1. Contract Tips
2. When Do You Need a Contract?

Contract Tips

A business contracts template can help an agreement go more smoothly by spelling out the terms and conditions of a business agreement in a contract, which will lay out specific responsibilities and expectations for both the company or contractor and the client. A contract should include details such as:

  • Timelines.
  • Payments.
  • Material used.
  • Procedures to complete the job.
  • Procedures that will be in place to handle disagreements.

While a contract can help to keep both parties focused on the same goal and under the same impression, it can also become an important tool if a problem reaches court. Whether you are creating your own or just signing a contract, there are some contract tips that you will always want to follow:

  • No matter who wrote the form, always read it thoroughly.
  • Check that all details such as name, address, and contact information are correct.
  • Make sure all the details listed are what you expect.
  • Read all fine print and verify any language that might seem ambiguous.
  • Make sure that the contract includes the four primary items that should be included in any contract, which are the offer, the consideration, the acceptance, and the mutuality.
  • Get advice on any legal regulations that may apply to your situation when creating a contract.
  • Make sure to include any industry associations or unions that may be involved.
  • Check that any insurance, restrictions, or regulations that will be necessary to start or during completion of work are included.
  • Be sure to state items even if you feel they would be obvious to anyone.
  • List exact products and define any terms that are included in the contract.
  • Be specific on terms, such as 30 days, by indicating whether you mean calendar days or business days.
  • Include payment terms and any pre-payment or milestone payments that will be necessary throughout the job. This section should also include any late fees or interest that will accrue for late payments.
  • List any insurance requirements that will need to be in place before work can begin.
  • Include any processes for dispute resolution such as arbitration.
  • Keep appropriate length spaces for signing and make sure there are no areas that could be filled in later to alter the contract.
  • Always keep a copy of the contract and provide two contracts for signing so you each can have an original.
  • Make sure to keep your contract somewhere safe in case it needs to be referenced during any future disputes.

Remember that after the contract is signed, the agreement is a legally binding contract. If you think that you have signed a contract in error, you may find some relief in an indemnity clause, which can assign blame if there is an error. 

When Do You Need a Contract?

Even though oral contracts are enforceable by law, they can be more difficult, and a written contract will provide better details about what each party agreed to. When providing a product or service without the presence of a contract, you will need to have a lot of evidence to help prove what was agreed to and what happened in the event that an oral agreement goes to court. Things you will want to keep include:

  • All emails associated with the job.
  • All estimates quotes and invoices.
  • Notes from any of the discussion.
  • A log of any phone calls between you and the client.
  • Copies of any documents you have related to the agreement.

Having a written contract will not only protect you in the event of a lawsuit, but it will help make your case easier to present. While having a written contract is a good idea for any agreement, there are some instances where you will want to make sure to have a written contract.

  • Your work or product will require a specific type of expected quality or materials used.
  • You have concerns that you may have difficulty receiving payment from the client.
  • The project involves a timeline that will include payments for milestones that need to be clearly defined.
  • The contract includes bonuses in the event of an early completion.

While no contractor or client wants to anticipate a legal dispute, it is better to be prepared then end up with expensive legal costs and fees trying to prove an oral agreement.

If you need help with business contract templates, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.”