Contracts will only be read when things go wrong. They receive varying degrees of attention but without them, nothing can get done and you place your organization at extreme risk. Without involving a legal professional it is possible to manage contracts effectively by following some basic guidelines.
Principles & Key Items
- Contracts establish a private body of law for those signed up to it
- Therefore it should protect both
- It should be appropriate to the scope of work or services, and if clauses are included that aren’t relevant – don’t fight those in negotiation, this is boilerplate
- Ambiguity is the enemy of a good contract
- Contracts set boundaries and are only really understood when you end up in court
- Just because you sent your terms and conditions it does not mean they apply. No really it doesn’t.
- Must read and understand them.
- Danger clauses:
- Time is of the essence, this gives the buyer the right to claim a breach if ANYTHING is late
- Obligation to work regardless of payment, obviously risky
- Limit of Liability, you should not accept unlimited liability
- Intellectual property, unless careful what you produce can become the property of the client which may be acceptable but in many cases is not intended