If you are offering one on one coaching, you may want signed contracts for your business. This article is not intended to be legal advice, but to offer options for creating these documents.
Do you need a contract?
Contracts are in place to protect you and the client. They make it clear what is required from both parties and what you are guaranteeing for results. Contracts should also make it clear what is not included in the coaching package.
In some cases having terms and conditions on your website or course platform can be enough. For one on one coaching you may need signed contracts for each client, especially if you provide custom packages. Terms and conditions are actually a type of contract. These are usually more general than a contract, which may include things that are specific to each client. In general group coaching, courses and memberships will not require a signed contract.
You may want to speak to a lawyer about your legal documents like contracts and terms and conditions. Or purchase templates from a lawyer. Two US based lawyers who work in the wellness industry are Lisa Fraley and Sam Veider.
Contract vs Terms and Conditions | Research Operations Office
Things to include in your contracts
Your contracts should include these items:
- Your payment terms. This is especially important if you have a payment plan.
- What is included in the package. If there are one on one sessions, you’ll want to make sure you include how many and how long the sessions are.
- Expectations. The client will need to do some things in order to be successful. Make sure that is clear. Also make it clear what your responsibilities are.
- Communications. How can the client communicate with you and what are your policies for how soon you’ll get back to the client? Do you work weekends?
- Refund policy.
- Cancellation or rescheduling policy.
- Disclaimer. Make sure the client knows that results are not guaranteed.
- You may also need to include a waiver for insurance reasons. This could also be a separate document
5 Things That Hurt Client Experience
In your online wellness programs
Preparing digital contracts
Now that we’ve briefly discussed what you need It is possible to send a pdf contract and have your client print, sign it and send it back. But I don’t recommend this method. I tried this with a client early on, only for her to tell me she didn’t have a printer.
A better method for online programs is using some way to collect digital signatures. There are several programs that allow you to do this. Let’s look at some of the best methods I’ve found.
Practice better is a client management system designed for health coaches. It allows you to create contracts, waivers and other forms. You can also use practice better for scheduling, payments, and client communication. And it does just about everything you need to support your coaching business.
Dubsado is a platform that can be used for many parts of a one on one coaching business. You can use it to schedule calls, send invoices, prepare contracts and collect payment. You can also use Dubsado to prepare packages and proposals, and attach contracts and invoices to the proposal so the client signup is seamless. Because your contract, packages and invoices can be connected together, you can use Dubsado to quickly create custom one on one offers. If you have standard packages, you can send your potential client a professional looking proposal immediately after or even during the call.
HoneyBook is a similar platform to Dubsado. It has a few less features, but some people consider it easier to use,
Jotform is one of the few platforms that allows you to collect signatures on the free plan. It is a powerful form builder so you might have other uses for this tool. It integrates with several other platforms and the forms can be embedded to add a custom appearance. You can also use Jotform to create fillable PDFs.
PandaDocs offers unlimited signatures on it’s free plan so is a good option when you are starting out. You’ll need to upgrade if you some of the other features like the drag and drop editor.
Adobe Acrobat can be used to create fillable pdfs that can be used for your contracts. However unless you are using Acrobat for other things, it’s not the most cost effective option.
What I recommend
What you decide to use for contracts depends on your budget, if you’ll use it for other platforms, how tech savvy you are and how you want your contracts presented. If your client management system offers contracts then this is probably the best route to take. If you are just getting started and looking for a free option, then I recommend Jotform.