Agreement, as defined in the business dictionary, is “a negotiated and usually legally enforceable understanding between two or more legally competent parties.” From this definition, we can formulate a two conclusions: (1) there is a negotiation or arrangement that happened and (2) there is more than one party involved.
In an agreement, these two or more parties come up with an arrangement. It may or may not be in writing but you don’t want the risk of just sealing the deal with just a handshake. You need to get it in writing. Our Sample Agreements come in handy when you are not sure how to write one and they are free, so feel free to use them.
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What Is an Agreement?
An agreement is a meeting of the minds between two or more parties to do particular obligations for each other. This means that there is an obligation between these parties that must be observed and complied with at a later time. It may or may not be in writing. An agreement is always confused with contracts. However, these two are different entities. A contract is a form of agreement. To put it in a logical deduction, all contracts are agreements but not all agreements are contracts. If you are still confused, you can check out these Sample Contracts and compare it with these sample agreements.
Virtually, almost everyone has made an agreement at some point in their lives. As a kid, you may have asked your classmates to exchange his blue crayon for your red crayon. You have already reached an understanding there. Agreements are almost done every day by different people. It could be verbal or written agreements. Written agreements, however, greatly help to avoid problems when misunderstanding occurs. In an written agreement, you need to see details of these things:
- Actions – The complete details of what each party has agreed to do should be listed.
- Time Frame – The actions will need to be enforced at a certain time. Make sure to state clearly when that will be.
- Other Relevant Details – There are details that are specific to your obligations that must be made clear, so make sure the exact specifications are clearly laid out.
Verbal Agreements vs. Written Agreements
There are different kinds of agreement that you could find out there. There’s non-disclosure agreements, material transfer agreement, clinical trial agreement, and so on. Most of these agreements are put into writing, but there are other agreements where an oral negotiation is enough. An agreement may be verbal or written.
- Verbal or Oral Agreement – This is the kind of agreement in which the parties involved have reached an arrangement only through speaking with each other. The details were just spoken and it was not put into writing. Some people, though, fail to realize that oral agreements can also be legally binding. However, when you have enough proof of the oral agreement, you may pursue legal litigation when the terms are not met. You may also need to check your local state law enforcement to check on how they deal with breach of oral contract.
- Written Agreement – A written agreement is one in which the arrangements that the involved parties have reached at are placed in a written document. Like an oral agreement, a promise has been made. Although, this time, the written document now serves as proof that there was indeed a promise that was done. For this reason, more people are getting their agreements into writing and sometimes even going further and making them enforceable legally to make sure everyone complies with it. When the contract concerns an exchange of services, though, it is best to have a written contract.
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Importance of Agreements
Especially when dealing with businesses and transactions that involve a huge amount of money, the importance of having agreements could not be stressed enough. The business industry, especially, is full of agreements with individuals and other businesses. Because written agreements clearly state the expectations between the parties involved as well as how misunderstandings and possible issues will be handled, they are often the preferred way of making agreements. Agreements are also security tools for the business used to protect their resources. Check out these Agreement Letter Samples to see other forms of agreement.
- Agreements provide the facts. The terms that need to be observed by the parties involved are stipulated in the agreement. They supply you with the facts such as the actions that need to be done, the steps that need to be taken once non-compliance happens, and so on. When every detail is clear, they become serious about the whole negotiation, from payments to warranties, etc.
- Agreements minimize risk. When dealing with other people, there are always risks. The other person could change their mind or they could comply with the negotiation but with a different item or service than the one stated in the agreement. Having a written agreement would provide proof that you made a negotiation and it is complete with all the details, so there is lower risk for non-compliance.
- Agreements limit obligations. Businesses, especially service-oriented companies, would need a guarantee that the work they do for another will be appropriately compensated. Agreements clearly outline these obligations so you know what rights are involved in the whole process and what rights the parties get to maintain.
- Agreements protect both you and the client. Agreements that are in the form of contract are often legally binding and enforceable by law so you know that you are protected. When the other party does not obey the stipulations stated in the agreement, you are sure that you are protected from any issues that may arise. Also, you need to have a section in the agreement that says how you are going to handle non-compliance of the agreement.
What Makes a Good Agreement?
Making an agreement is always a tough spot to be in. You are in a way marketing yourself to another person, business, or organization and they are doing the same thing to you. While in one, you need to come up with an arrangement that all parties agree to, and it is not easy to come up with all the terms that would be easily approved by everyone. Here are some of the criteria that makes a good agreement.
- A good agreement is fair. All parties involved need to feel that the terms stated in it are reasonable.
- A good agreement is balanced. All parties need to have a role in the implementation of the agreement.
- A good agreement is realistic. Make sure to consider the time, resources, and skills of all parties to make sure that they are capable of implementing the stipulations stated in it.
- A good agreement is specific. Make sure everyone knows what they need to do.
- A good agreement is future-oriented. Think ahead of possible future problems.
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Key Components of an Agreement
When making an agreement, there are certain things that you need to make clear so that everyone involved understands exactly what is expected of them. When all details are understood, there is little room for confusion and disputes. There are certain elements that every agreement needs to have in them. These elements are present in almost every agreements such as an Employment Agreement or a Business Agreement. The key components of an agreement are listed below.
- Parties Involved – It takes at least two parties to make an agreement. The agreement form needs to clearly state which parties are involved. In a business setting, one party is usually a person or a business that is trying to purchase a particular product or business. The other party is usually the supplier of the product or the provider of the service.
- Agreement – The agreement or the “consideration” as it is sometimes called is where you give a general statement about the agreement. This is usually just one or two sentences.
- Terms – This part of the agreement is where you need to go into detail about the agreement that was stated. It is important to give full details on what exactly is needed so that there are no confusion and errors in the whole process. Failure to provide full details on, say, a required product is often the reason for disputes. Other terms could also be provided such as terms of payment and terms for non-compliance.
- Signatures and Date – Agreements should be signed by all the parties that are involved. Signing the document means that everyone agrees to everything that was stated in the agreement. The date should also be stated in the document. The dates are usually the date the transaction takes place. Dates are also entered when the parties sign the agreement.
Examples of Agreements
There are many types of agreement that one will come upon in their lives. These agreements are very important documents that need to be read and understood completely before signing because some of these documents are legally binding. In business, especially, people always face different kinds of documents. Some agreements they come up with are the following:
- Memorandum of Agreement
- Affiliation Agreements
- Confidentiality Agreement
- Technology Transfer Agreement
- Facilities Use Agreement
- Material Transfer Agreement
- Lease Agreement
- Purchase Agreement
- Prenuptial Agreement
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Tips in Making an Agreement
When making an agreement with other people or businesses, there are certain factors that need to be considered. There are also guidelines that one must observe so that there will be no problems in the future. You need to be thorough and rigorous when making an agreement. You do not want to sign the document and then find out later there are loopholes in it. These loopholes could be the basis for problems with the law, which you do not want. Here are some tips that could help you a lot in making an airtight agreement.
- Get it in writing. This is the basic rule of making agreements, especially one that involves a very big value. Yes, oral agreements may be legal but they are rarely enforceable in the court of law. To be safe, it is better to put it into writing in an official document so that you also have proof that the negotiation happened.
- Deal with the right person. Make sure you make the negotiation with the person in charge. Doing it with someone who is just charged with the task by the boss is often not worth it, so make sure you go immediately to the right person. In a business setting, the person you are looking for are the owners of the business, the chief executive officers of the organization, and so on.
- Be as detailed as possible. When it comes to agreements, details are very important. It spells the difference between a smooth negotiation and a misunderstanding, so make sure you put enough details to make the correct transaction. When a detail has been left out, you can easily add it afterward in handwriting but make sure both parties have to initial it.
- Place termination terms and non-compliance clauses. It is possible that the deal sometimes go haywire. It could be due to a number of reasons. Whatever it is, you need to know what to do just in case misunderstandings and non-compliance happens. Include details on what the reasons are for termination of the agreement.
- Keep it simple. You do not need to put jargon or any words that you think would look impressive. Remember that an agreement is an understanding between two or more parties. So make sure that you keep the document simple so that everyone understands it.
There are many instances when one would have to make agreements. It may be done by basically anyone. For example, when you are about to be married, you would need to have agreements with business such as caterers. If you are looking for a wedding caterer, check out these Catering Agreement Samples. Entering into an agreement means you fully commit yourself to making it happen no matter what.
If you are looking for agreement forms that you can use for your own purposes, you have come to the right place. Our sample agreements have all the elements that make a good agreement, and what’s even better is that they are available for free download, so there is nothing more you can ask for.
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