Keeping it Green: Digitally Signing Contracts
Today’s youth are obsessed with getting something now. They don’t want to wait for anything. In fact, some even get extremely upset when Facebook takes a tad longer than usual to load on their cell phones making it “almost impossible” to update their status. Now I won’t lie; I, too, am one of those that likes instant gratification. Whether that means being able to jump on Google street view from my iPhone, watching the latest youtube video gone viral, or simply watching digital broadcast TV, I don’t want to deal with hiccups in service or be tethered to the wall by my ethernet cable.
Since starting Jelyco in 2008, I’m constantly on the lookout for new ways to get things done. One of the things I disliked most about doing business with others was the time it takes to get contracts signed. Usually it means printing one out, mailing it to the client, having them sign it, mailing it back, having us sign it, make copies, and then mail those copies back out to the client. That whole process can take up to a month. Being an online company, I tossed out the idea that someone should have a way to digitally sign these things so they could be signed in just hours instead of months. Not only would this help us get to work faster (since we don’t start work until we have a signed contract), but it will also help save a few trees in the process.
I like to support services that help me accomplish something online. It’s not that I can’t get it done myself, it’s that I think my time is better spent making Jelyco’s customer’s web sites shine and perform to their highest potential. I started out searching for “digital signature service” with my friends over at Google and just started clicking. There’s something quite therapeutic about just opening a bunch of tabs and researching something you’re interested in. Could be I’m just crazy, too. Anyway, I came across some services that appeared to do exactly what I wanted: allow for people to digitally sign contracts.
Each of the three I looked at closely boasted slightly different features. All had some sort of free trial, which is great as I don’t feel one can really make a decision until you’ve actually gone through the process with real data for a real purpose. The three also promoted the ease at which one can send, sign, and manage the documents. IdentTrust could handle more than just document signing, so that one dropped off my list quickly. Not because I don’t think they did document signing any different than the other, but because I was looking for a simple document signing company — not a multiple service solution. Between EchoSign and DocuSign, it all came down to price. EchoSign won that hands down, especially for a relatively new company like Jelyco.
The E-SIGN act, signed into law on October 1st, 2000 by President Bill Clinton, pretty much says that your digital signature is just as powerful and legally binding as your written signature. Pretty cool, huh?
Security is another aspect I had to be sure was up to par. There’s no way I’d send out a document to be signed if it wasn’t over an encrypted protocol making it near impossible for someone to intercept. EchoSign does not send the documents over email, it only has a link. That link opens a PDF over an encrypted connection requiring your email, name, and initials.
So far Jelyco has sent out two contracts for signature in last two weeks using EchoSign. Our average time to signature is 7.9 minutes. I’d sure say that beats the almost month it has taken in the past. So not only do we get working on our client’s projects faster, but we even save a tree or two in the process!