1. I don’t need a written contract
Having a written contract is often low on the priority list when trading as a small business. Business owners will say “nothing has gone wrong so far”, so the business decides to continue to operate without any written terms, trusting that nothing will go wrong in the future either.
Whilst these business owners may on face value believe nothing has gone wrong, after a conversation with me they often realise that actually there have been issues that could have been prevented by having the correct terms and conditions in place.
2. You must get a signature for the contract to be enforceable
For a contract to be enforceable you need just four elements: an offer, acceptance, consideration, and an intention to create legal relations.
Whilst a signature would be ideal to display the acceptance of a contract, it is technically not a legal requirement. Once an offer has been made, a contract is formed when that offer has been accepted. Acceptance can be made expressly, either in writing or verbally. Some contracts may have a condition which outlines a specific way to demonstrate acceptance (which is most commonly in writing and received within a certain time frame) which can be a better way for businesses to ensure that they have a legally binding contract. Acceptance can also be implied based on the other parties actions. This can be, for example, simply paying for an item at the checkout.
If there is no signature agreement, it is reassuring to businesses to know that the law caters for contracts made without one. However, having a signed contract is a more reliable and legally sound way of carrying out business and can save both parties from confusion and from potential disputes in the long run.
3. Contracts are just full of legal jargon
There’s no shame in admitting that contracts can sometimes be hard to read and difficult to write, the legal jargon can make it feel intimidating and confusing.
Although it can seem that most contracts are like this, not all contracts have to be made this way. When it comes to ‘business to business’ contracts, it’s important to be able to fully understand the terms and conditions within it. By having contracts written in simple English, it can make it reassuring for both parties to know exactly what type of contract they are entering into and can easily avoid any confusion in the long run.
4. You don’t need to read the contract
As stated above, contracts can be intimidating and confusing to read with the legal jargon and can be tedious. Whilst you can sign the contract without reading it, you are still legally bound by that contract and the terms within it even though you haven’t fully read the document.
Especially in ‘business to business’ contracts, it’s important to make sure you read the contract in its entirety in order to understand fully what conditions you are bound by and what rights you have under that contract. You may be surprised to find terms you aren’t happy with, which are easier to change before signing the contract. Whilst it can be intimidating to ask to for changes within the contract, this would actually demonstrate better business practice and professionalism to the other party by showing that you’ve read the contract properly. This is beneficial to both parties, as it would avoid disputes and distress in the long run and create better business relations.
If you sign the document without reading it properly, you are entering into a binding contract blindly which, depending on the conditions, could damage your business. You may find yourself in situations which could have been easily avoidable if it was read properly.
Don’t be that person that regrets signing a contract they didn’t read! Whether you may not be able to read the contract due to not having enough time or you are struggling to understand the contract properly, we are able to read them for you and to explain them to you simply and highlight the areas we believe you should be notified about or that should be changed. This would ensure that you are better protected in future business transactions and allow you to feel at ease knowing that you’re entering into an agreement where you understand the terms and conditions fully.
5. I can just download a template
The internet is full of terms and conditions generators and websites offering contracts for free or at a low price. Documents such as these are usually at a low cost but relying on something like this to protect your business, could end up costing you more in the long run should a client relationship breakdown.
Templated documents are designed to be adapted to suit a business. By attempting to do this yourself without guidance and not being clear on which clauses should and which clauses shouldn’t be amended could be dangerous.
No two businesses are the same and your terms and conditions should mirror what you want within the contract in order for it to benefit both your business and the other party.
6. You don’t need a lawyer to write it
Contracts don’t need to be written by a lawyer for them to be legally binding, however, it is always recommended to have a professional write one as you are having someone who has the legal knowledge, understanding and experience to make a legally sound contract.
By writing a contract yourself, you may be making yourself and your business more vulnerable. For example, you may not include certain legally required clauses due to not being up to date with the law. By having a legal professional, you can be assured that the contract they create is complete, which reassures you and your business.
At BEB, we are legally trained and specialise in contracts, so can provide the knowledge and background to write a contract which is tailored to your business.
Get in touch if you want more help with this on 01604 217365 or firstname.lastname@example.org