Signing up a client for a new IT consulting agreement is an exciting time for every IT business. It means new challenges, additional work and (perhaps most importantly) a new and regular stream of revenue.
However, it’s also a time when you can come badly unstuck if you don’t remember to include some important terms and conditions. Here, we present a list of five things you will want to make sure you factor into every new IT consulting agreement.
1. A Limitation of Liability
Presumably you are suitably insured against making mistakes with a client’s infrastructure. If not, you really need to get that sorted immediately! Regardless, you should always build in a clause that limits your financial liability if something goes horribly wrong and your client decides to take legal action.
How you word this clause will depend on where you are located, and we’d strongly advise you consult an expert to ascertain the correct legal wording.
2. A List of Exceptions
Before becoming a company’s main IT support provider, you should always carry out a detailed site survey to see if there are any skeletons lurking in the closet. These skeletons can include outdated operating systems that are no longer supported, or old databases that should have been laid to rest years ago.
It’s crucial to be honest with your customers if there are elements of the infrastructure that you cannot effectively support—and these should then be detailed in the contract.
3. Clear Details of Operating Hours
The time to make clear exactly when your business can be contacted is when you first begin the client relationship, and not when the CEO first calls you on a Sunday evening regarding an insignificant problem. So, make sure you clearly state your operating hours. If you are willing to provide out-of-hours services, ensure you are clear about any additional charges that might apply.
4. Client Obligations
There are usually certain things each client has to do to ensure that their IT systems continue to run smoothly. These are usually quite simple things like running manual backups of things like Sage Accounts, or changing backup cartridges daily.
However, don’t think a client won’t try to blame you for an oversight if you don’t stipulate their responsibilities in the contract.
5. A Review Date
Each IT consulting agreement should include a review date, when you can revisit the contract and see if anything needs tweaking. You may need to amend the details to take into account new systems and services. So, build in a review date and stick to it rigidly, to prevent complacency causing undesirable grey areas in what’s expected of you.
* Please note, this article is not a substitute for legal advice, nor is the author an attorney. You should always seek legal advice on your consulting agreements in your local area.
Is there anything you’ve ever wished you’d included in an IT consulting agreement? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on IT Service Contract Secrets for Getting More Repeat Clients and Recurring Service Revenue.