When starting any engagement or client work, it’s best to have a contract. This is to protect both parties by being clear about what each person will do.
Seth Godin wrote a great post on this. In fact, you should probably just read everything Seth has ever written. Chances are he’s covered every topic you need when starting a business, running a business, and launching a product.
Seth’s point is there is no reason contracts have to be written in legalese. He recommends including a clear piece of text to simplify things if the project goes south:
"Any disagreements over the interpretation of this agreement will be resolved through binding, informal arbitration. Both of us agree to hire a non-involved attorney, submit up to five pages of material to state our case, and abide by her decision."
This is so simple, but so smart. This ensures both sides are heard, both sides can trust an impartial party will a decision, and both sides have a small, equal cap on legal expenses. Brilliant.