Raking it in without
breaking your soul

Laughable Contract Clauses

I have a short and sweet contract. It’s 1 page long. As soon as I sniff that a potential client and I are getting to the contract phase, I offer to draft one up for us. Because I hate – HATE – dealing with boilerplate contracts.

They take a hundred years of my life to read closely.

They’re full of legalese I’m sure is intended to make the average Jane feel dumb.

And they’re usually distributed without regard for the actual scope under negotiation.

Corporate and government legal departments are not writing contracts with the best interest of your small business in mind. They assume you’re so thirsty for work you’re going to sign without reading very closely.

I took one for the team and identified several ridiculous contract clauses that you shouldn’t agree to.

Laughable Contract Clause A:

I’m absolutely not looking up some arcane statute buried deep in some document that isn’t even linked to attest to my compliance.

Among many other statues in one particular contract, I had to swear to uphold one single line that linked to a set of provisions that’s 417 pages long.

Laughable Contract Clause B:

This is only 25% of the required wording they want me to print onto a flyer and post in my office. Where I work by myself. While many of these clauses don’t apply to solo enterprises, they also aren’t applicable to the modern workforce, where large teams work remote. What, are we gonna print and mail flyers that every employee has to post in their living room? No.

I had a contract that wanted me to attest I’ve done all of this under penalty of perjury.

Exhibit C:

Though I’m with you in spirit and will absolutely vote, I’m not. posting. flyers.

Exhibit D:

Can you even imagine what my office would look like with all these freakin posters?

Here’s a good one. Exhibit E:

I have to provide proof of auto insurance? For a virtual workshop?

I’ve argued with procurement departments over this one, multiple times. Cars are not involved in the execution of this work. What if people don’t even own a car?

Exhibit F:

Not even 48 business hours. Nope. Not answering emails on a Sunday.

Plus, this contract had three different places where I had to agree to provide a certification of compliance that I don’t use child labor.

I’ve reviewed a contract for a colleague new to the biz where the contract required a physical fitness test. For a virtual design gig.

Have you ever seen a laughable contract clause? Please tell me about it.

The boilerplate is so fully cooked that most procurement officers don’t even look at the scope of the work under contract to see if it’s applicable.

You might be thinking, oh screw it. If procurement isn’t looking at the contract, they surely won’t follow up and ask me for this documentation.

And that would be a very foolish move, my dear.

I have 100% been asked, within 10 minutes of emailing my signature on the contract, for every bit of documentation.

The advice is, of course, to get a lawyer on your team who can review each of your contracts and create counters when necessary.

To be totally honest, I didn’t have the money to hire a lawyer to review each piece of paper when I got started.

I also don’t need a lawyer to recognize ridiculous when I see it.

These days, though I do have a lawyer I can hit up when needed, I make the first move and red line any clauses that don’t work for me. Contracts aren’t set in stone. You have the authority to ask for adjustments or strike outs.

That also means the potential client has the authority to reject your edits and create an impasse. At which point you get to decide if getting a certification of compliance that you don’t hire children is worth the effort. And THIS, my friend, is why you don’t count the money until the ink is dry.

New around here? Get my weekly letters directly in your inbox.

We’ll never share your information with anyone else. How gross.