For your "Consideration....": What does "consideration" mean in my contract?

I'm 99% sure that at some point, you may have signed a contract that goes a little something like this:

"NOW, therefore, for good and valuable consideration, the Parties agree as follows:"


"Photographer agrees, with no additional consideration, that the Client may....."

or even

"Client agrees that Planner may use their name and likeness in marketing materials with no further consideration due under this Agreement."

Look familiar?  

But that pesky word, "consideration"-- what does it mean?  Turns out it can be pretty important.

In relation to a contract, the term "consideration" is the "benefit which must be bargained for [...] and is the essential reason for a party entering into a contract. In a contract, one consideration (thing given) is exchanged for another consideration."  Meaning?  It's the stuff you get out of the contract! 

As a business, this means it's those dolla dolla bills.  It's what you've bargained for/ traded services for, if that's your thing.  It's the "free stuff" in exchange for a post on Instagram.  It's someone's actions-- having them agree to do- or not- do something. Consideration is what you get out of an agreement.

So if you're signing a contract with a clause saying, "Client may use the Photographer's images in all commercial materials, with no further consideration" and you thought this was a family portrait session, you need to slam on the brakes.  You're agreeing to let those photos be used in a commercial setting with no further exchange of cash: no royalties, licensing fees, or otherwise.  Or if you agree to let a service provider use your photo and endorsement for their product, expecting something in return-- you're going to be out of luck.

One Step Further...

Wanna really blow your own mind?  Consideration is a requirement of a contract-- without it, there's no reason to agree to anything!  So without consideration, your contract can be considered void.  WHAT?! 

The good news is that even a tiny "modicum" (quoting the law things here) of consideration-- meaning any teeny tiny little exchange-- can work.  Which means consideration isn't an issue!  But if you've ever heard of those contracts where someone gives somebody a penny in exchange for a house-- that's the reason why! (side note: that probably isn't going to work, but it's a good try)