What Does It Mean to Draft a Contract Agreement?
A contract agreement, or simply a contract, is the foundation of business. No matter what industry you work in, contract agreements are crucial to protecting your company and your clients.
A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two parties. The agreement explains the legal duty of a party to provide goods or services to another in exchange for compensation.
If you want to buy or sell services, you will likely need a legal contract to protect your investments and assets. Contract agreements can serve as a mutual service agreement, requiring each party to do something in exchange for something else.
For example, a freelance writer can sign an independent contract agreement with a local business to write blog posts for a price. They agree to perform their service (writing) in exchange for the business’s financial compensation. Paying the writer according to their terms and conditions is part of the agreement.
Here is an article that defines a contract.
Types of Contracts
There are dozens of contracts, which can vary by industry, company, and even individual.
The most common types of contracts include:
Business contracts can be any agreement between a business and another. This includes a partnership agreement, a joint venture, and a consulting agreement. In addition, business contracts also have a wide range of provisional agreements, such as nondisclosure agreement, indemnification clauses, and non-competition agreements.
Most business contracts require several sub-contracts within a master agreement. For example, a new employee might sign an employment contract along with a non-compete agreement and confidentiality agreement.
An employment contract entitles someone to pay and other benefits as part of a compensation package. They receive these benefits in exchange for their services in a specific role within a company.
Employment contracts protect businesses and workers alike. They help to:
- Establish expectations
- Clarify responsibilities
- Ensure that an employee is legally compensated fairly for their work
- Prevent workers from being exploited and businesses from many liabilities
Independent contractor contract
Businesses often enlist the services of professionals without hiring them as employees. Freelancers can also run their businesses and offer services as independent contractors. In both cases, independent contractor contracts are used.
The independent contractor agreement lays out guidelines, timetables, and requirements for workers and their clients. It protects the freelancer from liability while ensuring the company or client is held accountable for payment and other relevant conditions.
Fixed price Contracts
A fixed price contract, also called a fixed price agreement, sets the amount of money for a product or service. Signing a fixed price contract affirms that both parties agree to a predetermined value for a good or service. Contractors and companies use fixed-price contracts to guarantee a set payment amount, despite any outstanding circumstances that may influence their work or the service itself.
It’s also important to note that while “contract” and “agreement” are often used interchangeably, an agreement is not always necessarily legally binding, but a contract is. This is why agreements are usually embedded within contracts or drafted by an attorney to ensure they’re enforceable.
Here is an article with ContractsCounsel’s guide to 8 common contracts.
How Do You Write a Contract Agreement?
Depending on your needs, writing a contract can be extremely simple or complex. Some contracts are dozens of pages long, while others are only several paragraphs. Before you write a contract, it is important to research the type of contract you need and review examples.
Another important step to writing a contract is researching your state’s laws. Contract law differs by state, so you want to ensure you’re only writing terms and conditions that are compliant and enforceable where you live.
Suppose you are unsure how to write a contract or even where to begin. In that case, you can reach out to a licensed contract lawyer on ContractsCounsel.
Online templates are also useful when drafting a contract agreement. They offer an outline you can use to fill in details and modify to suit your needs.
Here is an article on contract lawyers and what they can do for you.
What Should Be Included in a Contract Agreement?
Contract agreement requirements vary drastically by state, industry, and document. Every contract you write will have specific features, but there are some key elements every good contract agreement has.
- Identification of parties. You should identify all parties included in the contract by legal names. You can also have contact information for these parties. For example, when drafting a contract between two businesses, it is important to identify them by name and address.
- Start and end dates. You should include the date the contract goes into effect and when it ends officially.
- Key terms explained. If there are any terms, you will use throughout the contract, introduce them at the beginning, define them, and state how they will be used throughout the rest of the document.
- Scope of contract. The contract agreement should detail both parties' legal responsibility and the purpose of the contract itself. In other words, answer what the contract does, does not do, and how the parties agree to apply its terms and conditions.
- Payment information. If relevant, include a payment terms agreement between parties for any goods or services being exchanged for financial compensation.
- Legal protection. There are various ways you can protect yourself when drafting a contractual agreement. Understanding your liabilities can help you choose the right provisions for your agreement.
- Dispute resolution. Contracts should include a dispute resolution clause that outlines steps parties agree to take in the event of a conflict. This clause can also detail who is responsible for paying attorneys and legal expenses if one party decides to sue the other.
- Termination. The contract should reserve each party’s right to terminate the contract. It can also include consequences for early termination. No one can be forced to stay in a contract against their will. However, they can face penalties if they breach or break a contract before fulfilling their responsibilities.
Here is an article where you can learn more about the key elements of a business contract.
What is the Purpose of a Contract Agreement?
The primary purpose of any contractual agreement is to protect in the event something goes wrong. Legal disputes, breach of contract, and other problems can all lead to financial loss. Therefore, both parties must have a contract that protects their best interests.
Contracts also help simplify and streamline business in many ways. For one, they establish clear boundaries, limitations, and responsibilities. They also clarify the legal duty of each party, so neither can sue the other for doing things they were not legally obligated to do in the first place.
Here is an article with examples of different types of contracts and their purposes.
Who Uses a Contract Agreement?
Anyone doing business and wanting to protect themselves should enter a contractual agreement with the other party. For example, suppose you want to buy or sell services or goods. In that case, it’s best to use a contract that protects your best interests and is legally enforceable where you live.
Contracts give everyone involved security and protection. Whether someone has to leave an agreement due to extenuating circumstances or a misunderstanding, the contract is a document everyone can refer back to for guidance.
As the common adage goes, “Get it in writing.” Verbal agreements are not admissible in court, no matter how detailed the conversation may have been.
The best way to assure security in any type of business or arrangement is through a legal, written contract reviewed by an attorney.
Here is an article about the importance of contracts in business.
Can You Break a Contract Agreement?
You can legally break a contract if you follow its terms of termination in the contract termination agreement. However, breaking a contract can also occur voluntarily or involuntarily by violating its terms or failing to fulfill any legal responsibilities you previously agreed to.
You should consult with a contract lawyer if you want to find ways to get out of a contract legally, you should consult with a contract lawyer. Submitting a contract for review can discuss your options for breaking it while minimizing potential liabilities.
Here is an article with 5 reasons why people terminate contracts.
Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive flat fee bids from lawyers for your project. All lawyers have been vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to explore before hiring.