A client agreement is an agreement between your business and your clients. We call it a “master” client agreement, because you use the same agreement, changing only the client-specific details, for each new client.

To avoid disputes down the track, it is important that your client agreement addresses the following matters:

  • What services are being provided;
  • What fees you will be charging;
  • When you expect payment for your services;
  • What you expect from your clients;
  • How you or your client can terminate the agreement;
  • What intellectual property is being transferred; and
  • What your business is not liable for.

The focus of this article is the “client obligations” clause, which is the clause that sets out what your clients must do to enable you to perform the services requested. This differs depending on the type of business you operate.

Speak with an experienced business solicitor to get a better understanding of your legal entitlements and responsibilities in a Master Client Agreement.

Let’s look at a few different types of businesses and what should be included in the client obligations.

Web design business

If you operate a web design business, it is important that your clients agree to:

  • Provide you with detailed information so that you are able to properly design the webpage;
  • Provide you with information in a timely manner to assist you in meeting deadlines;
  • Encourage their staff to work together with you and provide you with necessary information and designs;
  • Provide you with a license to use their intellectual property so that you may utilise their intellectual property without infringement; and
  • Warrant that all information provided is true, accurate and complete.

Catering business

If you run a business in the food industry, and part of your services includes catering for events, then you may require your clients to:

  • Confirm the number of attendees prior to the event so that you are able to prepare the correct amount of food;
  • Pay the full amount prior to the event to ensure that you do not suffer a loss if there is a last minute cancellation; and
  • Provide details of any allergies so that you are not held responsible for any attendees having an allergic reaction to the food provided which you were not made aware of.

Cleaning business

If you are running a cleaning business where you are required to access client property, then you need to include in your client obligations that your clients will:

  • Provide you with proper instructions so that you are aware of what does and does not need to be done;
  • Provide you with necessary access to enable you to perform the services; and
  • Ensure that there are no dangerous substances in the premises to protect yourself and your staff members.

Conclusion

Client agreements are important legal documents, as they create a legally binding relationship between your business and your clients. It is important that the client agreement is clear about what services are being provided, and what and how clients are expected to pay for the services, but also what your clients must do to allow you to adequately perform the services. You should not be held responsible for being unable to perform your services if the client was not cooperative.

If you require any assistance with the preparation of a master client agreement, or if you have an existing one you’d like reviewed, contact LegalVision today. Our specialist business and contract lawyers would be happy to help!

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