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Why does my contract need to be so long?

Contracts need to contain the business terms of your transaction, so you can tell if the other party didn’t perform its obligations.

Sometimes, the terms of the transaction can take several pages to describe, or they are described in an attachment at the end. Sometimes, the work is ongoing, and many statements of work are attached over time.

As we’ve discussed, an enforceable contract doesn’t have many formal requirements: the proper legal names of the parties, be signed by both parties, and have a method for determining the price. The signing can even be electronic, faxed, or via an exchange of emails. I also like them to have specific payment terms and delivery terms.

Other than that, a good contract will protect you from many contingencies – what if the software you bought infringes someone else? What if there’s a hurricane? What if the products are defective? Do you have to file suit in Hawaii if your non-paying customer is there?

I hope you never need any of these provisions, but it’s better to have them and not need them than the other way around.


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