Whether you are a top-tier agency with hundreds of consultants or you are just an independent consultant starting out, it is not advisable to offer your services without a signed contract. Why is that or why are agreements that significant in the consultancy world?
Besides acting as a binding pact, consulting contracts are usually the main point of reference for both consultants and their clients. Business wise, these contracts are used to:
- Define the scope of work – Spell out the services that will be offered
- Protect sensitive project information via non-disclosure clauses
- Up-sell your consultancy services – Sometimes, a client may decide to request for additional services once he sees the details outlined in a contract.
- Outline expectations and clients responsibilities
- Mark out the payment rates and much more
Obviously, the importance of sending these consulting agreements to your clients and having them signed cannot be overlooked. However, getting them completed and signed on time, especially if your client is located in a far-flung location is not easy. Sometimes (if not all the time) it comes with a lot of inconveniences. And this definitely is not what you wish for your consulting business.
So, the big question should be; are you looking for an easy way to let your clients sign agreement online? Incorporating electronic signature software in your office documentation remains one of the best decisions you can ever make, to achieve this. Basically, a tool that allows any kind of online contract signing is exceedingly valuable to any businesses.
Importance of Online Contract Signing for consultancy firms
Some perks of signing documents online – such as efficacy and speed – are obvious. However, here are four main benefits of using electronic signatures to complete and sign your agreement online.
Saves costs and brings about efficiency
First, in this day and age, it’s no longer necessary to print a form, sign, scan, and mail back to the client to have it approved. Why waste all that time and resources whereas there is a quick alternative. Electronic signature solutions like eSign Genie allows you to upload documents, successfully add signature fields, send the document back to your client and store it online for future retrieval. This makes managing and tracking documents easier, less stressful and less time-consuming.
Increased security and compliance practices
Thanks to e-signature acts such as UETA and ESIGN, e-signs enjoy the same legal recognition just as a pen-and-paper signature. When you sign a contract online, the integrity of the contract is guaranteed. Any manipulation of a contract that involves electronic signature will result in making the signature unacceptable, automatically.
E –signatures help boost customer satisfaction
Turnaround times are hastened by embracing online agreement signing. Your clients can sign agreement online – from anywhere, on any device. They do not need to be tied to their fax machine. Additionally, with online contract signing, clients are confident that their forms are safe and secure since the redundant logistics synonymous with the manual sending of documents are eliminated. These two aspects certainly help increase customer satisfaction leading to more business for your consulting business.
Brings about a sense of professionalism
Drafting contracts and agreements is not an easy task especially if you do not have a legal background. However, this is something that has been taken care of by most of the electronic signature service providers. Case-in-point, for consultants using eSign Genie, it is very easy to customize the numerous professionally-done consulting agreement templates that come with it. This will not only shows how professional your consultancy services are but also how plausible and proficient you are as a person to execute the role on hand.
Commonly used contracts in the consultancy industry
Here are some of the main contractual agreements signed by the players in the consulting service industry.
- Master Service Agreement – The master service agreement is a contractual document which a consulting bureau signs with the customer when they settle on doing business. This document outlines any important information which might apply to various projects that you may accomplish together. This might include terms of payment, billing rates, and ways of solving disputes in the course of doing business.
- Statement of Works – This is usually a rider to the master service agreement, referencing pertinent information, such as rates and billing terms. This agreement specifically describes the work which will be executed, the duration it will take to complete the said work, and the deliverables which will be provided upon completion.
- Request for proposal – This is an agreement which a potential client sends, normally to multiple vendors (in this case the consultancy firms), inviting them to propose on a specific project. The request for a proposal may define the project purpose, rules on how the consultancy firms should bid, and any other relevant information needed to propose.
- Non-disclosure agreement – This is an agreement which specifies that any sensitive information that the client or the consultant comes across in the course of doing business, is not to be divulged to a third party.
- Non-compete agreement – This is an agreement which prohibits a consultancy firm from offering its services to a competitor of the employer/client. Usually, this may be set-out in terms of geography, time, or within the client’s industry as a whole.
- Open-end agreement – Normally, this is a “blanket” kind of pact, which defines how flexible both the client and consultant can be in terms doing business together. For instance, an open-end agreement can be used to lay the ground rules on how both parties (the client and the consultant) can partner on a “when needed” basis.
There are numerous contractual documents which are used to guarantee clear expectations for a consulting contract. Nobody wants to show a lack of trust, particularly at the initial stages of a relationship. However, outlining all the specifics beforehand is an advisable thing to do for the concerned parties.
Ultimately, online contract signing save time and money; make agreements more secure due to minimized chances of fraud, and help strengthen your consulting brand. Given that they can be easily integrated into your already existing applications, it is safe to say that, digital signature solutions are a perfect investment that any serious consulting firm should consider.