Before you look at sample business contracts, educate yourself about the basic elements that need to be present to make up a valid contract. Unless the contract you plan to sign is a very basic one, it's a good idea to have it reviewed by your attorney before you pick up your pen.
What is a Contract?
In the simplest terms, a contract is an agreement between two or more parties that can be enforced by the Court.
Elements of a Valid Contract
In order for a contract to be considered valid, certain elements must be present. When you consider one of the sample business contracts available, make sure all of these bases are covered:
An offer is a kind of promise made to the other party, but it is conditional on the other party doing something in return.
Agreeing to the offer as set out in the contract is what makes it binding. The method for agreeing to the offer will be part of the contract wording. It is possible to accept the terms of a contract as a verbal agreement or by signing a copy of the contract.
Consideration is something of value given by one party to the other when the conditions of the contract are performed. This is usually a monetary payment, which is exchanged for a product or a service performed. Consideration can also be in the form of interest, profit, or something else of value; it doesn't necessarily need to be in cash.
- Legal Purpose
A contract made for an illegal purpose is not enforceable and is not valid.
Anyone entering into a contract must be legally competent to do so. A person who doesn't have the capacity to understand what they are agreeing to, whether from a physical or mental disability, cannot enter into a valid contract.
- Meeting of Minds
The parties entering into a contract must understand what they are agreeing to. A classic example used to describe this concept is when two people enter into a contract to buy a Mustang. One person is expecting the kind with four wheels, while the other one is really selling the kind that eats hay and has four legs! The offer being made must be clear enough so that it can be clearly understood by everyone signing the contract.
Finding Sample Business Contracts Online
There are a number of web sites that include sample business contracts ranging from very simple to others that are quite detailed.
Findlaw's Corporate Counsel Center has a large library of contracts. Browse through the listings to see examples of actual contracts used by Avon, Coca-Cola Ltd., Microsoft, and more.
If you are looking for simpler examples of business contracts, visit DocStoc.com and check out what this site has to offer. Several examples of business contracts have been posted there and visitors to the site can filter their search results by language or document type (Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Plain Text, Rich Text Format).
Another option for getting sample business contracts is to buy a software package that allows you to generate the types of contracts you need.
Contract Express provides numerous contract templates written in easy to understand language. Attorney's comments appear throughout the sample contracts so that users can understand what they are preparing and all of them can be edited in Word.
You can also download sample business contracts software from the Blue Chillies web site. Several options are listed here to help choose the software package that best fits your needs and budget.