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Once you’ve made that big sale and your dream big-business customer has finally said, “yes” your work is likely just beginning. Now, you need to negotiate and sign a contract to truly close the deal. The art (and/or science) of contract negotiation is as old as business itself.

Before anybody signs anything, you must first consider what you need your service contract to include. Specifically, you must decide the exact services you expect to be provided, how often they are to be provided, and expected quality of the work. You must also clarify your own obligations: how much you will pay for each service, how frequently you will make payments, and the manner in which you will provide access to your property for the service to be completed. Obviously, determining the specifics of a service contract often require negotiation between you and the service provider, but once an agreement has been reached, it is important to get it in writing.

The best defense is a good offence—which is why it is a good idea to have a set of your own contracts ready to employ as soon as the sale is made. This way, you can start negotiations with your terms instead of with your customer’s, likely less favorable, terms. How to Write a Business Contract on the FindLaw website is a great primer. Additionally, the FindLaw small business site provides many helpful free contract templates that can help you jump-start the process. (Don’t forget to have anything you create reviewed by a lawyer.) The best resource for your local Minnesota business is our E-book! We unveil several tips for YOU to succeed in creating strong contracts!

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