Contractual matters

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

“The moment you start seeing life as non-serious, 
a playfulness,
all the burden in your heart disappears.”

Osho

To run a consulting business you’ll need a few simple business service contracts to make sales, but I can’t really provide those for you here. You can get those from your lawyer, or from some of the legal dot-com websites that are available these days.

My advice to you on these contracts is to keep them short. Our shortest legal agreement was two pages long, and our longest agreement was six pages long. We started with a boilerplate agreement from our attorney, then edited it so we could understand it and easily explain it to our customers.

The other important points I’ll say about these sales agreements are: You should list your hourly rate, estimated number of hours, and overall estimate within the agreement. For instance, I might estimate that a project will require 1,000 hours, my billing rate is $125/hour, and therefore the overall estimate is $125,000.

You should provide some description of the services to be rendered, such as, “This estimate is to build the XYZ application for Acme Corporation. The XYZ application has been defined in the separate document, ‘The XYZ Application Design.’”

At the end of the document you should have signature lines for your client and for yourself.

You should present the sales agreement to your client, walk them through each page of the agreement, and when you get to the last page of the agreement, hand them a pen and show them where they need to sign.

While an agreement like this may seem daunting if you’re just starting your own business, I can assure you that you can usually get them from your lawyer, a legal website, or an appropriate business book at your local bookstore.

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