Contracts sound so formal and official, don’t they? Surely a business as small as yours doesn’t need a contract. After all, you don’t even have that many clients yet. Maybe you’ll think about having a contract when your business is bigger or when you have a team working for you. Bad idea. Contracts for professional organizers are necessary.
What is a Contract?
A contract, also known as a client agreement, is an important aspect for those in the service industry, and professional organizers are no exception. Contracts for professional organizers should outline the services you will provide, the payment you expect, and other terms and conditions your client should know before agreeing to do business with you.
Often, contracts are lengthy and difficult to read — but they don’t have to be. We suggest keeping your contract as short as you can (2 pages or fewer) and easy to read. After all, you want your clients to read (and understand) them.
Information Contracts for Organizers Should Include
Contracts are helpful for both professional organizers and their clients because they outline everything your client needs to know about hiring you.
Client agreements communicate to clients exactly what work you’ll be performing and how much that work will cost. It should also share how and when you expect payment — and what will happen if your client does not pay. If you charge any additional fees for your services, such as shopping or traveling, state that within the contract, as well.
What happens if the client cancels on you at the last minute? What happens if the client’s check bounces? Do you offer refunds for any reason?
Contracts for professional organizers should also share what aspects of the job you’re responsible for, as well as what parts of the job your client handles.
There should be no surprises for your client.
Protections Contracts Should Provide
As we mentioned above, your contract provides some protection should your client neglect to pay or keep up their end of the agreement, but it can also protect you from more.
Consider what could go wrong when you’re organizing a client’s home. Something could break. Someone could get injured. Any number of accidents could occur that your clients may hold you financially responsible for. Can your business survive that?
Don’t risk it. Include a clause within your contract stating that you have limited liability for such things (and make sure you register your business appropriately, as well).
Your contract will offer provide protection and peace of mind to your clients, especially when you state that you have business insurance. Should you not show up and do the job you promise to perform, the contract provides them with the opportunity to pursue legal action.
Giving Clients Your Contract
When you’re finished with your consultation and your client in on board with your services, it’s time to give them your contract. Provide them with time to look it over and ask them if they’d like anything added or adjusted.
If you’re doing this in-person, be sure to bring two copies of the contract — you and your client should each sign both. If you’re communicating digitally, the client can either print the contract, sign it, and send a picture back to you or you can invest in a digital contract service.
Digital Contract Services
DocuSign costs $10-$15 per month, although you may need to upgrade if you use over 5 documents per month.
HelloSign starts at $15 to $20 per month, depending on the length of your commitment.
These services can be pricey, but are very professional and convenient. Other options for digital delivery of contracts include Google Forms and editable PDFs.
Contracts for Professional Organizers are Essential
If you’re a professional organizer, a contract is NOT something you should skip. Contracts protect you and your client. They allow for clear commination on all services and policies.
If you’re interested in learning more about contracts, including specific details and clauses, we have the perfect resource for you! Our Contracts & Client Agreement eBook gets down to the nitty gritty and is full of information and legal advice we’ve gathered through the years. Check out our ebooks and other courses and resources and take your business to the next level.