Read your contract

In this job, I find myself constantly asking the question: Do individuals not read contracts? Or more importantly, do they not understand what theyre signing?

Signing a contract, especially if it is the foundation on which your business is based, should not be entered into lightly. Ultimately you should ensure that your chosen network or business partner has everything you need to build your business; after all, this is a massive step for anyone.

The problems begin when you decide that the network or business partner hasnt actually delivered what they promised and you now want to end your contract but you find that you didnt really read it that carefully after all. Or maybe you didnt understand what the implications would be once youve given notice. I guess were all guilty of this because, lets face it, most contracts are constructed by some legal expert whos the only one who really fully understands it. When presented with a contract we all take them away with the best intentions of reading them but too often we just end up signing.

The number of brokers who dont realise that they have to actually give notice to a network constantly surprises me. I thought that a notice period was a given considering the environment that we work in. I recently had a broker who wasnt happy with the changes PNG had made, which is fair enough you cant please everyone all the time. I gave them some space over Christmas and rang them in the New Year to see what theyd decided only for them to say: Ive already left. I found it astounding that they think they can leave the network without communicating this, when we work within such a controlled environment.

Im even more amazed that they think they can leave without paying back their unearned income. Some firms seem astonished when they receive a statement outlining what needs to be paid back. Who do they think is going to meet the cost of clawbacks? Even worse though are the other companies who are prepared to take these individuals on when they owe money to their previous network. Then when times are hard they churn this business until its time to move again. As an industry we shouldnt allow this to happen but then were all desperate to get the numbers up when we should be looking at the quality. My advice to networks looking at taking on these firms is if theyve done it once, theyll do it again.

Perhaps Im talking about a minority of individuals Ive dealt with and that really most of the industry is conducting itself in a professional manner. My point for broker firms is to make sure youre certain of what youre signing and that you know what the implications are once you want out. But, then again, that goes for any contract whether its joining a network or a new mobile phone. Read the small print its amazing what youll find and it could mean the difference between signing or not.