Why You Need Protection
“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe”; if you are working on a project, spend some time on formalising an agreement.
“But I trust this client from before”, you say. Establishing trust is essential for any business interaction, and nothing reflects that better than a mutually created agreement/contract. As a bonus, you eliminate any work-related disagreement from getting sour; your agreement becomes a go-to document to solve these issues.
“But making an agreement is such a hassle”, you say. A necessary one, we are tempted to add. Agreements need not be monumental documents, decorated with legal jargons. A two/three page document, outlining the scope of work and other rights and interests will serve you good.
Let’s look at the case of Ivana, who is an interior designer. She was made to change her design six times by her client, a young man commissioning his newly purchased house, who was not satisfied with every iteration, and ended up denying money for the work since he did not get what he had expected at the beginning. In the absence of any written terms, Ivana ended with not getting paid for her work, while her client was disappointed with his new house. Now imagine how this association would have ended if there was a document clearly outlining the scope of work, payment schedule, and number of iterations, among other things. Quite different, right?
While one can continue escaping from the groundwork, it has to be accepted that you are running a business, and at its core, business commands building lasting relationships. Having clearly written down agreements is not just a mark of professionalism, it also ensures that the relationship is fair for both the parties.
At the end of the day, everyone wants work, and working requires discipline and adhering to practices which protect you, and your client as well. And an agreement is your protection against many odds.