A contract is an agreement between two parties; where each party gains something and loses, or pays, something. Except in certain situations, a contract does not have to be written to be enforceable. However, having a written document stating exactly what was agreed to is always a good idea. Whether written or oral this is what you should know about contracts.
Contracts Protect Both Parties
A well written contract will outline each party’s rights and responsibilities. It will describe exactly what is expected of each party and when. So if a disagreement arises the contract should provide the answer. This is good for both parties. Watch out for contracts that are one sided and only offer protections to the drafter. If you are one the receiving end of such a contract, renegotiate the terms.
Always Have a Contract Before Work Begins
You may have negotiated most of the terms of the agreement and are anxious for work to begin. You may think that all the major points have been agreed to and the details can be completed later. A disagreement will inevitably arise, usually about a minor detail, before the contract is finalized. Have a complete contract signed by all parties before work begins or money changes hands.
Terms Are Negotiable, So Be Prepared To Negotiate
Do not think that just because someone presents you with a pre-printed boiler plate agreement that you must agree. Even if you are dealing with a company much bigger than you, terms are always negotiable. If there is something important to you, do not be afraid to ask for it.
Know When to Seek Help
You may have reached an agreement about price, time frame, and scope of work. Having a contract that reflects only those terms may not provide sufficient protection if there is a disagreement. An attorney can advise you on issues such as choice of law, severability and what happens in the event of a natural disaster.
This post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed, as legal advice. Always consult an attorney, licensed in your state, before taking legal action.