We live in a litigious society. That means people are swift to defend themselves legally. The more money involved, the more likely a disgruntled person will seek legal action. And, unfortunately, it is easy for such problems to devolve into schoolyard arguments. You know the kind. “Well, THEY said…!” This is a challenging game to win. How does a court tell who is telling the truth? Thankfully, client contracts are the perfect solution!
Why Client Contracts are Important
There are four primary ways that contacts help keep your business safe and productive.
Protects the Sales of Your Business
Since we’re in business to make money, obviously losing money is a bad thing. In short, client contracts protect your hard-earned income from being sucked into the vacuum of the legal system. You earned this money with blood, sweat, and tears! By all means, take care of it the best you can!
Improves the Customer Experience
Certainly, documenting everything isn’t just for your safety as a business. It also helps your clients have a clearer vision of the whole agreement. Having all your policies written down where they can refer to it freely is convenient for your client and can cut many problems off at the pass. In case an issue comes up, you can point directly to the contract and get everyone on the same page.
Client Contracts Will Keep You Out of Court
Courts are EXPENSIVE. Even if you win, you still have to pay lawyers, and that adds up fast! However, your contracts can set in place an official order of events to resolve disputes such as arbitration or mediation. Those are both far more affordable! Once a contract is signed, they will be legally required to follow that order of events. Less time in court is more money you save!
Client Contracts Make Your Company More Desirable
Notice we didn’t say to who it makes your company more desirable to? Well, that’s because there are multiple groups, and for different reasons. Firstly, the primary group is your clients. People tend to feel more secure when there is a framework in place. A contract provides that structure and will help them have a clearer understanding of the expectations of them. Secondly, should you decide to sell your business, client contracts make it far more marketable to a potential buyer. Overall, it just helps you appear more professional, not just a side hustle.
Client Contract Types
Now, there are three significant kinds of client contracts for pet sitting businesses. Each one covers a specific type of liability. Whether you’d like to believe it or not, even the kindest client could get vicious or greedy if something goes wrong. Even if it only happens once in a while, that can be more than enough to bankrupt your business! Make sure you’ve got legal coverage so that these sensitive subjects don’t end up costing you big time!
Undoubtedly, you’ll want to have a Service Agreement before you take on your first client. Generally, this document covers your policies and procedures. In other words, they explain what you do and how you do it. Additionally, they can also state what you DON’T do and important disclaimers. Sometimes, that is even more protective! Also, make sure that you have a place for them to sign, preferably on each page. Their signature certifies that they have read and understood the information on the page. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean they read it. But, if they choose not to read it and sign it anyway, it’s not your legal problem. You are covered because, in the eyes of the law, they have indicated that they read and agreed.
Next, we have a very emotionally tender subject. Veterinarian Release Forms allow you to seek medical treatment for a pet without being the owner. Obviously, we all hope this will never become relevant, but we have to prepare for the worst. What’s more, clients can authorize a specific dollar amount or leave it blank. After that is signed, this document lets you spend up to that limit, and they promise to reimburse you that money afterward.
One sad but necessary thing to ensure you have inside this release is the Euthanasia Authorization. This verbiage explicitly authorizes the veterinarian to euthanize a pet in your care if the animal is suffering and you cannot reach the client. We know nobody wants to think about this unfortunate circumstance. But, sometimes, it is out of human hands.
Key Handling Agreement
Undoubtedly, one of the most delicate things we handle as pet sitters is access to people’s homes. You wouldn’t want to let random strangers wander around your home. Obviously, your clients are just as concerned about opening their homes to you. The purpose of the key handling agreement is to give them peace of mind and inform them of your access expectations before you even begin providing services. For example, if you use a lockbox, does the client purchase one, or do you provide one? If you want them to give you a key to the home, do you need more than one copy? However you choose to manage the keys, the key handling agreement should lay it all out and require a signature.
Client Contracts Keep Things Safe For Everyone
Legally speaking, providing services without a contract is a gamble. Now, we have a little legal disclaimer of our own to put in here. No one at PetBrainy is a legal lawyer, so you should always consult your lawyer before proceeding with anything legal. Regardless of how many clients you have, you should invest in your business by ensuring you have these critical client contracts ready to go!
Now, are you looking for more information about client contracts? Join the PetBrainy Circle today! We have ready-to-customize templates for you to streamline the complications of paperwork. But that isn’t all we have. PetBrainy is a community of pet sitting business owners ready to help you make your business dreams come true. Sign up below!