Common Contract Mistakes
Avoid these common mistakes to save yourself (and many others) time and frustration:
- Mistake #1: Signing a contract – Chairs are not authorized to sign contracts for Baylor or for any department within Baylor. For academic departments, contracts will most likely need to be signed by the Provost. If you are not sure whether or not what you are signing is a contract call the Office of General Counsel (710-3821) to ask before you sign.
- Mistake #2: Not reading a contract – You, or someone in your department, are responsible for reading any contracts that affect your department. You must make sure the agreement stated in the contract is the agreement you want make. The Office of General Counsel can help make sure the contract is legal and doesn't expose Baylor to too much risk, but they do not know if the "deal" expressed in the contract is the "deal" you want to make. Only you, or the parties in your department who are involved, know that. Read all contracts that affect your department; the responsibility for the "business deal" expressed in the contract lies with you.
- Mistake #3: Not keeping a copy – You will need a signed copy of every contract that affects or has affected your department. Keep these copies filed where you can easily locate them. Copies in other offices are filed for storage and back-up only, not for easy access. They cannot be retrieved quickly.
- Mistake #4: Not distributing copies of contracts correctly – Payment may be delayed if the appropriate people do not have copies of your contract. See this website: Who needs a copy of my contract?
- Mistake #5: Not documenting competitive bids – Contracts are subject to the same rules as other purchases. If the amount is $5,000 or more, you should seek three competitive bids and go with the lowest bidder, or you will need to explain why you didn't. When you submit your requisition
through TRAX, use the comment field to document your three bids or your explanation. Otherwise, payment will be delayed while the procurement office pursues this information.
- Mistake #6: Not having the funds in place when trying to pay for the contract – Just because you have a contract that has been signed by the provost does not mean the money has been put into your budget to pay for the contract, unless you took steps to put it there. If you do not already have the money in your operating budget (9300's), you may have to request it during Phase I of Budget Prep, or you may need to ask for an allocation through the operational request process.
- Mistake #7: Not leaving enough lead time to get a contract through the system – Some contracts have a surprisingly short turn-around time, and there are several steps a contract must go through before it is signed and ultimately paid. This is especially true if you will need a check cut to make payment;checks are only processed on certain days. Don't let contracts sit on your desk. Review them quickly and send them on their way.