How do you word your doula contract? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 5 Old 08-25-2003, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm trying to redo my doula contract. I have all the 'what a doula does (I will do) and does not do (clinical stuff, if your DONA)' but I want to put something in there about "after "X" amount of days, if service is terminated by the client, "X" amount will be retained". I've lost a client after 3 visits with her, she hired me, gave me half of the fee, and soon after, had a "change of heart". She let me keep the fee she paid me. At the time, I did give her a contract (on her request, I normally don't give a contract out, unless I feel that I need it or if the couple ask for it), but it said absolutely nothing about terminating services, so I need to revamp it.
Does anyone have a way to word this differently or better? I don't want to sound rude or crass, just business like. (not to say sounding "business like" is rude or crass or anything)
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#2 of 5 Old 08-29-2003, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone?? anyone?? no one has a doula contract....:
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#3 of 5 Old 08-29-2003, 12:37 AM
 
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My contract basically reads that 50% of the fee is due by the first visit and the balance is due at the 37 week visit. It also states that if a client changes her mind before the 37 week visit, the deposit will be retained but no further payment due, and that if she changes her mind after 37 weeks that I retain the full fee.

I decided to do things that way because I realize that there may be personality conflicts that may not reveal themselves at the consult and I wanted to give clients an out. However, I should probably be compensated for my time, expenses, and for reserving a place for them on my calendar and not taking other clients in their place.

I also spell out my backup policy and make it clear that even if I use a backup, the full fee will still be due. I haven't had to use a backup yet, but that keeps that issue clear for the future.

Good luck!

Stacia -- intrepid mama, midwife, and doula. Changing the world one 'zine at a time.
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#4 of 5 Old 03-06-2016, 01:54 PM
 
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I've discovered that it's important what wording you use, for legal purposes. Instead of "deposit" or something else, calling something a "retainer" gives you a legal right to keep the money should you ever be taken to court over it. The wording in my contract is this: I require a retainer of [half the total amount] upon signing this contract. This secures your birth on my calendar and is applied toward my total fee. The retainer fee becomes non-refundable and non-transferrable after 72 hours. The remainder of the fee is due no later than three weeks before your estimated due date. I also make sure that I have a signed contract with *EVERY* client before their first prenatal meeting with me. (Furthermore, I get a signed confidentiality release and a separate signed "fees page," leaving a copy with them as well.) This way there are no disputes later, and if there are any, I'm protected. It's much easier for a client to come after a business than it is for a business to go after a client for non-payment. My parents are both also entrepreneurs, and I've learned from their hard lessons that it's better to be safe than sorry.
I hope this helps!

Last edited by TrueNorthDoula; 03-06-2016 at 01:58 PM.
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#5 of 5 Old 04-21-2017, 08:37 PM
 
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I'm surprised no other doulas have chimed in on this. Anybody?
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