The Definitive Guide to Onboarding New Clients Part 3
Step 4: Get a Signed Contract and Paid Invoice
At this point, you should be on the verge of signing on your client. The last and final hurdle to getting paid. It’s important to not underestimate how important it is to get the contract signed. A lot of clients can seem excited until they need to sign. Then they suddenly disappear. This is why it is important to wow your client. They need a good experience from step 1 until you get paid.
For this step, you need to have:
- A contract
- An invoice
If everything goes well (and it should!), then you will need to email them a contract to sign. I know some of you may have concerns about getting a contract or keeping things legal.
For the contract, you can use something like this to start out. https://www.and.co/the-freelance-contract This allows you to fill in the details and send it out. You will want the client to e-sign the contract. You want to make it easy for the client to quickly finish the contract. Don’t forget to countersign it!
I will say that I don’t want you to work a single second for someone unless you get a signed contract first. Why? It protects you and makes sure you get paid. I have seen so many freelancers lose time and money on a client without a contract.
I knew a VA named Beth. She had gotten her first paying client. She was so excited to finally start. He told her he would mail her a contract to sign. She didn’t know much about the VA business, so when the contract never came, she didn’t worry about it. After all, he was happy with her work and was paying her. Almost 2 years later, he started having health problems. He ended up cutting her pay without notice, then canceling the “contract”. Because she didn’t have a signed contract, she had no option but to accept whatever he dictated.
I don’t want to see that happen to you. A good contract will have:
- The scope of work
- The length of time of the project or work
- How you or the client can cancel the contract
- How and when you will get paid
Once you have a signed contract, the next step is sending the invoice. I strongly suggest you get at least some form of deposit on your fee. If you are working hourly, that might be harder. But you want to ensure you get something.
This also protects you. A client may decide to cancel. Or the client may try to skip on paying. After all, you want to hope for the best but plan for the worst. There will be amazing clients in your business. There will also be horrible ones. Getting a deposit keeps you from losing money.
To send an invoice, you can use Paypal or Stripe. They let you send an invoice and get payment. Both only charge a small transaction fee to use them.
As you move each new client through this process, you will want to fine tune it. You want to streamline your process until it flows smoothly. You may need to have 2 phone calls with potential clients. Or you may portfolio needs more information.
If you want help with this process or a critique of your onboarding, join my Freedom Academy Training. This membership community is the perfect place to get support, answers, and guidance in your business. I hope to see you there!