The handshake deal is, to some degree, a relic of the past. People’s reputations used to be based on honesty and their ability to uphold their word. A promise was seen as a binding agreement, and both parties knew it.
Is that still true today? It may be for some people, of course, but it’s a massive risk to assume that a promise or a handshake deal will hold up. There are many people who will say one thing and then do another or agree to multiple deals with multiple people as they try to find the best deal for themselves. They’ll change their mind or back out of a deal at the last minute, and if you were counting on that deal, you may have very little recourse.
As some experts have put it: “A handshake deal really isn’t a deal until there is some form of documentation.”
You simply need to protect yourself, your company and your future. You need paperwork to back things up and give you a copy of the agreement in writing. This way, you know the person will not violate the deal, or at least it will be easier for you to take action if they do.
The other benefit of a written contract is that it ensures that both parties really understand the deal and are on the same page. You can discuss terms, dates, payments and other things of this nature. You can limit confusion and easily solve disputes in the future.
When handling contracts or disputes about deals, be sure you know your legal options.