A client service agreement (CSA) is a legal contract specifying the relationship and responsibilities between a client and a service provider. It’s an essential document for small business owners as it makes clear the expectations and services to be provided, the cost of those services, and other important terms of the relationship.
The Importance of a CSA
The CSA serves as a legally binding contract between you and your client. By having a signed service contract in place prior to beginning any kind of working relationship, you can reduce the risk of potential disputes and litigation while also ensuring that the terms of the agreement will be met.
From a practical perspective, a CSA also makes dealing with unexpected events or requests more straight-forward, as you should have a clause in your agreement related to many of the potential obstacles you could encounter – whether they are related to payment, intellectual property, rights, responsibilities, and other terms specific to the client arrangement.
What to Consider When Creating a CSA
The specific details of your CSA will vary from relationship to relationship depending on the project and responsibilities, but there are important components to include in every agreement.
Here are a few essential items to consider as you draft your contract. It’s also a good idea to consult a business attorney to ensure that you are fully protected. It’s far cheaper to retain services to prevent a problem than it is to resolve or litigate after an issue arises.
- What are the specific deliverables and timeline for completion? It’s important to spell out the scope of work to prevent the ask from increasing once work is underway.
- What is the expected communication arrangement between you and your client (frequency and communication method)? What happens if scheduled appointments are missed?
- What are the payment terms and penalties?
- Will either party be able to end the contract early? If so, under what conditions?
- If there is a dispute, does the losing party pay the winning parties’ attorney’s fees? Where does the jury trial take place?
For help drafting a legal contract for your Florida business, get in touch with our commercial law team at Silverberg|Brito, PLLC.