Contract Terms and Conditions

You may be surprised to learn that few people ever read the terms and conditions included in a contract, but rather, assume that any "form" contract which is typewritten or computer printed is "safe."

This is a fundamental mistake. You cannot presume or rely upon your intuition that the other party to the contract will deal with you fairly or that he/she is looking out for your best interests. More times than not, the person or party who drafts the contract has consulted with an attorney or had an attorney draft the contract in such a manner as to place all of the burdens on you, with few protections or remedies available to you if the other party fails to fulfill any of its obligations under the contract.

When you enter into a business contract such as a construction contract, a remodeling contract, a manufacturing contract or a personal services contract, you should keep in mind that businesses, contractual requirements and contractual relationships are all unique. A standard "form" contract may not adequately protect you or your business.

For example, many contracts require lawsuits and/or arbitration to take place in a location far from your home, or put into place expensive roadblocks intended to limit your ability to enforce the contract or protect yourself against claims by the other party to the contract. A standard contract will not take these considerations into account.

Many construction subcontracts have clauses that provide for payment to the subcontractor only after the prime contractor has been paid for the work by the project owner. Some construction contracts have provisions which prohibit payments for any changes in the project which are not reduced to a written change order. If you were to enter into such a contract without knowing the implications of these types of provisions, you could be in for a nasty shock when you eventually make a demand for payment.

Personal service contracts can often include non-competition or confidentiality provisions which can be the basis for subsequent litigation if the person signing them is not aware of these restrictions.

The bottom line with any potential business contract is that you are better off investing in a careful review of the contract before you sign away valuable rights or become obligated to do or provide something you had no intention of doing.