Working with Vendors and Long-Term Contracts with Your WooCommerce Shop

In a podcast, I had Christie Chirinos from Nexcess and Dave Rodenbaugh from Recapture.io give their perspective and elaborate on a Twitter list Eric Bandholz from BeardBrand share of the ten things he wish he knew when starting his eCommerce site. As I shared each tip, it was interesting to hear their point of views.

In this post, I share their response to the tip:

Never sign a long-term contract unless you’ve been working with the vendor for years 

I think that the trend that we’re seeing is that we’re saying that really makes sense at the beginning and starts to morph as you grow. And so at the beginning that makes sense to me because of the balance of power. If you’re cutting deals and starting to build your partnerships and starting to figure out how to work with other people in your space, you wanna make sure that you’re getting into things that you’re gonna be able to handle. Because especially business partnerships are kind of like marriages in this weird way that you’re really gonna have to work with this person, and nowadays after exiting in Caldera Forms, I do get a good number of requests about like, “Hey, you know, how did you meet your business partner? “How did you work with your business partner?” 

The balance of power grows and changes

And the reality of that was that we had known each other for a year plus and we were like, “Okay this is gonna be a big deal “So let’s make sure that we’re treating it “like a big deal and being really careful.” And I would add that even if you’ve known the vendor as your balance of power grows and changes but even at the beginning, get a lawyer. You’re going to want to have a lawyer take a couple of hundred dollars from you and review contracts that you’re cutting with vendors because you can’t possibly think of all the stuff that’s coming down the road especially when you’re starting out and you’re dealing with that balance of power and they will help.

Careful about being locked in

I would also add that there’s some important learning that goes on when you’ve been working with a vendor for a little while, maybe they’re not the right supplier of everything that you need upfront. Maybe they have some delivery issues and they’re showing up late and you don’t want that long-term contract to lock you in even if they had the terms that you thought were favorable, even if they had a pricing that was favorable if they can’t deliver on what it is you are actually needing for your business you’re in a lot of trouble with that. 

And if you’ve been locked in with that long-term contract getting out of that could be expensive, it could harm your business materially, physically, legally, all of those things. You know, I’m just trying to think from a perspective of like, if you’re looking at even digital services, you know, like for example, I used to use Drip for email marketing when I was doing the plugins. And you know, I was using the month to month for a long time, and then I realized, okay, they are gonna meet my needs, they’re gonna grow with me to the point that I need to grow, and I’m comfortable signing a long-term contract now with them because their support is okay, their infrastructure is solid, delivery rates are what I want. And now I’m gonna sign a long-term contract so I can save 20% a year which now materially impacts my business in a positive way. 

But that was only after I used them for a long time. You know, we don’t lock anybody into long-term contracts at Recapture cause a lot of people are very nervous about that sort of stuff. And you don’t wanna say, “You have to sign a year long contract with us. “You can’t use us.” And that’s, that’s just not a reality of this day and age. There are people that wanna do that upfront but they are definitely the exception not the rule.

Yeah. I mean, and the thing about Recapture having that pricing model is what I have found especially when it comes to WooCommerce plugin services is that any product worth its salt won’t have that kind of commitment, and instead of we’ll have a generous way for you to trial and test that relationship and then we’ll offer you a discount or we’ll offer you something upfront like that for that long order commitment. Partnerships are hard, vendor management is hard but ultimately you never wanna find yourself in that position where they’re getting more out of you than you’re getting out of them.

You can listen to the full podcast.