What Is a Generic Contract?
Generic contracts are legal documents that can be used by service providers for any project. They provide no specifics about a project and instead include generic key terms and clauses that can be applied to many agreements.
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Why You Need a Generic Contract
Every freelancer needs a generic contract template to work from because of its adaptability. This is especially the case if you’re offering different services in more than one niche. A generic contract will cover the basics, while enabling you to personalize each one to your client.
A more specific contract template is a great idea if you’ve only got one service for one niche, whereas a generic contract will be less of a lift to adapt when a different scope of work comes knocking at your door.
As a service provider, it's essential to provide a comprehensive service agreement when working with clients. Once your initial proposal has been approved, it’s time to make things official.
A generic contract is great for both the service provider and the client for many reasons:
- It outlines the responsibilities and roles of each party
- It compels everyone to fulfill their respective responsibilities
- It provides guidance in the case of misunderstanding or miscommunication
A generic contract is also a quick way for service providers to turn a project into a legal document.
What Should Be Included in a Generic Agreement
Unlike other contracts, a generic contract needs to remain, well...generic. Don't include any specific information related to the project—this ensures that the written agreement stays applicable to future projects. This can apply to the initial proposal template too.
Of course, it's key to include details that are specific to your business and offerings. There are some areas that require specification, such as payment details. We'll go into that shortly but for now, let's focus on all the essentials of your generic service agreement.
A generic contract, like all other contracts, needs to include the five essential elements of any contract.
The offer is the written promise to supply a product or service to the client. It's the reason for the legal document, and why the client got in touch in the first place.
The offer is typically laid out in the scope of work, as it details what the independent contractor is agreeing to provide to the client.
Some offers can be verbal, however, this isn't a legally binding document or agreement and doesn't usually stand up in a court of law.
Acceptance is a requirement of a legal service agreement, as it confirms all parties involved are in agreement over the upcoming project. The parts of the offer that need acceptance should be laid out clearly, which will ensure all parties are aware of what terms they're accepting in the service contract.
For example, let’s say you specify that client payment should be received within 30 days of invoicing for your services. You think it's calendar days but the client presumes it's business days.
This misunderstanding could lead to a breach of contract, so it’s best to remain as clear as possible.
Consideration is the part of a legal document that details exactly what value each party brings to the service agreement, whether this is a product, service, or money. Each party should have a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities in order to best fulfill them.
It's also essential to include what happens in the case that the parties involved fail to meet their responsibilities—for example, if a client makes late payments.
Mutuality of obligation
The mutuality of obligation is the binding agreement between the parties involved to the terms of consideration. It's the understanding that each party must fulfill its responsibilities to receive the expected benefit.
The independent contractor must complete their side of the agreement—providing a service—in order to receive client payment. The client must meet the payment conditions—outlined in the service agreement— to receive the service.
Competency and capacity
This aspect of service contracts, and any contracts for that matter, ensure that all parties are fit to be entering into a legal agreement. For example, legal documents involving a minor cannot be enforced as minors aren't considered legally competent.
This also refers to the roles within an organization, and whether an individual has the authority to act as an agent for their organization. If they're found to not hold that authority, the legal document isn't considered valid.
There are some aspects of your contract that apply to the vast majority of your service agreements, however, there are also some that you must include; areas such as:
- The client's details and contact information
- The contract start and end date
- Specific details of the service required
- Payment terms and any payment schedule, including payment amount and any late fee for late payments
- Related documents, such as a non-disclosure agreement
- Local regulations
What’s the Benefit of Using Bonsai, Instead of Editing a Template Yourself?
Running a business requires a lot of time and effort, and legal advice isn't always there when you need it. Sourcing and editing legal contract templates couldn't be easier with Bonsai, whether you need a freelance contract or just something a little more generic.
Bonsai saves you time and effort by giving you a pre-approved template you can work from, deliver, and sign in just a few minutes.
How to Create a Generic Agreement Template With Bonsai
Creating contracts with bonsai couldn't be quicker or easier:
- Sign up for free to the platform
- Choose your desired contract template
- Fill the blank lines to fit your needs
When you're happy that your contract hits all the marks it's ready to be sent over for your client's signature.
Generic Contract Template FAQs
What are the requirements for a valid contract?
There are five requirements for a legal contract:
- Mutuality of obligation
- Competency and capacity
These five aspects must be present for a written document to be considered legally binding. Depending on your contract requirements, adding more or even going into further detail on specific sections may be needed.
Can you make a contract without a lawyer?
Yes, you can make a contract without the help of a lawyer or law firm to provide legal advice. Bonsai's contract templates are all legally valid and ready to use.
Sample Generic Contract Template
Now you know the essential components of a contract, you're ready to add the necessary details to make it yours. Providing services is hard enough as it is, but with our contract templates, you can focus on what you’re passionate about.
Take a look at our generic contract template below.