Why We Chose HelloSign to Streamline Our Legal Process
The following information is in no way intended to serve as legal advice for anyone, or to be taken as the law. Websterpeace is not responsible in any way for any legal actions or consequences that may result from the following information. Always consult an attorney before handling any legal documents, digital or physical.
Let's face it — the administrative / legal side of your business is not the most appealing part of entrepreneurship, and it probably never will be.
Between working on current projects, blogging, content creation, and managing your social accounts, you probably don't have a burning desire within you to go sign paperwork, fill out the same forms for hours on end, and repeat for each client day in and day out.
When I first started Websterpeace, this is typically how our process worked when it came to legal:
Secure a verbal agreement from our client → Revise written agreement → Print written agreement → Drive back to the client → Explain agreement → Receive Signatures → Start Project
Suffice to say, we weren't incredibly efficient with the paperwork back then, and even after all of this was completed, the agreement wasn't even backed up digitally until we got in front of a scanner.
At the time, I knew that we needed to become more efficient when it came to the Legal aspect of a business, but I think most entrepreneurs can agree with me on this — whenever you're first getting started, it can be tough to focus on the boring aspects when you all you really want to do is focus on the aspects you're passionate about.
After doing a lot of in-depth research on who the top industry leaders were in eSignatures + Digital Documents, we decided on using HelloSign for all of our in-house legal documents.
Here's 5 reasons why using HelloSign completely changed how we handle paperwork:
1 | Templates
We're big fans of saving time and energy, especially in regards to paperwork. HelloSign offers its users the ability to create templates based on your documents that you typically use multiple times for each client or individual (such as with an Non-Disclosure Agreements), so all you have to do is mark which areas need to be revised on each document (like Name, Date, etc.) No more fumbling around with going having to type in each individual's information multiple times, and no more wasted time. It's a win-win!
2 | Audit Trails
HelloSign has a fantastic feature known as Audit Trails, which basically begins once you send a document off for signing. Once you send out the invites to the people who are supposed to sign the agreement, HelloSign creates a digital Audit Trail page that's tied to the document, which takes detailed records on when and where the following actions happen:
- Document Uploaded
- Document Viewed
- Document Removed
- Document Sent
- Document Signed
- Decline to Sign
- Signer Email Address Updated
- Signer Access Code Authenticated
- Signature Request Canceled
By having information like this with time stamps affixed to each individual's actions, there is concrete, non-editable proof of when the documents were accessed, reviewed, and signed. While we've never had to use this information in a court system, it's does provide peace-of-mind that there are indisputable records of each signer's actions.
3 | In-Person Signing
Sometimes, signing things in-person may be easier, like in the case that the client wants to talk about the agreement in person and sign it after things are clarified. However, if you print out the agreement and bring it for signing, you risk not having a digital copy available until you get in front of a computer. By allowing the client to sign in-person via an iPad or iPhone, you'll automatically have a digital copy saved in HelloSign (and Google Drive/Dropbox, if you've enabled it), the customer can get a copy of the agreement as well, and you virtually eliminate the chance of losing the agreement. (Plus, there have been times where people would rather sign on a touchscreen than sign using their mouse or uploading their signature from a piece of paper.)
4 | Google Integration
HelloSign integrates seamlessly with Google's wide variety of services (probably because one of their top investors is the Creator + Lead Developer of Gmail), and in quite a few different ways, but our favorite integrations are with Gmail and Google Drive.
Gmail: From time-to-time, I'll end up on the other side of things and have to sign a document from someone else, which previously required me to download it, sign it, save it, and then re-upload it to Gmail. With the HelloSign extension, I can hover over an attachment, click Sign, and have the document pop-up in HelloSign (while still in Gmail) — allowing me to circumvent the longer process of downloading and re-uploading.
Google Drive: With Google Drive integration, you can save all your signed documents in Google Drive automatically, prepare documents for signing without ever having to leave Drive, and import documents from Drive into HelloSign from anywhere. (Not a Google Drive fan? You're still in luck. You can still enjoy the benefits of having copies of signed documents if you use Dropbox.)
5 | Ease-of-Use
When I say ease-of-use, I mean it in every sense of the word. From uploading the documents to marking the fields where the customer signs to digital delivery — the whole system is flawless. Uploading files and marking fields for signatures can usually be done in less than 10 minutes, and the digital delivery system works like a charm, allowing users to send their own messages + notes to the client/individual that receives the agreement.
Digital delivery completely eliminated us having to drive back-and-forth just to get a signature, and to top it all off, everyone involved isn't rushed to read or sign the agreement. Our agreements are written in super plain English (we avoid legalese when we can) and, for the most part, simply just cover the Scope of Work and other details like that, but we know that our clients may have other things on their mind or on their schedule that interfere with an in-person meeting, so having digital delivery as an option is a huge win for both parties. Plus, in the event that the client simply forgets to read over the agreement, HelloSign automatically sends a reminder 3 days after and 7 days after you sent the agreement initially, and you can send your own reminders whenever you'd like.
I'm curious — what are your thoughts on eSignatures and Digital Signing, or what does your legal process look like? Let me know in the comments below!