Infrastructure: Client Relationships

This area of infrastructure deals with the relationship with your clients and it’s one of the most important parts of your legal infrastructure. As service providers, the most important business asset is the relationship you have with your clients. And your client contracts are the written representation of those relationships, so they need special attention.

TTo have a good relationship with your client, you need a good client contract. It can be the difference between a mediocre, short-term relationship and a trusting, honest and long-term relationship.

Commonly-Asked Questions:

What should I call my client agreement?

What you call your client agreement can depend on your industry norms or it could depend on the type of service you are providing. Below are some common names for client agreements: Engagement Agreement, Client Services Agreement, Master Services Agreement (with a Scope of Work), or Professional Service Contract

What type of service agreement do I need to use?

It depends on your service and it depends on the relationship. If it’s just a one-off type of service, you can use a contract that deals with that limited time period. If you have a longer-term relationship with your clients where they hire you again and again for your services, you may consider a “master” agreement and each engagement has it’s own “scope of work” attachment. In all service agreements, you should consider the impression it makes on your clients.

Why do I need a client agreement at all?

There are so many reasons why you should use a written agreement when you provide services to your clients. Here are just a few:

It needs to show your clients that you are a professional. It needs to establish trust between you and your client.
It needs to show your clients that you care about them. It needs to explain what you will be providing.
It needs to establish expectations and consequences. It needs to protect you.
It needs to protect your client. It needs to show your client that you are the right fit for them.

What should my client agreement include?

Every client agreement should have 5 parts to it: Services, Exchange, Central, Safeguard and Connection. They don’t need to be in that order. The “Services” part explains what you will provide and how you will deliver it. The “Exchange” covers payment terms for your services as well as any other obligations the client agrees to provide. The “Central” section contains the legal bones; the magic legal language that many people refer to as boilerplate. The “Safeguard” part protects against bad behavior; it sets out the rules in case something goes wrong. And last but certainly not least, the “Connection” element of the contract that shows your unique brand and allows you to connect with your clients; it’s an opportunity to continue building the trusted relationship with your clients.