August 3, 2013 – 8:45 pm

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Drafting Payment Contracts

Star Wars Contract

A wise modern-day poet once said, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”  This wise modern-day poet is none other than Ice Cube.  The LA native rapper has a good point though.  Especially when performing work with clients or business partners, one should indeed check themselves before they wreck themselves.

I’ve learned this the hard way.  I have performed services for clients or business partners and later ran into the issue of being properly compensated for the work I had done.  Much of this unpleasantness could have been avoided if I had required my client or business partner to sign a “Contract for Services Rendered” in addition to submitting an invoice after services were performed.

Even if your business partner or client is your friend, draft a “Contract for Services Rendered.”  Although this conversation may be uncomfortable to have, it needs to happen.  The last thing you want is to have a discussion about compensation after services are rendered that turns into an argument and you ultimately walking away empty handed since no legal document or discussion was had in the beginning of the working relationship.

To remedy this issue, I have researched templates for a “Contract for Services Rendered” document.  The most intuitive and compressible one I found was located at this site:

Contract for Services Rendered Template

You don’t need to have had pass the Bar Exam to understand this legal exercise.  One simply has to fill in the blanks with the appropriate information and voila , legal protection!  Additionally, emailing this document on top of requiring the compensating party to sign and return the legal document is added protection for the party rendering services to have filed away.  Worst comes to worst you will have solid evidence that you corresponded with the client or business partner to ensure proper compensation and negotiations prior to rendering services.

Now I know this stuff sounds like a no-brainer but it is easier than one thinks to put off this conversation until the end.  Much like one has to broach the subject of salary when in the interview process.

sign here

To recap, make sure to have the following items/processes completed when engaging in a services rendered transaction.

  1.  Contract for Services Rendered, drafted
  2.  Email sent to client or business partner stating Contract for Services Rendered is attached and feedback and negotiations are encouraged in order to begin performing services.
  3. Invoice delivered outlining work performed with amount due posted according to rates established with submitted Contract for Services Rendered.

So there you go.  Common sense legal protection at its finest.  Remember the words of the wise Ice Cube and please leave a comment below if you have had similar experiences with contractual compensation messiness or have additional input to contribute.  Let your ROAR be heard!