Thus says Wayne Rooney’s mother Janette as she sits in court at the hearing of a contract dispute between her son and his former agents.
And she is not alone – so many of us recoil at the mere mention of the words contract, agreement or terms and conditions? Then there are those of us who rely on a wing and a prayer, and a gentleman’s handshake when dealing with their clients or suppliers?
Well it’s time to get real! In the words of Rooney’s agent Mel Stein :” in the real world, people do in the world of sport, renegotiate contracts, however long they are, at early stages and companies and clubs sit down and renegotiate because they want to have a happy client”.
A contract, far from being a source of worry and concern should really result in a happy client relationship. The contract should help both parties to put in writing what they have agreed. Yes it might be littered with legal jargon, but at the very least, it should simply set out the following details:
And guess what, a contract is not set in stone. There is scope for both parties to renegotiate some or all of the terms of the contract. However, it is advisable to have written evidence of any variation to the original terms of the contract.
There is this misconception that a contract is only made in writing, but verbal discussions can also amount to a contracting situation. And this is where it becomes extremely difficult to reach an agreement about who said what! One party might simply have forgotten any verbal representations that he or she made leading up to the “unspoken agreement to contract”. The worse case scenario is that one or both parties are simply unscrupulous and wish to dishonour the agreement.
All this hassle can be alleviated, if we get in the habit of simply putting to paper what we have agreed. And this applies to our personal relationships too. O.K. you might not want to go as far as a pre-nuptial agreement, but there are other transactions that can be committed to paper e.g. family loans, joint venture agreements between family members or friends are two that spring to mind.
Janette with the backing of her son’s millions can probably get away with simply saying that “she doesn’t understand contracts”. However, if you are a small business owner or self employed person, you must make it your business to not only understand contracts, but also to use them in your business transactions. It could save you a lot of time and money – two things that you can’t afford to waste!
Until next time, best wishes for your business success!