How to Make a Contract: Step-by-Step Guide

January 15, 2024

Explore vital contract fundamentals in our blog post. Learn about contract types, legality, binding factors, and DIY creation. Enhance your contract expertise to tackle diverse situations confidently.

James Fyfe
Co-founder - CEO

Contracts are a fundamental aspect of conducting business and formalizing agreements between parties. Whether you are a business owner, freelancer, or individual entering a legal arrangement, understanding how to make a contract is essential. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the key elements and steps involved in creating a contract. We will begin by defining a contract and examining its types commonly used in different scenarios. 

Understanding what makes a contract legally binding is crucial to ensure its enforceability. We will delve into the essential elements that must be present in a contract for it to be considered valid and binding. 

At the end of this guide, we will share an easy and efficient solution to make a contract on your own, empowering you to confidently navigate the process and create agreements that protect your interests.

What is a Contract?

Portant's Contract Template

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that establishes the rights and obligations of each party involved. It serves as a formal legal contract document that outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by the parties, ensuring clarity and accountability in their interactions. 

Contracts can take various forms and cover various transactions, such as business partnerships, employment agreements, service contracts, sales agreements, etc. The essence of a contract lies in the mutual consent and exchange of promises between the parties involved, creating a legally enforceable obligation to perform the specified actions or provide the stated goods or services. 

Understanding the fundamental concept of a contract is crucial for safeguarding the interests of all parties and establishing a framework for trust, fairness, and cooperation. 

What are the Most Common Types of Contracts?

Understanding the most common types of contracts is essential for navigating legal obligations and ensuring smooth collaborations.

In the following sections, we will explore various contract types and highlight their significance and key considerations in different spheres of life and commerce.

Business Contracts

Business contracts establish the rights, responsibilities, and obligations between entities engaged in business agreements. They come in various forms, such as purchase agreements, partnership agreements, or nondisclosure agreements.

Key considerations include clarity, specificity, and addressing the scope of the agreement. These contracts find applications in supplier relationships, distribution agreements, licensing arrangements, and intellectual property rights.

Sales Contract

A sales contract outlines the terms and conditions of transactions involving the sale of goods or services. They include pricing, payment terms, delivery details, and warranties.

Key considerations involve defining the product/service, specifying quantities, and quality standards, and addressing contingencies such as returns or disputes. Sales contracts facilitate exchanges between buyers and sellers in different industries.

Service Contract

A service contract defines terms for service engagements, specifying the scope of work, performance standards, and payment terms. They are used in consulting, freelancing, construction, healthcare, and IT services.

Key considerations include describing the services, setting milestones, addressing intellectual property rights, confidentiality, and limitations of liability per service agreement. Service contracts ensure transparency, professionalism, and accountability.

Employment Contract

Employment contracts govern the relationship between employers and employees, covering job responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and termination conditions.

Key considerations in written contracts involve job details, compensation and benefits, employment terms, and post-employment restrictions. An employment contract protects the rights and interests of both employers and employees, ensuring clarity and consistency in the employment relationship.

Financial Contract

A financial contract facilitates transactions, investments, and lending activities in the financial industry. They include loan agreements, lease agreements, securities contracts, and derivatives contracts.

Key considerations involve defining terms, interest rates, repayment schedules, collateral requirements, and legal compliance. Financial contracts manage risk, ensure legal compliance, and facilitate financial operations.

Personal Contracts

Personal contracts address individual needs and relationships, such as lending agreements or cohabitation agreements.

Key considerations involve defining terms, expectations, payment terms, property descriptions, and warranties. Personal contracts can provide legal advice through a formalized agreement and protect interests in personal matters, preventing misunderstandings or disputes.

What Makes a Contract Legally Binding?

A contract becomes legally enforceable when specific essential elements are present, establishing accountability and enforceability among the parties involved.

These fundamental elements are vital for the validity and legal significance of a contract:

  1. Offer and Acceptance - The contract begins with a valid offer presented by one party and accepted by the other party without any modifications or conditions. The offer should be clear, definite, and effectively communicated, while the acceptance must be unequivocal and in alignment with the terms of the offer.
  2. Consideration - Consideration refers to the valuable exchange between the parties, such as money, goods, or services. It is a crucial element demonstrating that each party has given something of value and signifies the intention to establish a legal relationship.
  3. Intention to Create Legal Relations - In order for a contract to be binding, the parties must exhibit the intention to be legally bound by its terms. This intention is generally presumed in business or commercial agreements but may differ in social or domestic arrangements.
  4. Capacity - Parties entering into a contract must possess the legal capacity to do so. This entails being of legal age, mentally competent, and free from undue influence or duress. Contracts entered into by individuals lacking capacity may be void or voidable.
  5. Consent - The consent of all parties involved must be freely given and not obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, mistake, or coercion. Each party must fully comprehend the contract's terms and willingly agree to be bound by them.
  6. Legality of Purpose - A contract must have a lawful objective and cannot involve illegal activities or contravene public policy. Contracts with unlawful purposes or that promote illegal activities are considered void and unenforceable.
  7. Certainty and Clarity of Terms - Contracts must possess clear and specific terms that are understandable and executable. The terms should include rights, obligations, timeframes, payment terms, and other essential provisions.
  8. Compliance with Formalities - A valid contract, particularly those pertaining to real estate, intellectual property, or specific transactions, may require adherence to particular formalities, such as written documentation or signatures. Complying with any legal requirements is crucial to ensure the contract's enforceability.

It is important to note that written contract laws can vary across jurisdictions, and seeking legal advice is recommended to ensure a contract agreement is legally valid. In order for a business or individual to enter into contract agreements, they first have to make sure that they are complying with the relevant local laws and regulations.

What are the Elements of a Contract? 

Basic Information

The basic information section in a contract includes crucial details about two or more parties. It typically consists of the legal business names of the individuals or entities entering into the agreement. Additionally, the addresses of the parties are included to establish their physical locations.

This section may also concisely describe the property or service being exchanged for monetary compensation or other forms of consideration.

Agreement and Terms

The agreement section of a contract is where the terms and conditions of the agreement are laid out. It outlines the rights, obligations, and responsibilities of all parties. This section is a comprehensive guide ensuring everyone understands their roles and expectations.

In the case of contracts related to loans, this section may cover aspects such as payment terms, including interest rates, repayment schedules, and any applicable penalties for late payments.

Specific Considerations

The specific considerations section of a contract provides a detailed description of the property or services being exchanged. It goes beyond the basic information and delves into specific details.

For example, if it involves a physical item, this section may address the item's condition, outlining any warranties or guarantees provided. It also clarifies the responsibilities of each party and establishes what will and will not be covered under the terms of the contract.

Dates and Deadlines

In this section, important dates relevant to the contract are documented. This includes the date of sale or agreement, as well as the delivery date and any specific dates for warranties or guarantees.

If the contract involves installment payments, this section also specifies the due dates for each payment. By including clear and defined dates, the two parties can easily track and adhere to the agreed-upon timelines.

Nullification of Contract

A contract's null and void section outlines the conditions under which the contract can be deemed invalid or terminated. It typically covers situations with a breach of contract or failure to meet certain obligations. It ensures that both parties know the consequences of minor breaches or non-compliance.

Signatures and Documentation

The signatures and documentation section of a contract is where all parties sign the initial agreement after the parties agree upon all of the sections in the contract agreement. This section indicates the acceptance and acknowledgment by other parties of the terms and conditions outlined in the contract.

It is essential for all parties to have a complete and executed copy of the contract for their records, ensuring that they have a reference point in case of any disputes or discrepancies that may arise in the future.

How to Make a Contract on My Own?

Streamline the contract creation process and bid farewell to the challenges of manual paperwork and traditional signing methods with the help of Portant. You can simplify and expedite the process by leveraging Portant's contract agreement template and incorporating e-signatures into your legal agreement.

With the innovative auto-create feature that we offer in our workflow, sending an electronic contract for signature becomes effortless. Each time someone responds to your form, Portant automatically generates and sends out the contract, saving you valuable time and ensuring promptness in the signing process. This feature streamlines communication and eliminates the need for manual follow-ups.

Once a contract is signed, Portant delivers it to the respective parties. The signed contract is conveniently emailed to you and your customers, ensuring everyone involved has a seamless and efficient experience. This automated process reduces administrative burdens and lets you focus on more critical aspects of your business.

To enhance accessibility and organization, Portant integrates with Google Drive. Your signed contract is securely stored in a dedicated folder within your Google Drive account, allowing easy retrieval and management. This integration ensures that your important documents are safely stored in the cloud, eliminating the risk of loss or misplacement.

For a step-by-step guide on how you can make our contract template work for your needs, refer to our video below:

With Portant, you have the flexibility to customize the appearance of your contract. By designing your own contract template in Google Docs, you can ensure that the contract reflects your branding and specific requirements. Alternatively, if you already have a preferred Google Docs template, you can effortlessly select and integrate it into the Portant platform, providing a familiar and tailored contract format.

Portant's Contract Creation Workflow

Experience the seamless and efficient workflow of Portant's contractual agreement process. Explore how you can create contracts on your own terms with simplified document creation, efficient signing processes, and the convenience of automated storage and organization.

Discover the power of Portant and revolutionize your contract management experience by signing up for a free account today.

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