The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) on Thursday 30th of June 2022 held an event under the theme “Tackling challenges facing content creators” to help creators solve some of the challenges affecting them in the industry.
The event brought together content creators from across all sectors who attended the event to learn about how they tackle some of the challenges they have been facing us, content creators.
From the discussions we had at the event, we noticed that a large percentage of brands use content creators to market their products and services yet the industry is facing major challenges especially when it comes to payment delays and in some cases outright refusal to pay.
In extreme situations, the brands would refuse to pay and claim the work under-delivered or not as per the agreed terms when there was no written to be assigned by both parties and so the case cannot proceed anywhere.
Most of them agreed on the many trails of non-payments they’ve gone through as some of the setbacks they have encountered with clients while transacting business and we learnt something new.
Over the years, we’ve learned to monetize our work, and pitch to brands for business but making them pay for our work even with written and signed contracts in place is becoming an uphill task.
What can we do to make sure the clients we work so hard for pay?
Our speaker Linda Atsieno of Atsieno, Ngunyo &Associates an advocate of the high court of Kenya, took us through some of the challenges she has experienced in the line of service and also recommended tons of solutions we can employ in future while working with clients that will make them accountable for the work, they trust us to do.
She pointed out that we need to fully understand business relations with our clients while striking business deals with them. Understanding what these business relationships entail will help us collaborate well with our clients.
Why do we need good business relations? Good business entails trust, loyalty, and communication. These three factors foster client satisfaction, co-separation, motivation and innovation.
“When someone asks you about the nature of your businesses with your clients, there should be a document “a binding contract” that binds the relationship together,” she said.
Why do content creators need a contract with clients?
A contractual relationship is where you have agreements with your client that will defend you in the event of non-payment or one party breaches the contract.
A contract might be anything from a virtually signed contract, verbal or anything that binds that relationship together. With all these, you’ll be able to agree on payments, the scope of work and delivery but in the event of nonpayment, you’ll not be able to prove the relationship in court with a verbal or oral contract.
Besides payment issues, with a written contract, you can also refer back to the terms of the contract in case of a breach or a disagreement in future.
We also had discussions about the agreement of contract which has key things that we should put into consideration when drafting an agreement with our business partners.
- Description of the parties
- Terms of the agreement
- The scope of work
- Signatures from both parties
In the event you have a verbal agreement, make it a norm to write an email or an SMS back to your clients with a list of things you agreed to work on including the payment terms, the scope of work and terms you agreed on before proceeding with the work.
This creates evidence of a relationship that has been commenced.
“The email gives you a chance to discuss the proper terms of the contract. If the case ends up in court, you also have a better chance of presenting evidence of work done and previous communication of the agreement”
Note, a WhatsApp message or screenshot is not enough evidence in court unless it can prove without a doubt that it represents communication between the two parties. It has to at least show the contact details of the accused to be termed valid.
Alternatively, where there was no contract, request for local purchase order (LPO) from your clients.
An LPO is a document sent to the seller by the buyer showing the products the buyer intends to purchase and the transaction.,
An LPO acts in the place of a contract because it contains all the critical contents of a contract like the scope of work, mode of payment, parties and address of parties involved and the contract deliverables.
In the event of disputes, the LPO protects both parties from incurring losses.
Ms Atsieno also urged content creators to make use of the small claims court in the event of non-payment after the agreed period of lapses. The small claims court allows you to report small cases amounting to one million and below.
The Small Claims Court is established by the Small Claims Act 2016 article 169 of the Constitution. The court is part of an initiative to enhance the ease of business in the country. The courts are intended to reduce the backlog of cases by having disputes resolved through simple, inexpensive and expeditious procedures, thus enhancing access to justice.
The court also has a timeline of 60 days to settle all matters and the process is also very simple so you don’t have to worry about months of back and forth or exorbitant court fees.