I want to send a worker a contract that I will pay "a.s.a.p.". Is there a better way to write it in a contract? I feel it is better to specify a date, but it might look even worse than a.s.a.p. to write "within two weeks" or "before the end of the first week in July"?

There is not a conflict, I just want to make clear that I'm not trying to trick the guy into a business and not paying him.


The problem with "as soon as possible" is that one could then say "Well, I've got a lot of bills, so it's not possible to pay you until Uncle Bill dies and I get my inheritance". A good contract leaves no doubt about who does what, when. A specific date is best, though if there is a certain amount of backing and forthing, "July 30" could be "tomorrow", and therefore "within 14 days of acceptance" would still identify a specific date -- provided that the date of acceptance is there in the contract. (It usually is, but doesn't absolutely have to be).

  • 1
    You could also say some like: as soon as possible or on this date, whichever is earlier.
    – Viktor
    Jul 21 '16 at 0:42
  • @Viktor that doesn't make a lot of sense. If the specified date is sooner than possible, that implies that it's not possible to pay on the specified date. A more likely and simpler turn of phrase would be something like "on or before July 30th."
    – phoog
    Jul 21 '16 at 4:41
  • @phoog while an analysis in a vacuum would reach your conclusion, courts have long held that contracts do not exist in a vacuum and are in fact a meeting of the minds. If what stated is taken to mean the same thing for both parties, that is what is analyzed.
    – Viktor
    Jul 21 '16 at 4:44

This is often referred to as a "time is of the essence" clause.

Example time is of the essence

  • Time is of the essence doesn't mean asap. It means that failure to meet a date (e.g. a payment date) is a breach that allows termination of the contract by the innocent party.
    – Dale M
    Jul 22 '16 at 19:34

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