Every new contract that you sign on behalf of your company means more benefits and gains for your business. Contracts might mean you have new employees on your staff roster or a new supplier to help you keep your costs low.
However, contracts can also lead to disputes, forcing your company to go to court and possibly tarnishing your reputation along the way. The effort you put into a contract’s creation could significantly reduce the likelihood of a dispute arising and costing you and the other party time and money while damaging your working relationship.
What are some of the most common contract mistakes that lead to disagreements?
Boilerplate or plug-and-play documents
You can easily go online and perform a quick internet search for the kind of contract you want to execute. There are probably dozens of pages of results, some of which may give you documents to download and fill out quickly.
While using pre-drafted documents may be cost-effective and efficient, it will do very little to protect your business. Although it will mean taking a little more time and investing more effort, creating customized documents for every major contract, including important hiring contracts, reduces the likelihood of future disputes.
Vague or undisclosed requirements
A good contract completely clarifies what each party expects from the other. Nothing sours a potential working relationship faster than unrealistic and uncommunicated expectations. From the exact financial details for the transaction to your expected timeline and specific contributions from each party, there are expectations that will factor into your satisfaction with the other party’s performance.
You also need to think about how your situation may change in the future. Ensuring that you explicitly outline all expectations for every party in the contract will prevent disputes about technical expectations.
Tricky or hidden clauses
Whether you want to impose a penalty for late payments or leave yourself an exit strategy when signing a new contract, trying to hide key parts of your contract in deceptive language or clauses buried deep in the document will undoubtedly cause conflict if you try to invoke those causes later.
Being upfront and honest with the other party about what their non-compliance or failure would mean could help motivate them to follow through with their contractual obligations and prevent later disputes.
Identifying and avoiding common contract mistakes will help you better protect your company when negotiating an agreement.