What is a Contractual Agreement and How to Create One?

January 15, 2024

Gain insights into the meaning of contractual agreements, their vital components, various types, and valuable tips for crafting your own effective contractual agreement.

James Fyfe
Co-founder - CEO

Contracts are the cornerstone of business and legal transactions, serving as the foundation for defining the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved.

Embracing the digital era, electronic contracts have emerged as a contemporary approach to creating, managing, and executing these binding agreements.

In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the intricacies of contractual agreements, exploring their significance and the essential elements they should encompass. We will explore various contractual agreements and their diverse applications across industries.

To help you get started, we will introduce you to Portant, an exceptional platform that empowers you to effortlessly create your next contractual agreement within minutes. With Portant's user-friendly interface and customizable templates, you can streamline the contract creation process, ensuring the utmost precision and efficiency.

Embark on this enlightening journey with us as we navigate the realm of contractual agreements and uncover how Portant can revolutionize your contract management experience.

What is a Contractual Agreement?

A contractual agreement is a legally binding document that formally records the agreed-upon terms, conditions, and obligations between two or more parties. It establishes a framework for their relationship and outlines the rights and responsibilities of each party involved.

Key elements typically included in a contractual agreement are the identification of the parties, the scope of work or services, payment terms, dispute resolution procedures, and any additional provisions deemed necessary but more on this later.

A contractual agreement document provides clarity, accountability, and enforceability in business and legal transactions, setting the stage for successful partnerships and ventures.

Why are Contractual Agreements Used?

Contractual agreements are utilized for a multitude of purposes within the industry of business and law. Their primary function is to establish a mutual understanding and consensus between involved parties regarding the terms and conditions of their association or transaction.

By clearly outlining each party's rights, obligations, and expectations, contractual agreements serve as a solid foundation for conducting business activities. They not only provide legal protection but also foster trust by ensuring that all parties are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities.

By establishing a reference point for future interactions, contractual agreements facilitate smooth ongoing relationships while minimizing the likelihood of misunderstandings or disputes. These agreements promote transparency, accountability, and ethical practices in the business landscape.

What Must Contractual Agreements Include?

Before entering into any business agreement, it is crucial to have a well-drafted contractual agreement that outlines the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of all parties involved.

A carefully crafted contract provides clarity, minimizes misunderstandings, and safeguards the interests of everyone involved.

In this section, we will explore the key components that must be included in a contractual agreement. You can establish a solid foundation for a successful partnership or transaction by ensuring that these elements are present.

Let's dive into what a contractual agreement should include:

1. Parties Involved:

  • Identify the legal names and contact information of all parties participating in the agreement.
  • Specify the roles and responsibilities of each party.

2. Scope and Purpose:

  • Define the nature of the relationship between the parties.
  • Outline the specific goods, services, or obligations being addressed.
  • Clearly state the intended goals and objectives of the agreement.

3. Terms and Conditions:

  • Provide a detailed description of the terms and conditions agreed upon.
  • Include payment terms, pricing, and any financial obligations.
  • Specify delivery timelines, performance expectations, and quality standards.
  • Outline any relevant milestones, deadlines, or project timelines.

4. Dispute Resolution:

  • Include provisions for resolving disputes or conflicts that may arise.
  • Specify the methods and procedures to be followed in case of disagreements or breaches.
  • Identify the forum or jurisdiction where disputes such as arbitration or litigation will be resolved.

5. Governing Laws and Jurisdiction:

  • State the applicable laws and regulations that govern the agreement.
  • Specify the jurisdiction or legal framework under which the agreement falls.
  • Ensure compliance with local, national, and international legal requirements, as applicable.

6. Signatures and Execution:

  • All parties involved should sign and date the agreement.
  • Confirm the voluntary consent and understanding of each party.
  • Consider utilizing electronic signatures for efficiency and convenience.

By including these essential elements in contractual agreements, parties can establish clear expectations, protect their rights, and create a solid foundation for a successful and legally binding business relationship.

Contractual Agreement Types

Express Contract:

An express contract is a contractual agreement where the terms and conditions are clearly and explicitly communicated to all parties involved, either in writing or verbally.

The explicit nature of an express contract ensures that there is no ambiguity or confusion regarding each party's rights, responsibilities, and obligations. Everything essential to the agreement is expressly stated, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

Implied Contract:

In contrast to an express contract, an implied contract is not explicitly spelled out in writing or verbally agreed upon. Instead, it is formed based on the parties' actions, conduct, or circumstances.

The terms and obligations of an implied contract are inferred from the behavior and interactions of the parties, indicating a mutual understanding and agreement, even if not expressly stated in written contracts.

Unilateral Contract:

A unilateral contract is an agreement in which one party makes a promise or an offer to perform a specific action or provide something of value, and the other party accepts by completing the required action.

In this type of contract, only one party is legally obligated to fulfill their promise once the other party performs the specified action. The contract becomes a legally binding agreement upon completing the requested act.

Bilateral Contract:

A bilateral contract involves mutual promises and obligations between two or more parties. In this type of agreement, each party commits to perform specific actions or provide something of value in exchange for the other party's performance.

Bilateral contracts establish reciprocal obligations, by mutual consent, with both parties legally bound to fulfill their respective promises.

Options Contract:

An options contract grants one party the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a particular asset or enter into another contract within a predefined period and at a predetermined price.

This type of contract allows the holder to exercise the option or choose not to exercise it, depending on various factors such as market conditions or personal preference.

Fixed-price contracts:

Fixed-price or lump-sum contracts are agreements in which the compensation or payment for goods or services is predetermined and remains constant. Regardless of any additional costs or changes arising during the contract's execution, the agreed-upon price remains fixed.

This type of contract offers stability and predictability in terms of pricing for both parties involved.

Aleatory Contract:

An aleatory contract is a type of agreement in which the performance or outcome of the contract depends on an uncertain event. The obligations and consequences of the contract are contingent upon the occurrence of a specific event, often beyond the control of either party. 

Aleatory contracts are commonly seen in insurance policies or contracts related to gambling, where the results are uncertain and dependent on chance.

Unconscionable Contract:

An unconscionable contract refers to an agreement so one-sided, unfair, or oppressive that it shocks the court's conscience. These contracts typically involve significant disparities in bargaining power between the parties, with one party taking advantage of the other's vulnerability or lack of understanding.

Courts may deem such contracts unenforceable or intervene to strike down unfair terms to protect the disadvantaged party.

Examples of Contractual Agreements

Contractual agreements are utilized in many industries and scenarios, shaping business relationships and establishing legal obligations. Here are several instances where contractual agreements are commonly encountered:

  1. Employment Contracts: These agreements lay out the terms and conditions governing the relationship between employers and employees. They encompass job responsibilities, remuneration, benefits, working hours, and termination provisions.
  2. Service Contracts: Service contracts are prevalent in consulting, freelancing, and professional services. They delineate the scope of work, deliverables, timelines, payment terms, and specific conditions applicable to the service provider and the client.
  3. Sales Contracts: Sales contracts come into play during purchasing or selling of goods or services. They specify the transaction terms, encompassing the description of the goods or services, pricing, delivery conditions, warranties, and payment arrangements.
  4. Lease Agreements: Lease agreements are widely used in real estate and equipment leasing. These contracts define the terms of renting or leasing a property or asset, including the duration, rental payments, maintenance responsibilities, and any additional conditions.
  5. Partnership Agreements: Partnership agreements are entered into by two or more parties to establish a business partnership. These contracts outline the partners' roles, responsibilities, profit-sharing arrangements, decision-making processes, and dissolution provisions.
  6. Licensing Agreements: Licensing agreements are employed when granting or obtaining rights to intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, or copyrights. They articulate the terms of use, royalties, restrictions, and other relevant conditions associated with the licensed property.
  7. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs): NDAs are contracts to safeguard confidential information exchanged between parties. They establish the obligations and limitations on using, disclosing, and protecting confidential information to ensure its confidentiality.

These instances provide a glimpse into contractual agreements' expansive scope and broad applicability across various industries and legal contexts.

Create Your Next Contractual Agreement in a Matter of Minutes Using Portant

You can eliminate the hassles of manual paperwork and traditional signing methods by utilizing Portant's contract agreement template and adding e-signatures to your contracts.

With the auto-create feature, you can effortlessly send out contracts for signature every time someone responds to your form, saving you time and ensuring promptness in the signing process. The signed contracts will be conveniently emailed to you and your customers, providing a seamless experience for all parties involved. 

Moreover, with the integration of Google Drive, your signed contracts will be securely stored in a dedicated folder, ensuring easy access and organization.

Portant enables you to format the contract exactly the way you want it to look because you can design your template in Google Docs. You can also select your own Google Docs template if you have one already. 

Have a look at how Portant's contractual agreement workflow works:

Take advantage of Portant's powerful features and simplify your contract management journey, allowing you to focus on what truly matters - growing your business and building strong partnerships.

Sign up for Portant today and experience the transformational power of a digital contractual agreement workflow.

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