Many businesses work heavily with third-party vendors for everything from marketing to scheduling, customer service and more. While vendors may provide your own business with substantial benefits and much-needed services, there is a risk that you could miss out on the chance to adequately control your operations as a result. You understandably need to maximize the benefits that vendors can provide to your business while finding a way to maintain superior control of your business. These tips can help you to accomplish the results that you desire so that you can take full advantage of vendor relationships.
Vet the Vendors Carefully
Before you start working with any new vendor, you should spend ample time checking out their credentials. The easiest and fastest way to accomplish this goal is to use a business credentialing service. Everything from pending legal actions to financial strength, credit history, and more may be reviewed through this type of check. While there is a fee associated with using vendor screening services, you will also enjoy the incredible benefits associated with making a wise decision about which companies to work with as a result. You may even consider vetting your vendors again each time a contract renews in the future for the best outcome possible. This is because some of these factors may change over time.
Check References and Reviews
While it is important to vet your vendors by reviewing their credentials, it is also critical that you check their references and read reviews online before you establish a relationship. References may be provided by the vendors, and you can contact them via email or phone in most cases to ask them direct questions that you are most concerned about. Online reviews may give you a better understanding of how their customers or clients view the level of service or the quality of products they provide.
You can find these reviews however you want to, whether it’s a simple google search or a specific vendor rating website. Either way, be sure to take reviews with a grain of salt. Regardless of the actual rating, the review will help you to gain a more well-rounded view of what it may be like to work with different vendors.
Read and Understand Contracts
The next step you should take before you start working with any third-party vendor is to read through each contract carefully. Contracts may dictate the length of the relationship, the required actions of the vendor, your own ability to act in different ways, the fees and more. If you have questions about clauses or do not understand what they are saying, consult with an attorney. You should always be comfortable with your own requirements outlined in a contract as well as with fees, limitations and more.
Negotiate the Terms of the Cancellation Clause in Contracts
The cancellation clause in the contract is critical because it gives you an exit option in the event you are not happy with the relationship or with the level of service that the vendor provides. Use your lawyer to negotiate the terms of the cancellation clause so that they are favorable for you. Remember that your business lawyer may also be able to negotiate other terms that you may not be comfortable with so that they are more advantageous to you. Do not be timid about negotiating because the contract terms can have a direct impact on your business in the years to come. If you don’t know where to find help, there are lawyer directories that can point you in the right direction.
Third-party vendors can provide your business with incredible benefits or much-needed services in different ways, but remember that these vendors also may gain greater control over your company than you would like to relinquish at times. As a business owner, you must retain adequate control over your business at all times, and you also must ensure that your vendors are reputable and responsive. You may be able to set up strategic relationships with third party providers when you follow these helpful tips.