When I start a working relationship with someone (especially working online) I want to be completely upfront about what they should expect from me and what I expect from them. In a workplace where everything is done online some companies take this as a cue to screw people over or over promise on services. This makes a bad name for everyone. I have heard horror stories of business coaches who do not deliver, virtual assistants that ignore email and I have even had issues with a sub-contractor (too much trust on my end.)
Because of all of this non sense, I knew when I opened my virtual doors that I would require my clients to sign a service agreement. Not just for me, but for their peace of mind. My service agreement is simple and just very clearly spells out what I am going to do, when and how much I will charge and when I expect to get paid.
With a signed and dated service agreement if a customer asks for something that will cost extra you have a document to show exactly what they were quoted for. I also think it’s just common courtesy to let a client know ahead of time if they will be incurring extra charges – another way we online service business owners can continue to clear the dodginess out of the online marketplace.
When you are hiring a service provider, check to see if they offer service agreements or contracts and if not it may be a good idea that you draw one up. Especially if you are hiring on an ongoing basis – you want to be totally clear on what your getting. You can find templates online, just be sure to customize it to your specifics.
Keeping It Online
My entire business is online so it only made sense that my service agreements would be easily signed online as well. There are lots of electronic signature programs out there, personally I use SignNow and it does the trick and is legally binding. Expect to pay about $10-$20 monthly, which in my mind is totally worth the clarity that is gained.