Online Contracts

Digitally signed client documents and contracts[ 4 min read ]

Guest blog by Fiona Frayne from Initial Words

Quite recently I bit the bullet, and went for a digitally-signed client contract service, rather than the old method of sacrificing a forest for the paper, and a couple of pigeons for the delivery.

I won’t kid you, I was nervous. There is something quite reassuring to have a contract physically in your hands rather than a virtual version and to create something legal in the cyber-world was a bit unsettling at first.

The benefits of a digitally signed documents

There are loads of reasons for going down the digital route, laziness is a prime one – who wants to stand at the printer and then walk down to the post office? Not many. Creating a digital contract is so much easier and way less time consuming, leaving you time to get on with your next job, or nothing if you wish.

I started thinking more about what benefits it offers and I came up with these:

  • Secure access to the document
  • Quick access for your client and you!
  • Less paper so lower environmental impact
  • Online storage which means less physical clutter (who doesn’t want less clutter)
  • And the list goes on…

For me, bringing all of these together was important, and with the advent of tighter data protection laws, it’s important to ensure that your’s and your client’s information is secure. Using an encrypted, legally compliant service delivers on all these levels.

So, you don’t issue too many contracts and you don’t want to spend money on an expensive app?

I know how you feel! As a smaller sized business, there isn’t any real reason for me to spend more cash on a complicated, all singing, all dancing fancy app. So I went for one which is free at a basic level to see if I like it and, additionally, one which is compatible with Google Drive.

Drum roll….

I eventually went for HelloSign. If you are only sharing up to 3 documents per month for signing, you can get this for free! Any more and you’re looking at $15+ per month (check out the pricing structure HERE), still fairly reasonable for your security, legal requirements, and it saves you printing costs and postal time. You can link HelloSign to your browser as an add-on which means when you open your Google Drive, you can use it to sort out any secure signatures for any Google Docs files stored in there.

Alternatives to Hellosign

There are other ways of sorting out online signatures which are also legally compliant and just as simple to operate. If you have a WordPress website, you can use various plugins to achieve this:

You can see that there are plenty of options to check out, but if you are adding widgets or plugins to your website, talk to Suzi or Sarah at The Smart Bear for advice before you do, some add-ons aren’t compatible with others and can stop your website from functioning properly. Having sensible advice before adding anything can be a lot more cost effective than a repair job!

What do I think of digitally signing contracts now?

Digital signing wasn’t too scary, honest! After a couple of teething problems learning how to do it and finding my way around the app, I got it done. Easy-peasy! I will definitely use HelloSign again.

Things to remember:

  • Ninja Forms Signature Contract Add-on
  • Always ensure that you have had reliable advice when creating legally-binding contracts
  • Talk to your web developer if you are adding plugins and widgets on to your website
  • Read reviews before deciding on your app.
Suzi Smart Bear

I'm Suzi - the owner of The Smart Bear.

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