We hope you enjoyed the Gyda Summit. As promised, here are some free resources, information, downloads and ideas to improve your knowledge of contracts. Do get in touch if you have any questions and thanks for visiting!
If you have any burning contract questions, do contact us to book a free call with one of our experienced consultants.
Contracting with Confidence for your Digital Agency
Great contracts are an essential ingredient when growing your digital agency. Done right, they’ll help you
- Discuss potentially difficult topics openly and honestly, building strong, productive relationships with your clients
- Manage the risks that all agencies face, to minimise their negative impact on your projects, your reputation and your business
- Deliver quality work that meets client expectations, and make a fair profit as you do
What makes a great contract?
Great contracts provide clear answers to the following three questions:
- Who does what, when?
- When does payment occur (and what could reduce or delay payment)?
- What happens if things go wrong?
Your contract should provide clear, human-readable answers that ensure you and your client have the same idea of how your relationship is going to work. It should set out what your client needs to do, to help you make the project a success.
Getting paid is kind of the point of being in business (even if you’re a non-profit, you still need funds to do your work!). Yet many agency contracts are strangely vague about exactly when you’re entitled to invoice. For example, if yours says you can invoice ‘When the project is delivered to the Client’s reasonable satisfaction’, you may find yourself jumping through lots of (unbudgeted) hoops, to make the client happy and get paid!
What sort of problems has your digital agency faced in the past? Your contract should do everything it can to prevent them occurring, and to mitigate the risk to the business if something doesn’t go according to plan. This should be through a combination of:
- practical mitigation (saying what you and the client will do, to minimise the risk of things going wrong, and to reduce the impact if they do); and
- legal risk mitigation (fair and reasonable limits and exclusions of liability).
The Devant Highlighter – a simple and effective tool for analysing contracts.
If you didn’t manage to pick one up at the Gyda Conference, click here to send us your details and we’ll pop one in the post with an instruction leaflet.
How to use your Devant highlighter to flag risks, opportunities and questions in a contract.
A great first step in teaching yourself about contracts is to print out your document.
According to Nicholas Carr readers retain more information when they read a physical book….the act of turning pages while reading creates an ‘index’ in the brain, mapping information in a book to a particular page. By mapping the information this way, our brains are able to retain more of what we read.
After printing out your contract, use the Devant highlighter identify each risk, opportunity and question and mark these in the relevant colour.
You’ll soon have a great overview of the document and a useful pathway to work through all the important issues.
Here are 3 examples:
‘Time is of the essence’ clauses are risky because if you’re late, the client can terminate the contract without liability to you.
‘Indemnity’ clauses are risky because they’re uninsurable and usually uncapped, resulting in (potentially business-fatal) unlimited liability.
Many agencies fail to track and use their price increase opportunities, missing out on easy wins for revenue growth! Saving money is usually easier than making money.
How does this work? What even is a COUPA portal?! It’s worth highlighting sections like this to check with your finance team and make sure they know how to do this, so you don’t have hold-ups with invoice payment.