There are a few basic elements every contract needs. In this short post, I’m going to walk you through those, so whip out your contract, and a pen, and let’s get to work.
In your contract, you can state when the contract goes into effect. Without explicitly stating the “effective date” of the contract, it will typically be deemed to go into effect on the date of signature. Therefore, it’s good to call out when the contract will take effect. Include an effective date in the introduction.
Use an introduction to give context to the contract. The introduction should state the purpose of the contract, the parties, and the effective date. Use abbreviations for the parties for quicker reference through the contract.
Example: Braden Drake (“Consultant”) will provide tax consulting services and Amanda Montgomery (“Client”) on the terms set forth below. The Parties enter into this Agreement on November 14, 2018 (the “Effective Date”).
With the use of abbreviations you can write sentence through the contract like “Consultant and Client agree that modifications can only be made in writing.” This way when you need to tweak new contracts for new clients, all you need to do is change the names in introduction.
After the introduction caption each paragraph. For example “Scope of Services” or “Payment Terms.” The caption should just hint at what is in the paragraph. It’s like a book chapter title. You simply use the captions to help with referencing the document. If a client, for example, want to remember when they can expect a certain item or service, they should be able to easily look back on the contract to find the info they need.
Use a numbering system for each paragraph after the intro. Put the number beside the paragraph. You can also use letters or whatever for subparagraphs. Basically, think of it as an outline. Here’s an example of what your contract could look like.
Braden Drake (“Consultant”) will provide tax consulting services and Amanda Montgomery (“Client”) on the terms set forth below. The Parties enter into this Agreement on November 14, 2018 (the “Effective Date”).
Consultant agrees to provide a one hour consultation to Client to answer client’s questions regarding small business taxes.
Client will pay Consultant a fee of $100 prior to the consultation.
Obviously, the above example could be more specific and detailed, but that gives a simple visual of formatting.
Include a signature line at the bottom for both parties. Have a second line for the parties to date. In most states, it’s ok to get electronic signatures.
Check out the blog post - The Basic Provisions Every Creative Needs in Their Client Contract
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