Whew, this year has been a year full of contract work, in court and out of court, and I love it. I spend a lot of time harping on the importance of contracts, because as a litigator, dude, I see all the things that can go wrong! So, today, I’m back, with more content about how to make your contracts even better!

Today we are talking about Scope creep, the bane of many general contractors, services providers, website designers, marketing CEOs, and it’s true, even I have had to confront this issue from time to time.

So, scope creep. What is it? Well, it involves uncontrolled changes or continuous expansion in the services that were originally contemplated under the contract. Typically, scope creep happens because the project was not property defined in the first place (AHEM—a lawyer didn’t write your contract), or because your client doesn’t understand the parameters of the service (AHEM—that’s on YOU the business owner to make sure they understand).

So, how to avoid scope creep?

1. Define the project very clearly in your contract with the understanding that what seems obvious to you probably isn’t obvious to your client. Even if it is very, very obvious to everyone, it should still be stated clearly in the contract.

2. Provide specifics in as much detail is possible. Give your client a timeline of deliverables, and, importantly, give your client a list of items you need from them prior to performing the work or deliverables. I spend a ton of time on this with my clients. It is important to understand your process of working with clients, define it, and understand and define the services.

3. Anticipate the stumbling blocks. That’s right, and this comes from experience, but your contract should anticipate the problems and explain what will happen when the problems arise! For example, when I work on flat fees, I anticipate that potentially I might run into a client who requires many, many, many rounds of revisions because they continue to change their mind about their own processes. So, I build right into my contract how this situation will be addressed. I hope I don’t have to use that provision, but it is there so that I am not revising and revising again a contract for 6 months. Most times, I never have to rely on this, but when I do, it is handy.

4. If you do expand the scope, make sure your underlying contract has a provision that incorporates the changes and spells out a process for how those changes to scope will happen, i.e. in writing.

If you need help drafting your services contract or if you just want a lawyer to review your current contract, contact Wick Law Offices, LLC today! We can answer all of your questions!

Call me! 614-572-6366. Email me! mwick@mwicklaw.com. Wanna know more? Go to my website www.mwicklaw.com.

Wick Law, LLC is a small business legal practice, representing owners, investors, and entrepreneurs in all aspects of commercial, corporate, and business law, estate planning, contracts and negotiations, business litigation, and real estate. For more information: Contact 614-572-6366, visit www.mwicklaw.com, or email us at mwick@mwicklaw.com. Wick Law, LLC is located in Columbus, Ohio.

(Materials in this article have been prepared by Wick Law, LLC for general informational purposes only. This list is for educational purposes and is not to be considered exhaustive. More items could be added to this checklist based upon the type of transaction or industry standards. These materials do not, and are not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information provided is not privileged and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wick Law, LLC or any of the firm’s lawyers. This checklist is not an offer to represent you. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based upon any information in this checklist. Wick Law, LLC maintains offices in Columbus, Ohio, and has lawyers licensed to practice in Ohio and in the United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio. The firm does not intend to practice law in any jurisdiction where the firm is not licensed.)

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