A contract is a written document that outlines the full understanding of the business relationship and scope of the work. It ensures that later down the road, none of the parties can claim any misunderstandings. It specifies exactly what rights are being purchased and what rights you’re retaining. It is binding and legally enforceable.
When doing any kind of illustration work, it’s important to have a contract. Sure, it may seem a bit daunting for a beginner to delve into legalese, but contracts don’t need to be scary. They can be as simple as a plain-language document, outlining the general business between you and the client. In the world of illustration, a contract is important for the following reasons:
It serves as a record of commitments for both parties.
At their very core, contracts are relationships. First, two parties agree to work together and forge a connection. If fostered well, and beneficial on both sides, it can last for years. A contract is the visual representation of this relationship.
Agreements prevent conflicts and mitigate risk.
Contracts often go through a negotiation process that ensures both sides are getting the best deal possible. Obviously, good negotiation should lead to a mutually successful outcome that prevents conflict down the line, and sets the foundation for a strong partnership moving forward. When managed correctly, contracts should have a comprehensive audit trail of every change, comment, and edit made.
Contracts protect both you and your client.
One of the most basic building blocks of good business is having a valid and concrete contract. Contracts, by nature, are meant to be a safeguard for both parties of the business agreement. When you and your client agree upon the terms of a contract and sign, you’re taking the pre-emptive step to quell any potential disagreements. If things go south, your contract gives you the ability to enforce those terms.
Ideally, agreements also help generate revenue.
Contracts are the binding agreement that says one side will deliver services in exchange for payment. Further, being able to have contracts processed efficiently and under the right terms, will help companies generate more revenue.
A blockade to a signed contract means a blockade to more revenue. Conversely, faster contract processes mean organizations are able to sign more deals and bring in more income.
Increased operational efficiency.
Looking at contract processes, and evaluating the greatest needs for improvement, will help organizations work more efficiently as a whole. In turn, working faster and smarter means using the right tools.
Agreements extend a company’s brand and values.
Although this may not be the first thing that comes to mind when most people think about contracts, they are an extension of the company brand. Additionally, sending out a contract is a symbol that an organization cares about having a detailed record of a relationship that they are making a commitment to.
Everything from wording to negotiations gives each party an idea of how the other functions. What’s more, a solid company brand shows through care in contract creation and the interactions that follow.
In conclusion, being stuck in the past with PDFs, email, and a repository of documents on a desktop will NOT help bring more revenue to your organization. To move to the future, the entire process has to be efficient and centralized in a single source of truth: contracts.