It is never a good idea to rely on a hand-shake or verbal statements to create a contract. The following are some tips of what to include to make your written contract enforceable:
- 1. Who are the parties? Sure, it sounds like a basic tip, but are you contracting with an individual, a company or both? If a company, you should sign with the name of the company, not the name of the person acting as one of the parties to a contract. In some cases, the agreement may require both. Make sure you have the correct parties.
- 2. What does each party have to do? Now that you know the parties and have listed them in the agreement, you must list in detail the services or goods and state what the other party must do to receive compensation, or what the other party will receive as compensation.
- 3. When does each party have to do it? Is this an open-ended contract, a contract for future performance, or is time of the essence? You need to know when each party is expected to perform under the contract.
- 4. When do I get paid or when do I have to pay? Who pays who and when – the contract spells out when payments must be made and what happens if the payments are not made or are not made on time.
- 5. When do I know I have a contract? You need formal acceptance for enforcement. Do you have acceptance or just an offer? If you only have an offer without acceptance this is not an enforceable contract.
- 6. If I have to sue to enforce the contract what happens? If you want your attorney’s fees and costs paid in the event you need to sue that needs to be in the contract, as does in what court you want your suit to be heard (probably your hometown). If you want to give the other side a chance to correct their mistake or to have the conflict heard outside of a courtroom that needs to be included as well.
Attorney Cesery L. Bullard of Bullard Law has extensive experience drafting contracts and making sure that they are tailored to your specific needs. The best way to prevent a lawsuit on the back end is to make sure that your contract is set up correctly on the front-end. For help in contract drafting and other business law related services, please contact us at 407-648-9530. To learn more about our services, please visit bullard-law.com.