There are plenty of model contracts on the internet you can "copy and paste." While these samples may do you for the beginning of your business start-up to save costs, continued use may cost you more money down the line through pending litigation.
What these sample contracts lack is specific language that focuses on your business services, the scope of your services, the ability to make changes, and what will happen if a dispute arises. A saying we had in law school, "you can't learn that on legalz..." (Can't finish for legal purposes). Some things to consider when choosing between a sample contract or hiring an attorney to draft contracts for your business:
1 - Does the Sample cover all your bases? Before an attorney writes a contract, we will ask you a plethora of questions to make sure everything necessary to you is incorporated in the contract. Are you a merchant that deals with specific goods? There is specific language to help this client. Are you a contractor that does home remodeling? There is specific language to help this client. Are you a business that has been dealing with personal, smaller contracts, but now has the ability to have a commercial client? Those old contracts you're using may not work and, I bet you can guess it, there is specific language to help this client. An experienced attorney will be able to help you and your business make sure all your bases are taken care of as we move forward with this page.
2 - Editing and having the ability to edit is important. If you copy and paste from a sample contract online, you may understand what some of that language means. But, you may also want to edit the language. One mis-used word, such as "shall" versus "may" could be a changing factor when two businesses interpret their obligations. There is a reason why attorneys did not focus on math majors; because words are our weapons. When an attorney drafts your contracts, they will make sure the words used and how they are defined will be exact and, in need of editing, replace the edited materials with content that is 100%.
Aside from just words, some of the sample contracts may not anticipate you, or your client, wanting to make changes to a job or an order. In a perfect world, two companies/individuals can agree to make these changes orally. In the operations of the legal world, these oral agreements has caused litigation. Me personally, I live by the saying, "hope for the best but prepare for the worst." When drafting contracts, it is important to have a clause within that anticipates one party wanting to make changes and describe the process a party must go through to make those changes a part of the existing contract. Otherwise, a party that orally allows the other party to make a change may fall victim of a situation they were never aware of; "waiver."
3 - "AIK" (Arbitration is Key). If a dispute does arise, you may now be thinking of the cost of litigation, and hiring an attorney to represent your business, and how long it may take to get the money owed to you. Again, "hoping for the best but preparing for the worst" will help you prepare for this scenario. In every contract, there should be a clause that allows you choose your venue for a dispute, and, how the dispute will be handled. Arbitration is a way to avoid the building cost of litigation and, if the contract has been written well, can lead your business to a recouping the costs owed to you. (Disclaimer, the business must also not breach their end of the contract).
There are many more details and variables that go into a contract, but having these three core elements covered in your contracts will put you in a better place than without them. If you are a contractor, service provider, sell goods, or an individual with an entrepreneur mindset, contact me and I will help you do your best and avoid the worst.