Can Your Contract; Letters are Better

Tear up your contract.

Half your clients don’t understand it, the other half don’t read it. Your contract is a waste of their time, and yours.

Nowadays, a simple”Letter of Understanding” is all you need to close the sale and seal the deal.

If you’re spending money on a lawyer to draw up some detailed legal document spelling out your conditions of service, you’re wasting that money. Contracts just don’t cut it anymore.

You’re much better off distributing a simple letter, stating the scope and time frame of the project, the payment terms, and your policy should the client request additional design services or products.

And that’s it.

Enclose or attach a basic one page list of additional legal conditions if you like, but leave it at that.

A kitchen and bath professional hired me recently to review her 12 page contract.  I pared it down to a five paragraph letter of understanding.

“But it’s so short,” she said. “That’s the problem.”

“That’s not the problem,” I replied. “That’s the point.

Here are the key talking points of her new letter:

Paragraph #1: I look forward to remodeling your kitchen.

#2: My understanding of the scope of the project.

#3 Payment schedule and terms.

#4 What happens if you expand the project.

#5 Thanks for the opportunity to work with you.

We’re living at a time when people use their fingers to get their information in nanoseconds, rather than use their minds to pore through lengthy documents. They want, and need their information in bite-sized chunks.

Use a letter to tell them concisely and precisely what they need to know.

Use a contract to line the bird cage.


Fred Berns is a promotional copy writer and coach for interior design professionals.

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