Written list of goods,services, or space to beprovided at the agreed-to prices, terms and time. Itbecomes a binding contractwhen signed bythe associated parties.
An agreement,in writing between two ormore individuals or entities inwhich a court canimpose penalties in the eventone party attempts to negate onhis or her promise as set forthin the signed document.
A letter of agreement is aformal agreement betweentwo people or two parties forrenting, working,subcontracting, buying orlending money.
Letter formatThe format shown here is a “block” style, which is the most commonformat for business letters. All the elements are lined up along aninvisible line down the left side of the page. The text is single spaced,with no indent at the tops of the paragraphs. LetterheadThe term “letterhead” is used for both the sheet of paper, which ispreprinted with the company’s logo, address, phone number andoften a corporate slogan or identifying graphic, and the printed designitself. Generally of very fine quality and more expensive than plainpaper, letterhead is designed to convey a positive image of thecompany. Because the letterhead includes the company’s address,phone and often email, it is not necessary to include that informationagain in the body of the letter. Sometimes the writer will provide adirect phone number or personal email address if the actionstatement calls for direct communication.
Inside AddressTwo spaces below the date are the full name and business addressof the person to whom the letter is addressed. If several peopleare receiving the letter, all their names and addresses shouldappear. Dont confuse multiple addresses with those who receivecourtesy copies of an letter addressed to someone else. Listingmultiple addressees means that each one is receiving an "original"of the letter. The address on the letter should be the same as theaddress on the envelope. As with the date, there can be legalconsequences from inaccuracies. The address on the letter ispresumed to be the one to which the letter is actually sent. If it isincomplete or inaccurate, a recipient can make the case that theletter was mailed to the incorrect address as well. Alternatively,the sender can demonstrate that a letter was mailed to a legalbusiness address by showing that the complete, correct addressappears on the letter itself.
DateWrite out the full, complete date the letter is mailed, or the date upon which anyagreement being made becomes effective.Because the letter is a formal document, often used in contract situations, the date can beextremely important. The letter is usually dated the same day on which it is mailed, butwhatever agreements are included in the letter are considered effective as of the date ofthe letter. Thus, a letter might be dated several days into the future to allow for deliverytime.Generally, antedating a letter is considered unethical, if not fraudulent or illegal. Theexpectation is that anything put “in writing” was available for the reader on the date it waswritten, perhaps allowing for a couple of days in mailing time. SalutationThe formal greeting always starts with “Dear” followed by the person’s title and last name,and ending with a colon. This requires finding out whether the recipient is properlyaddressed as Mr., Ms. or Dr. Attempts to avoid the issue (i.e. substituting the title with theperson’s first name, using impersonal phrases like “Mr. or Ms” or “To Whom it MayConcern”, or eliminating the salutation entirely) indicate that the writer doesn’t actuallyknow the recipient of the letter at all, making the letter a “form” letter, a much less formaldocument.Pay particular attention to the correct salutations in letters addressed to individuals whohold legal, religious or political positions. People who have earned titles beyond Mr. or Ms.can be sensitive about their proper use.
Letter ContentThe specific content of the letter will be created to meet the needs ofthe situation, but the structure of any letter should meet certainexpectations: Context ParagraphThe first paragraph of the letter will define the context, providing aclear statement of the letter’s topic and purpose. Avoid starting aletter with legalistic or flowery language that doesn’t explain what theletter is about. The bureaucratic, “Pursuant to your recent letter ofrequest, we are hereby responding with the information yourequested,” for example, offers no information at all about the contentor purpose of the letter.(In social letters or in letters written for businesspeople in European orAsian countries, it is appropriate to begin a letter with a questionabout the family or a comment about recent weather or worldevents. U.S. businesspeople, however, generally prefer to find out rightaway why the letter has been written.)
Content ParagraphsThe typical letter uses one to three paragraphs to provide theinformation relevant to its purpose. Each paragraph should cover a singletopic or point. In the case of a long letter that covers multiple pages, it isappropriate to break the information into sections with internal headersor bullets to provide clarity. Action ParagraphThe final paragraph of the letter provide a clear, straightforwardstatement of the action that will be taken be the writer, requested of thereader, or expected by a third party. ClosingTwo spaces below the final paragraph of the letter, a traditional closingline, generally “sincerely” or “respectfully,” ends the letter. If thesituation calls for a warmer tone, the closing might be “cordially,” “bestwishes,” or “regards.”
SignatureA four-line space allows room for a written signature immediately below theclosing, then the sender’s full name is typed, with the full business title (sometimeswith the department or division as well) on the next line. The signature on abusiness letter functions as a legal testimony that the contents of the letter arecomplete and accurate and signifies that the writer is taking responsibility forfulfilling any commitments being made. Thus, even when the sender and recipientknow each other well, a full signature is used.When writing on behalf of a team or department, type the group’s proper nameimmediately above the written signature of the team’s representative:Sincerely,T.E.A.M SuccessSandra ThompsonSandra ThompsonTeam CoordinatorThe original of the letter is always signed, and when legal issues are involved, careis taken that only that copy bears an original signature. Sign in dark blue or blackink, with blue preferred when the letterhead is not easily distinguished from aphotocopy.
EnclosureWhen anything is included in the envelope beside the letter itself, it isindicated two spaces below the signature. This helps the reader noticethat additional items are included and avoids the possibility that items willbecome separated. Typically, enclosures are not stapled directly to aformal business letter, although many recipients will commonly secure theletter to any attachments (and sometimes to the envelope itself) as soonas the envelope is opened.Type “Enclosure” or “encl” if only one item is included, or add the numberof items in parentheses if more than one: “Enclosures (3)”. If theenclosures have not been specifically named in the text of the letter, ashort title or explanation should be provided: “Enclosure: Job SiteAttendance Log.” The reader should never be left to wonder what anattachment is or what it is to be used for.
Courtesy CopiesAt the very bottom of the letter, the names of anyone elsewho is receiving a copy of the letter are provided after alower-case “cc:” The person’s title is often listed as well,especially if the recipient is not expected to know who heor she is.Common decency demands that a letter’s recipient benotified when others receive copies, although occasionallya “blind” copy is sent. For example, a customer servicerepresentative might write a letter of apology to acustomer, sending a copy to the sales manager or even thesales clerk involved. The customer can assume that theproblem has been covered with those people, but doesnot need to have their names.
Your Agreement should include information like: the contact information of both parties; the state whose laws will govern the agreement; the subject and dates of any previous negotiations; the agreed-upon terms, including payment; when theagreement goes into effect;and when it will end.With a Letter of Agreement in place,youll know what to expect — and whats expected ofyou.