Ways to make an agreement

A breakdown of the pros and cons of methods of making agreements

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There are multiple ways to create agreements with people and organisations and each way has its pros and cons. In this article we will look into each of those different methods to help you to decide which best suits you, the resources available to you and the subject of the agreement.

Verbal

Verbal agreements are made all the time and although the saying that a "verbal agreement isn't worth the paper its written on" they do hold value and are defensible in court, but it is harder to prove that an agreement had taken place without witnesses.

Pros

  • Conversational
  • Low cost to make
  • Anyone can do it

Cons

  • Hard to defend
  • High cost to defend
  • Aspects can be forgotten

Email / Messaging Services

More and more email services and messaging services are being used to create agreements. There are good reasons for this as they can be a low cost solution and are defensible in court. The lack of signatures isn't an issue either. Also you can mostly access your emails anywhere with an internet connection. However be careful, I have been burnt with this where I have moved jobs only to realise I no longer have access to emails sent with this account, or an old email account which may have been deleted due to inactivity.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Accessible anywhere
  • Traceability

Cons

  • Access to old accounts / work emails
  • Unguided

Written (DIY)

So you can always write an agreement with a pad and pen, or on your laptop and then sign it afterwards to have a physical copy.

Pros

  • Easilly accessible, anyone can do it
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Where to store it, do both people have access
  • You can lose it

Written (Template)

Written templates are available across the web and in other formats. They are based on standard terms and can be a quick fix for regularly occurring situations, however they do not handle exceptions and can be overly complex

Pros

  • Easily accessible but many have a cost
  • Set around set precedent (standardised)

Cons

  • Not bespoke
  • Can be hard to understand
  • Don’t cover everything you want to be covered

Professional Contract

Written by a solicitor, they are always the most formal and accurate solution, however in many cases may be like smashing a nut with a sledgehammer. Cost is the largest restriction with this option however there is no denying it would be the most dependable in court. 

Pros

  • Bespoke
  • Written by an expert
  • Best in court situations

Cons

  • £180 per hour billable average of a solicitor in the UK
  • Very formal

Wegree

With wegree its simple, written like a whatsapp conversation, except you get to agree or disgree with each message you send or receive. swipe right to agree on a statement made, or swipe left to disagree. The agreements made only get made formal once you have all agreed to all the statements. No legalese, and nothing getting passed without you reviewing it.

Pros

  • Bespoke
  • Conversational
  • Easily accessible
  • In formal

Cons

  • Not a solicitor
  • You need to have a mobile device

About the author

David Barnes

I'm a product manager, engineer and devils advocate on most topics. When I'm not doing my day job, I'm thinking of new products, hiking or listening to surrealist audio books.

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