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Put it in writing: Contractors need contracts

Ted Devine | Jan. 26, 2016
Written agreements are essential for IT professionals who contract independently

A procedure that includes written documentation has a couple of benefits. First, you can also use it to review your processes and improve your performance. More to the point, you can send a written report to your client, who will probably appreciate the update even if everything is going smoothly, or use it as evidence in a lawsuit should things go south.

Establish a process for client complaints

The temptation to avoid an unhappy client can be strong, but it’s a bad idea. According to “Common Sense Tips for Avoiding Litigation,” many lawsuits start when one party doesn’t respond to the other’s complaints. Unfortunately, our research shows fewer than half of our IT applicants have a formal procedure for dealing with dissatisfaction.

A complaint resolution policy doesn't have to be complicated. It can even be as simple as a to-do list that reminds you to:

  • Acknowledge and document the complaint.
  • Record the steps you take to resolve the issue.
  • Communicate the resolution to your client.
  • Follow up to ensure resolution is satisfactory.

Writing down your procedure can make dealing with complaints less overwhelming, and that alone can help keep you out of court. But if you do end up being sued, written documents can be evidence that you took appropriate steps to appease your client.

Taking the extra time and effort up front to document things in writing can save time and money on the back end, and can help prevent litigation.


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