When you own an answering service, you want to minimize the legal risks that come with it. That’s where a professional answering service contract comes into play.
Of course, this begs the question…what should this business contract cover?
Although there are many issues to consider, here are 3 key areas that you’ll want to have addressed.
1. Contract Length.
Although month-to-month agreements are popular to attract new clients, it’s an unstable platform for running a business that encourages tire kickers to waste your time with set-up followed by cancelation within the first month.
Consider having an answering service agreement that lasts 6 months, 12 months, or even longer. After the initial term, the agreement can be structured to automatically renew for the same length or convert to month-to-month.
Your answering service agreement should cover how charges are calculated, payment methods, when payments are due, and what happens if a client is late making payment. Are there late charges, suspension of services, or termination? What will you do if the client’s payment method becomes invalid (e.g., credit card on file expires)? Or the client disputes charges?
3. Data Ownership.
Who owns the client’s data you collect?
For example, let’s say the client decides to not renew after the initial term. Will the client receive a copy of the data you’ve collected from callers to the client’s business? If so, will you charge a fee for providing a copy of this data?
Of course, there are many other legal issues to cover in an answering service contract than an experienced business lawyer can address when preparing the agreement. If you need an answering service contract or want an existing one revised to protect you against legal dangers, it’s time to set up a phone consultation with Attorney Mike Young.