Business Contract Templates

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Benjamin Franklin's line that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" sums up the picture neatly. Business contracts are nothing more than health insurance for your company or project. This might sound as if there's a sad shortage of trust on Main Street if we need a contract to bind each party of a transaction to "honorable" behavior. The fact is, however, contracts protect us.

Contracts: The Glue That Holds the Marketplace Together

To look at it another way, business contracts are the glue that holds the marketplace together. It's true that contracts tend historically to favor the stronger party, but that's a natural evolution. The fundamental point of contracts is to ensure some equity in the transaction. For a start, this means that in signing the contract, both parties agree to the terms of the transaction. These terms are spelled out in detail, or should be.

The notorious aspect of business contracts is the fine print. We're always reminded, for good reason, to read the small print before signing. This can be onerous, because contracts can be long and complex and certainly tedious. Explaining every aspect of a service, a product, the responsibilities of the seller or provider, the assumptions of the buyer or recipient, and the middle ground on which each of these meets takes careful wording. Lawyers get involved.

Because of the legal issues that contracts entail, it's always advisable to at least consult with an attorney in drawing up a contract, no matter what product or service the document might cover. Another alternative is to buy a business contract template or set of contract templates from a vendor and adapt it or them to your specific needs. That approach--presuming the vendor is either a legal firm or a service bureau with an advisory staff that includes attorneys, CPAs, and other professionals--is worth exploring. It's efficient, affordable, and reliable.

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