SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    138
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Proper format for a contract

    I've never written a contract before and don't want to make a fool of myself. Not long ago I got intouch with a programmer and I have decided to partner with him on the creation of a website...but I'm not sure if the contract should be in some specific format. I want to make it clear and to the point...but what do I have to do to make it legit?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Philadephia, PA
    Posts
    20,580
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There is no such thing as proper form for a contract. Contracts don't even have to be written. They can be spoken or even just implied. The essential elements for a contract are an offer, acceptance, and consideration. One of you offers something to the other (such as programming services), the other accepts (formally by writing it down in this case), and there's consideration (you pay money for his work). As long as you're both mentally competent, intend to enter into a contract, and the nature of the contract isn't illegal, it's binding even if poorly written.

    Of course, if you really want to take it to court without a lot of hassle, get an attorney to write it up for you.

  3. #3
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Denver, Phang-Nga, Thailand
    Posts
    4,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well put!
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
    Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    LaGrange, Georgia
    Posts
    6,117
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman
    There is no such thing as proper form for a contract. Contracts don't even have to be written. They can be spoken or even just implied. The essential elements for a contract are an offer, acceptance, and consideration. One of you offers something to the other (such as programming services), the other accepts (formally by writing it down in this case), and there's consideration (you pay money for his work). As long as you're both mentally competent, intend to enter into a contract, and the nature of the contract isn't illegal, it's binding even if poorly written.

    Of course, if you really want to take it to court without a lot of hassle, get an attorney to write it up for you.
    Dan makes a great point - that anything (even spoken word) can be construed as a contract. Of course, you wouldn't want to go into a courtroom with just hearsay, because it's almost impossible to prove.

    But take your average web development project - say a sub $5000 project - and think would it really be worth it to go to court anyway? I've sued someone in small claims court and have gone through the headache of trying to collect less than $1000 from a client. Let me tell you, if I had known now how hard it would be to collect (note: not to win -- to actually get the money) I think I would've just given up a long time ago.

    I still use contracts, but I don't think that it's neccessary to have an iron clad contract written by an attorney for most circumstances. I look at it like this:: If I'm not really going to sue them (but want them to think I will) I send them my standard contract which is okay (and has been reviewed by a lawyer) but is much less specific, shorter with less "legal speak."

    If the project is huge, or overly complicated, I'll have my attorney draw up a specific contract which is usually much more expensive, very long (and complicated) and covers my butt in just about any possible scenario.

    And for the other side of the situation (protecting yourself against liabilities) I've formed an LLC and am getting an umbrella policy in case I am actually sued. Of course, I intend to use my contract if I do get sued, but I'm not relying on it as sole protection.

    My point here is that you may not need to pay thousands of dollars in consulting fees to get an iron-clad contract written by a lawyer if all your projects are small. Just make sure it's good enough so the threat of a lawsuit will scare them into paying and so you're protected in case you are the defendant.

    And PS - I'm not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

  5. #5
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Denver, Phang-Nga, Thailand
    Posts
    4,379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well put

    I used a 'deal memo' on a $50,000 project this month. It was a one-page agreement that bulleted out the main points. I know this client, and we are both taking some risk on the project and have something to lose. They are putting down enough of a deposit to cover all of my hard costs, and I have a high-value near-term deliverable in about 30 days.

    So, if we screw each other there wouldn't be all that much motivation to go to court at all. In this case, the memo is ok.

    Meanwhile, I made a pain-in-the-**** client sign a contract with a 100% retainer for a $750 consulting gig. I don't trust him, and I don't want to deal with payment issues.

    Every deal is different!
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

    SAGEWING LLC - QUALITY WEB AND MOBILE APPS. PREMIUM OUTSOURCING SERVICES.
    Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    138
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    thanks for all your input!
    I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some specific format to follow.
    Didn't want to seem unprofessional.

  7. #7
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    NoVa
    Posts
    5,467
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Sara


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •