The best way to get contracts signed sooner is by accepting an electronic signature. Let’s look closer at how to do it and the best programs to use when requesting an e-signature.
In today’s world, more and more people are moving away from a “normal” signature moving towards a digital signature. It’s no wonder why – think of the hassle of getting a pen and paper signature requires. First, you have to download the contract, then print it, sign it, scan it back, attach it and send it. That’s a lot of steps, especially when the alternative is just a quick one-click digital method.
Here’s everything you need to know about obtaining an electronic signature and which programs to use to get one.
How To Get A Contract Signed
When you have a prospect who is excited to start working with you, what are your next steps to make it official? If you’re jumping straight to sending an invoice, I would recommend that you do this instead: send a contract.
Please understand, there is nothing motivating someone to send you any money before they sign the contracts. Paper contracts will protect both you and your future client. This way, if they don’t pay, you have legal recourse.
The easiest way to get a contract signed, is to use an electronic signature program. Further on in this article, I’ll share my favorite ones. Some are free and others have a small fee.
But first, let’s look closer at the contract itself – what to include in it and how to use e-signature programs.
What Should be Included in Contracts?
Before we get into how to get it signed, you need to make sure the contract has everything you need to be covered.
The contract or client agreement should cover what the client is buying, terms and conditions, and costs. Examples of what to include in every contract are:
- Client Name – Make sure you spell out any other names you will refer to them as within the document.
- Company Name (if applicable)
- Name of product/service being purchased – Be specific. The more specific it is, the least likely it is to be misunderstood.
- Investment Cost
- Payment Plan (if applicable)
- What’s included vs. Not included – Spell this out in detail
- Start Date
- End Date
- Amount of sessions or meetings (if applicable)
- Rescheduling, Cancellation, or Late Policies
- Confidentiality Policy
- Place for client signature, name, and date signed
- Place for your signature, name, and date signed
If you are worried about forgetting something in a contract, you are in luck. There are lots of free contract templates online that you can grab. Rocket Lawyer has lots of searchable contracts for a variety of services and experiences.
You can also ask fellow entrepreneurs to share their contract templates. Contracts cannot be copyrighted, so it’s totally legal to just copy and paste from other contracts.
Tip: I also recommend consulting with an attorney to create a templated contract rather than just try to invent your own. Unless you have a legal background, contracts can be notoriously difficult and are well worth the investment to hire out.
Collect Signatures with E-Signatures
Now when you’re ready to send the contract, do you have an easy way to capture electronic signatures from your clients? If not, you’re probably tired of emailing and chasing down your customer to print, sign, and return the contract. To get contracts signed sooner and securely, invest in an electronic signature system, which allows clients to easily sign documents—often on their phone!
How Does an Electronic Signature Tool Work?
There are lots of security measures in place. By verifying identities and using accounts and logins, electronically-signed contracts are legal and enforceable.
How To Get an E-Signature
Here are steps for how to get an electronic signature with an electronic signature program.
- Pull up your contract in a Microsoft Word document.
- Make sure to include a space for name, title/role, date, and signature for both you and your client
- Upload the Word file into your electronic signature system.
- Add the names and email addresses of everyone who needs to sign the contract.
- Add the order of who is to sign first.
- Add where names, dates, and signatures are to be inserted for each signer.
- Send the contract via the tool.
- Once your client signs the contract, the system will prompt you to sign the contract.
- Sign the contract.
- The system will notify that all parties have signed and will email a copy of the final signed contract to all parties.
While the signed contracts will be stored in your electronic signature tool, it’s also a good idea to save a final copy to your own online cloud system.
The great thing about an electronic tool is that you can see if the user received and opened your email. It will also send reminders if the contract still hasn’t been signed. This is much better than you chasing them down!
What Type of Electronic Signature System Should I Use?
There are lots of different types of programs. Here are some of the most popular ones.
- DocuSign – this is the system that I use, which has worked great. It is free to customers who purchase an Office 365 Business Premium plan, which I highly recommend. Otherwise, it ranges from $25 – $40 per month depending on the plan.
- HelloSign – this is one that some of my colleagues have used, and it ranges $13 – $40 per month (when paid annually).
- Adobe Sign – I’ve also heard some business owners who use this tool. It ranges from $29.99 – $39.99 per month.
Online Signatures for Free
There are free options for signing documents too. HelloSign and DocuSign have free options. However, they have limits. If you send a lot of contracts, you’ll have to pay for another tier. However, this can be a good way to test out various services before committing.
SignNow is another app that has a free option. But even the paid option is affordable. It’s only $8 per month. Plus, it has a really easy-to-use app so you and others can sign documents on the go.
E-Sign Contracts With Electronic Signatures
It doesn’t matter which electronic signature system you use, but having one will allow you to easily collect the necessary signatures. You will save time and get contracts signed sooner by allowing your clients to receive, view, sign, and automatically receive a final version of the contract within an online signature tool. This will allow you to get to work sooner rather than later!