Hi, there! So you may have wondered to yourself, “Do I really need a client agreement or contract for my coaching or online services?” Let me save you a ton of time here… yes, absolutely! Having a concise, easy-to-understand client contract for your coaching business is really important for a number of reasons.
When I practiced business law, I worked with so many small and mid-sized business owners who, in the midst of trying to start up or run their businesses, forgot to get the terms of their agreement, contract, or services in writing.
Since they didn’t have anything in writing, they either couldn’t pursue money rightly owed to them, or they couldn’t protect themselves if wrongly accused.
A really good coaching contract can help you in the following ways…
#1: It Makes it Clear What You Do, And What You Don’t Do
Let your clients know what you do, which certifications or degrees you have, and which you don’t. Each are equally important! Use the client services agreement as your opportunity to make it clear that you advised your potential client, for example, that you’re a health coach, not a doctor. My DIY agreement sets out the disclaimer language plain and clear, so both you and your client will feel comfortable moving forward.
#2: Get That Money!
Layout clear payment terms, return policies, payment methods, etc. to avoid chasing down clients. In the unlikely event you’ll ever have to chase after a client for payment, you’ll want the terms in writing. This is also especially important if you’re taking credit card or e-payments.
#3: Clearly Layout What’s Included & What’s Not
This is your chance to clearly explain, bullet by bullet, what is included in the cost of your coaching services. It is so important to clearly lay this out from the outset so there are no unmet expectations.
#4: Protect Yourself
Remember, you can’t prevent anyone from suing you (unfortunately!). But at least with a well written client contract you’re protected as much as possible in the event of a worst-case-scenario. There are many things you can control: like the amount you can get sued for, what they can “win”, or where you can get sued and what state’s law applies to your contract. All of those things should be clearly outlined in any good coaching client contract.
As an attorney, I handled so many cases that wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the parties had just clearly spelled out the terms of their agreement in writing. Don’t rely on text messages, emails, or conversations with your clients or potential clients. It will be a he-said / she-said hot mess in no time.
#5: Look Professional
Having a done-for-you contract makes you look like a total pro. It’s another step in the coaching process that will add another level of commitment and seriousness on your client’s part. You’re not just any online health coach — you’re a professional!
So, now that you know why it’s so important to have a client services agreement, check out my DIY Legal Templates or listen to Episode 8 of my podcast, On Your Terms, to find out what makes a contract a good one (vs. one that won’t protect you at all!).
Free Legal Workshop
If you want to learn more about how to legally protect your coaching business, watch my free legal workshop “5 Steps to Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business” now. In it, you’ll learn how contracts work to totally cover your (vegan) bacon, the only way to register your business to actually get any protection from it, and how to keep copycats off your content.
If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them!
But please remember…
Use of this information or any other products on samvanderwielen.com do not establish an attorney-client relationship between you and Sam. The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. Always work with a local attorney licensed in your state where you live and do business to be sure you are in compliance with your state and local laws. Sam is a licensed attorney in the State of New Jersey.