online contracts

7 Inexpensive Resources for Writing, Signing and Managing Contracts

7 Inexpensive Resources for Writing, Signing and Managing Contracts
Image credit: Daniel Foster | Flickr

When you're new to business, it can be hard finding the funds to hire a lawyer to write a contract. You're intelligent, and you know you could tweak a template document if you could just find one. Maybe, too, you're working with people across the country and it makes little logistical sense to mail them the contract and wait for them to sign it.

Related: 10 Affordable Tools to Help Online Entrepreneurs Succeed 

You'd love a tool that lets you write, sign and manage contracts electronically, then store them in the cloud. But you're not sure what's available.

Here's the answer: seven free or cheap resources worth checking out.

Form repositories

1. Orrick Startup Forms

This resource features corporate formation documents (for Delaware corporations), founders' stock purchase documents, director- and officer-related documents, employment & consultant documents, technology-related documents and equity-compensation documents. You can download these documents for free after confirming that use of these contracts and documents does not indicate a client-attorney relationship with Orrick.

2. FindLaw Small Business Forms & Contracts

This resource features a range of forms, contracts, checklists and other resources for creating, managing and dissolving a business. It includes a Business Balance Sheet, Business Deductions Checklist, Debt Collection Documents, Going Public Due Diligence Checklist, Federal Consumer Credit Laws Checklist, Notice and Articles of Dissolution, Operating Budget, Profit and Loss Statement, Settlement and Distribution of Assets Checklist and Software License Agreement Provisions. You can preview the documents before you download them as mobile apps.

Related: Get Business Agreements in Writing

Mobile apps

3. Shake

This mobile app allows you to create and sign agreements for a range of purposes. There's a DJ agreement, several freelance agreements and agreements for confidentiality, renting, buying and loaning money. Shake was named a top app to watch in 2014 by Business Insider, and has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. 

Contract source web apps

4. Docracy

Docracy is a collection of contracts and other legal documents socially curated by everyday users. The service offers reputable, transparent sources and social proof to ensure quality documents. The first version of Docracy was created at an all-night TechCrunch hackathon. The founders had had trouble finding reasonable documents running their previous business, and realized that others had the same problem. With backing from First Round Capital, Vaizra Seed Fund, Quotidian Ventures and Rick Webb, Docracy today provides a place to share your documents and download new ones, as well as sign them electronically.

5. LegalZoom

You can register an LLC or incorporate on this legal website as well as download contracts and other legal forms individually, for $14.95. The extensive library of documents houses affidavits, bills of sale, and agreements relevant to business, entertainment, event-planning, household issues, human resources/employment, intellectual property, internet/technology, landlord/tenant, lending, loans/promissory notes, nondisclosure agreements, retail and service-related topics.

Contract management web apps

Once you already have the contracts you need, these services will help you manage and use your contracts.

6. Contractually

From Contractually, you can import existing documents to create your company's template library. You can then edit the contract within the site and collaborate with others to change the document before each party signs it, using the site's s e-signature feature. Contractually keeps records of all changes to the document and who made them, and also automatically sends a PDF of the contract once it's been signed.

7. SignNow

With SignNow, you can collect signatures by email or create a link that you can post anywhere. You can collect signatures on any device, and signatures will look like real ink. Manage the users in your organization with SignNow's teams feature. You can collect information from forms into CSV format. With SignNow, you can send contracts in bulk, obtaining up to 1,000 signatures at a time. SignNow integrates with SalesForce, Office365 and Google Apps. Want to set up your iPad so that users can complete a single document without access to the rest of your account? Put SignNow in kiosk mode.

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