayPal so there’s no confusion when it comes to receiving your hard-earned coin.
You’ll also want to take a look at your communication clause within your client contract to make sure your client understands your preferred communication methods.
As our lifestyles change, so do our boundaries and policies around communication.
Make sure you answer the questions:
- How can your clients contact you?
- When can your clients contact you?
Maybe you’ve decided you have a clear policy around not communicating important project information over social media DMs – this needs to be communicated!
Or maybe you’ve decided you’re going to start taking Fridays off – and will only be responsive Monday-Thursday.
Make sure that you’re clients are kept in the loop about all these small, yet important details!
Have you moved states recently?
If you answered yes, but you’ve failed to update your jurisdiction clause within your contract – your client contract might not be enforceable.
Make sure your address and contract jurisdiction is accurate so that your agreement actually protects you!
If you want a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship with your clients, you have to prioritize solid communication and transparency.
This means outlining *exactly* what is required from your client in order for the project to be successful.
Tell them what you need from them and when you need it, with clear deadlines.
- Are you a web designer who needs copy and brand photos by a certain deadline in order to start designing?
- Are you a social media manager who requires brand and messaging guidelines in order to create content that resonates?
- Or are you a coach who requires non-negotiable pre-work in order to officially kick off your work with clients?
Whatever it is, make it known!
And then be sure to re-iterate these client responsibilities and requirements during your client onboarding process – for example, in your client welcome kit.
Timeline & Deadlines
Just like it’s important that clients know *their* deadlines, you want to be transparent about your own, too.
A huge part of successful client relationships is managing client expectations.
The *last* thing you want is to have your client wondering when you’ll be getting them their deliverables. Make sure your project timelines are clearly spelled out!
It’s only natural that our capacity changes over time.
Maybe you’ve realized that certain deadlines are too tight. Make sure these changes are not only communicated to your clients via email but also agreed up and signed in your client contract!
If you’ve read this far and realized your existing contract may not exactly be giving you the protection you deserve, we’ve got you covered, boss.
You deserve a contract that covers you fully.
All of our Coaches & Company contracts are easy to edit and update, and can be customized to your business in just ten minutes!
Ready to sign more clients the legal way? Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates, so you can upgrade your client contract while staying Protected & Profitable™✨
*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.