Contracts FAQ

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FAQ > Contracts FAQ

Getting Started

Advanced Use

How can I create new contracts for the customer?

You can create contracts for customers from the Accounts window > Contracts tab or from the main Contracts window.

Each Contract record you open in CommitCRM is linked to a selected Account, has a unique ID code, start and end dates, type and status.

What contract types are supported?

There are four types of Contracts in CommitCRM: Global, Block of Time, Block of Tickets and Block of Money.

Global – Suitable for accounts that are limited to a predefined time period, i.e. a phone service contract valid for one year.

Block of Time – Suitable for accounts entitled to a limited and predefined block of service time. Each charge added to this contract will decrease the time remaining for the account.

Block of Money – Suitable for accounts entitled to a limited and predefined sum of money. Charges made to this contract will be deducted from the original sum.

Block of Tickets – Suitable for accounts entitled to a limited and predefined block of service tickets. Each ticket activated for this contract will mean that one ticket is subtracted from the original block of tickets.

Can I create more than one active contract for the same account?

Yes. You can create and manage several active contracts for each Account and use them concurrently. For example, you can have a Block of Tickets contract for phone support where each phone call costs a ticket, another contract for on-site visits, limited to 5 incidents or tickets, a Block of Time contract for network installation projects, and another Block of Time contract for emergency service limited to 2 hours, for example.

Does the system alert me when the contract has ended or has been over-extended?

Every Ticket and Charge in CommitCRM is always entered under one of the selected account contracts. When you create a ticket under an active contract, the system will warn you if the contract terms are obsolete – i.e. the block of time has already been used, the contract end date has passed, etc. For example, you can create a monthly contract for your customer called "Phone Support", select Block of Tickets as the contract type and set the initial value to 20. Each time the customer calls Support, one ticket will be subtracted from the initial value of the contract and when the block has been used up or the end date has passed the user will be alerted.

Must I use contracts?

No, the use of contracts is optional. If you don't have any special contract terms with your customers and you bill according to the activity performed – labor, expenses and parts, you can use the default system contract, which is automatically created for each Account without the need to create and manage contracts yourself.

Where can I see all the contracts that will soon expire?

Go to the Reports window > select the Contracts category and generate the 'Contract List by Type and Expiration' report.

How should I manage monthly recurring contracts?

To manage monthly contracts (or any other recurring term), you should first create a contract record for the first month, fill in all the relevant contract information as agreed with the customer – like service terms - and save. This should be repeated for all your customers with monthly (or other) recurring terms.

Then, when the month ends (or at any time prior to this) you should copy the contract and set new Start and End Dates for it (for the next month).

You can copy a single contract by selecting it in the Contract window and selecting the Copy option from the toolbar, or you can use the ‘Batch Copy of Contracts’ option (this will let you create many new updated contracts for expiring contracts).

When copying contracts, the original contract information is copied to the new contract – like service terms, the initial Block of Time value, Notes, etc.
Also, the contract sub-code will automatically be incremented.

The system will select the new copied contract as the default contract for the Account automatically, based on its Start Date. This means that you can copy a contract any time prior to its end and the system will only start using it when the previous contract expires.

Note: In order for the system to automatically select a contract by date, you should make sure the default contract selection for the Account is set to 'Automatic'.

For more details, we recommend you read about the ‘Batch Copy of Contracts’ wizard.

Can I copy a batch of Contracts to their next term at once?

Yes. From the Contracts window, you can select the ‘Batch Copy of Contracts for New Date Range’ option. Selecting this option will open a wizard window.

Using the Batch Copy of Contracts wizard, you can easily copy a batch of existing expiring Contracts to new Contracts that will be used for the next contract term (i.e. for the next month).

You can copy Contracts that will expire soon and ones that have already expired.

In the first step of this wizard you need to select the Contracts you want to copy to the next date range. To make the selection easier, you can filter the Contract list according to the Contract expiration date and the contract type.
Please note that by default, expiring contracts that already have new contracts for the next date range won’t be displayed in the list.

After selecting the Contracts to copy, click Next. You will then be moved to the next stage where you'll be asked to select the new Start and End dates for the new Contracts. You have several advanced options at this stage so it will be much easier for you to set the new date range.

Then you should click on the ‘Create Contracts’ button. The new contracts will be created. These new contracts will be identical to the contracts they were copied from except for the fact that their sub-code will be incremented by one and that they will have a different date range than the original contract.

When the wizard completes, it displays a list of all newly created contracts.

The system will select the new copied contract as the default contract for the Account automatically, according to its Start Date. This means that you can copy a contract any time prior to its end and the system will only start using it when the previous contract expires.

Note: In order for the system to automatically select a contract by date, you should make sure the default contract selection for the Account is set to 'Automatic'.

I want to update/correct the initial value of my Contract?

To update the initial value of your contract: open the main Contract window, select the relevant contract from the list, and from the Contract menu select Modify Initial Block Value.

Can I define Custom Pricing for Contracts?

Custom Pricing lets you set unique prices for different Accounts or Contracts. Once you define custom prices for an Account or Contract, these prices will be used automatically for every charge logged for Accounts or Contracts.

By default, the standard employee hourly rates and item prices will be used automatically. You should use custom pricing only when you want to use a different set of prices or rates for a specific Account or Contract. For example, custom pricing may be used to set a global 10% discount for a customer, or to set unique hourly rates for employees for a specific Account. To do so, set a Custom Price for the Account or Contract and define the adjustments. Once set, the system will automatically use the custom prices or rates instead of the standard ones when Charges are logged under this Account or Contract. When defining Custom Pricing, you can choose between a global custom price level or a per-item price.

You can read more about Custom Pricing in the Introduction to Billing, under Custom Pricing.

Account level vs. Contract level Custom Pricing
Custom Pricing can be defined at the Account level or Contract level. When custom prices are defined for the Contract, the Account's custom pricing settings are ignored, and the Contract's price settings are used. You can read more about this under Contract Level vs. Account Level Custom Pricing.

What is the contract's Linked Activity Template?

An Activity Template is a template that contains a group of pre-programmed activities—such as Tasks, Appointments, or Tickets—that can be applied to different parts of the system, including Contracts. Users can create Activity Templates for projects that their company commonly performs and which require a similar set of tasks, regardless of the client.

Each contract in the CommitCRM system can be assigned a "Linked Activity Template." This template can be linked to a contract and applied whenever a user copies this contract to a new date range or creates a new contract based on the contract to which the template is assigned.

You can read more about about this in the Activity Templates user guide under the Linked Activity Templates section.

How do I bill the customer for the contract price?

Contract-Price Charges provide an easy-to-use and innovative way to ensure that clients get billed for the service contracts you have signed with them, whether they are recurring contracts or ad-hoc contracts/projects.

Contract-Price Charges are used to charge for an amount agreed upon in a contract. For example, let’s say you sign a 50-hour (block-of-time) contract with a customer for a price of $1,000. You can then create a Contract-Price Charge to represent this amount ($1,000) in the CommitCRM system. A Contract-Price Charge only represents an amount listed for a contract—it does not represent a fee for specific work performed under a contract.

Contract-Price Charges work much like other charges in CommitCRM: they are included in reports; they can be defined as Billable; and they are included in invoices. However, since Contract-Price Charges do not represent specific work, they do not affect the balance of a contract block.

For further explanation, see Contract-Price Charges.

How can I suspend a contract?

To suspend a contract, open the contract details window and modify the Status to Suspended.

How can I close a contract?

To close a contract, enter the contract details window and modify the Status to Completed or Canceled.

What happens when a contract is closed?

If you link a charge or a ticket to a closed contract, the system will alert you.

How can I generate an invoice for a prepaid block of time without reducing the block balance?

The block balance is set when the contract is created.

The invoice should be created in your accounting system.

If you use the Commit-QuickBooks Link you can either create it directly in QuickBooks or create a labor charge in CommitCRM which is based on units (not hours or it will reduce the block balance). Set the price for the charge and set its status to Billable.

After the charge is entered for this contract you can generate a QuickBooks invoice for it from CommitCRM using the 'QuickBooks' menu in the Contract window.

Note: To add a unit based labor charge you should use a unit based labor item. You can learn more about the different labor types and pricing options supported by CommitCRM by clicking here.

What is the default Contract of an Account?

An Account’s default Contract is the contract that will be used by default when adding new Tickets or Charges to an Account.

This feature saves you time and helps you enter new Charges and Tickets quickly, without needing to manually select a Contract.

By default, whenever a Contract needs to be selected, the system automatically recommends a default Contract to use. The system recommends one of the Account's active contracts.

If the system identifies more than one active valid Contract for an Account, you will need to select the Contract you want to use.

When needed, you can set your preferred default Contract for an Account. If you set a default Contract, the system will always select this one without making a recommendation. This option should be used only in cases where you always want to use the selected contract. We do not recommend using this option unless you need to. This is especially true if you Batch Copy Contracts.

To manually set the default contract for an Account: Open the Accounts window, navigate to the relevant Account record, click on the Contracts tab, select the Contract you want to set as default, right-click on it > Default Contract > 'Set selected contract as the default contract for this account'.

When no other contract has been created for an Account, or when there are no other active Contracts, the 'Global System Contract' will be used. This is a Contract that is created for each Account by default.

What is a Sub-Code in Contracts?

The sub-code field in Contracts is an optional numeric field. This field is always displayed to the right of the Contract Code field. Its purpose is to help you easily differentiate between identical contracts for different date ranges.

For example, if there is a monthly contract with a customer, and the Contract Code is CM100, then the sub-code for the first month is 0001 (CM100.0001), the sub-code for the second month is 0002 (CM100.0002), etc.

When copying contracts you can assign a sub-code value yourself, or keep the system default value for the sub-code.
Also, when using the ‘Batch Copy of Contracts’ wizard to copy many contracts at once to the next term, the system automatically assigns the consecutive sub-code value for each contract.

See Also