Every now and then you’ll find yourself dealing with one of those country cousin types who says he doesn’t want a contract and “your word is good enough.” Maybe yours is, but his usually isn’t.
One of those arrangements taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. I had a handshake deal with a man I hired. He agreed that he would not seek other employment for two years. After a year, a better offer came along, and he was gone. He said that he remembered that we had agreed on only one year. How could I prove he was wrong? I couldn’t. Now what I do when I make a deal with one of these country cousins is send a letter that same day in which I:
1. thank him profusely for his courtesy and
2. set out the terms of the deal: “As I understand in our agreement, I have agreed to …”
I don’t usually ask for any acknowledgment (though you could just to be on the safe side–to make sure the letter arrived.) It’s just a nice, friendly little letter–and a useful record if there should be any misunderstandings later.