In almost any business matter, there’s likely some form of contract that’s going to be involved. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 2.8 million contracted workers in the U.S. While your use of contracts may be everyday or few and far between, it can still be beneficial to know how to create an effective, professional contract. So whether you’re a landlord, freelancer, nanny, or school teacher, check out these tips for designing a business contract.
Include Basic Information at the Top
All contracts should include basic information regarding both contractual parties at the top of the contract. The type of information that should be present here should include full legal names (either of the person or of the business), contact information (like address, phone number, email, etc.), and what side of the contract each person is representing.
While this may not be necessary for the type of contract you’re entering into, it’s always good to make sure that if sensitive information is going to be shared as part of this agreement, that sensitive information will remain confidential between the parties involved. The last thing you want is to leave this section out of your contract and then suffer the consequences after you’ve been burned by the contract’s other party.
Give Clear Descriptions of Services or Expectations
FindLaw.com suggests to always keep two things in mind when writing a contract; are all possible situations addressed, and is there little room for ambiguity? A vague contract might as well be no formal contract at all. In order for your contract to hold any water, you’re going to have to be clear and specific about what is required of the contractors. Depending on the purpose of the contract, this could include the type of work, the amount of time under the contract agreement, or the terms of payment for the contract. Be sure you don’t leave anything of importance out of this section, as it is always more difficult to add something to a contract once it has already been agreed upon and signed.
Remember: This is a Legal Document
Although you may want to add something to your contract that conveys a sense of your personality, keep in mind that this is a legal document designed to protect you and your rights, not a place to show off your wit or Photoshop skills. If something comes up in the future that requires you to take legal action regarding this contract, you’re going to want there to be no question regarding your stance as one of the contractual parties. You’ll want to be taken seriously, so take this document seriously when you are designing and creating it.
When drafting a contract, the most important thing is to be thorough and take your time, ensuring that everything is included. And if all else fails, you can always ask a lawyer to take a look at your document to ensure you haven’t left anything out or put yourself in a bad situation. Happy contracting!