Businesses are constantly walking in and out of agreements, deals, and new contracts. But how do they manage to keep track of everything?
Relationships with employees, vendors, and customers are not ones you want to neglect, and their flourishment can all rely on the proper execution of a contract’s requirements. A contract management system is a software solution that helps businesses deliver on their promises by properly creating, executing, signing, and monitoring all of their agreements.
Plenty of people throughout an organization can benefit from the automation of streamlined processes that contract management can offer. Human resource departments use it to manage employee contracts, sales reps need it to deliver their end of the deal with customers, and legal departments rely on it to ensure compliance across all fronts of the business.
What are the best free contract management solutions?
Best free contract management solutions
The list below contains real-user reviews from the best contract management software on the market. To be included in this list, not only do you have to be a free application, but you also must:
Include a repository of documents which can be stored in different categories for each type of contract
Offer templates which can be customized by the users involved in the creation of business contracts
Provide the ability to easily create, edit, share, and collaborate on contracts internally (with other employees) and externally (with customers or partners)
Enable users to send notifications for significant milestones, like contract expiry or renewal
Comply with business legal requirements as well as with the internal business rules of the parties involved in the contract
*Some reviews may be edited for clarity. This data was pulled on September 10th, 2020.
PandaDoc is a contract management software that specializes in improving the workflow of all your sales deals, gathering valuable insights, and delivering a positive buyer experience for your customers. This tool serves as an all-in-one document automation software, so you don’t have to worry about creating, approving, or signing proposals or quotes or contracts.
PandaDoc can improve contract efficiency across your entire organization by integrating with your customer relationship management software, payment processors, and file storage applications. Features of PandaDoc include contract creation, e-signature capabilities, and payment collection.
What customers like:
“I have used many e-signature platforms, and I love how user friendly this one is. And it’s free. I am super impressed with the clean interface as well. In my current role, I know I am sending many documents to recipients who are unfamiliar with electronic signatures, but have had zero issues with them requiring help or misunderstanding how to use PandaDoc.”
“If you have the free version of PandaDoc, creating the documents takes some time. For example, on most documents I need initials on every page. This means I have to drag and drop 'initials' on every page again. It would be a nice feature to be able to drop initials on every page at once.”
Accelo is another contract management tool that is built primarily for service businesses. It acts as an all-in-one software system that makes managing all of your client work easy, from the point they become a prospect to the moment they convert into a customer.
Accelo is a cloud-based software, so all the information stored within it is accessible so long as you are an authorized user with internet access. Features that Accelo offers include automatic email capture, time sheets, custom report creation, and other business processes that will let you know if things aren’t on the right track with your contracts.
What users like:
“Accelo has been a very helpful tool for our project management, specifically the budget tracking. I appreciate the reminders you can set for yourself and your team because they allow you all to track the work in real time and not lose sight of the bigger picture along the way. Another resourceful tool is the ability to monitor the minutes or hours you work on each project. For example, if I spend one hour doing logistics or resourcing for a particular client, Accelo allows me to utilize a kind of stop watch to monitor every second.”
“There are some simple user experience issues that I have brought up a few times that never seem to get fixed. The Gmail and QBO syncs can be a little buggy at times. The newest search function isn't as intuitive as the old version. The CRM is too simplistic, so we just don't use it anymore.”
DealHub is a sales engagement and configure price quote (CPQ) platform that acts as an essential team player in the contract management process. This software focuses on delivering personalized customer experiences at every stage of the sales funnel, from being a lead to a customer.
DealHub plays an important role in helping sales reps engage with customers and collaborate with them on the content that is relevant to their relationship, all while collecting valuable information on engagement. With that data, reps can accurately craft quotes and proposals that will benefit both parties.
What users like:
“The biggest differentiation between dealhub and other CPQ tools I've evaluated are ease of use for admin and end user, time to launch, and expense. You can launch in just a few weeks, and the tool makes it easy for admins to make adjustments quickly and easily. We have just launched, but our implementation expert has been extremely helpful in getting us up and running quickly and making recommendations based on best practices other clients are using.”
“The user journey is not easy or clear. Designing the proposal lacks a lot of very important features. What you see in the editor is nothing like the preview. I wish there was an easy way to preview what I'm doing instead of having to download the proposal every single time.”
Oneflow is a contract management software that wants to help you close deals as fast as possible by focusing on automation. This tool helps streamline the most important parts of the entire contract process, including contract creation, e-signing, tracking progress, archiving documents, and analyzing results. All contracts held within Oneflow can be edited live, so you can always have the most updated version of your contracts on hand. On top of that, Oneflow offers integrations with other software systems that businesses rely on to nourish customer relationships, like CRM, marketing automation, and document creation.
What users like:
“All the practical options offered, whether it's adding parties from the address book, sending reminders, or getting updates and insight are easy to find and very useful. When I send contracts out, I'm working from a template where the clients and I can edit fields or write notes during the agreement review. It's both practical, straightforward, and quick, which I highly appreciate as I skip having to make amendments in a Word document and avoid all the back and forths via email that ensues with the clients. This used to slow down the signature of contracts, and Oneflow direct editing feature is a significant plus. I also like the analytics overview showing the ratio of contracts sent to signed. It gave a great insight to help tweak and improve the closing process. And last but not least, the layout is really easy on the eye. In Oneflow, the placement of every feature makes sense.”
“In the case where contracts have fields that need to be filled out by the counterpart, it's a bit annoying that it allows the counterpart to sign the contract before it has been signed internally. We have also experienced problems when counterparts have not been able to open or access the contract in Oneflow because of their browser settings. In these cases we have to spend extra time trying to troubleshoot.”
GetAccept is a contract management solution that provides all of the essential elements you need to manage your contract agreements and then some. This tool covers the basics like contract creation, document tracking and e-signature, but it also allows you to use video conferencing technology to communicate with the other party in question. GetAccept focuses on helping businesses take care of their end of the contract process to move things along and start reaping the associated benefits.
What users like:
“The team at GetAccept is great and helpful with getting you setup on the platform. The flexibility of the program is incredible and allows you to develop a custom platform specific to your company needs. GetAccept was also great with adapting the platform to fit our specific workflow and helping us build the best possible solution for us.”
“Sometimes it's a bit messy to recreate or change a proposal if you need to send a new one. It works, but it could be easier. We often have to change the PDF file we send over to our customers, since we, for now, don't use the built in templates.”
ContractWorks is a management solution for businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries. Like most contract management tools, it works to make the execution, storing, and tracking of all corporate agreements a lot easier for businesses, so they can focus their efforts on the relationships those agreements are regarding. In addition to those features, ContractWorks prides itself on offering their customers a team of support professionals that can help businesses get the most out of their solution.
What users like:
“ContractWorks is not only incredibly easy to implement, it’s even easier to use. The system is extremely simple to navigate with minimal training. With CW we have had nothing but positive feedback and easy adoption across our organization. If there have been any questions or issues that we need addressed, the support desk at CW is eager and always quick to respond. We rolled CW out over two years ago, and I'm still just as pleased with our decision to move forward with them today as I was back then.”
Qwilr is a quote management and proposal software that will help you create the ideal proposal, pitch, and sales quote for each individual customer. The personalization of all your documents will help you stand out to your customers, integrations will streamline contract processes, and notifications will point you in the right direction. All you need to do is bring the information for the agreement, and Qwilr will do the rest in building a document that is sure to please your customers.
What customers like:
“Beautiful, professional, complete proposals and onboarding space that are repeatable and scalable. We build templates for our entire sales and customer success teams to use based on business use-case (per industry, vertical, organization size, location). It's a fantastic way to put everything your customer needs in one space.”
“My only complaint about Qwilr thus far is that the pricing tables can’t be side-by-side (and instead have to be on top of each other). Allowing side-by-side pricing tiers would make our services much easier to compare for customers (and would bring Qwilr up to the standards of how most all services are pricing things nowadays). I would like to be able to add proper bullet points/list formatting on pricing tables.”
With ContractSafe, everything regarding your business agreements is available in one secure place. While that might sound like a recipe for an overcrowded space, this contract management software comes with a great search feature, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for with ease.
ContractSafe sends alerts so you never miss an important contract deadline, enables sharing across teams and customer relationships, and integrates easily with other software crucial to the sales process, like CRM and e-signature.
What users like:
“The customizable view means that each user can see only the contract data relevant to them. The fact that the price is fixed irrespective of the number of users means I can deploy it across my organization and democratize contract information, without compromising confidentiality. The fact that contracts are assigned unique IDs and can only be uploaded through an actual document means no fictitious contracts can make their way into the database and our organization has a single reference per contract that can be used in various systems.”
“Would like to be able to store attachments to contracts without upgrading to the more expensive package. Currently using the Entrepreneur package and if this feature of attaching related documents to the contract for storage was included, my recommendation would be a ten rather than a seven.”
Outlaw is a contract management software that focuses on bringing simplicity and ease to the complex world of legal agreements. For users, the interface is made easy to use and set up for any team, even those with remote members. Outlaw can also integrate with all of your other existing business tools, workflows, and systems. Features of this contract management system include automation, drafting, collaboration with customers and teams, e-signature capabilities, tracking progress, storing, and managing contracts.
What users like:
“The end to end process, from generating a contract to getting a signature, is incredibly seamless on Outlaw. Not just for myself, for my clients as well. The e-signing feature and email alerts are definitely a massive plus -- a deal can close from anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.”
“There was a little bit of a learning curve when setting up our contract templates on Outlaw, especially for our more lengthy and complicated contracts. But the support team was so dedicated and patient during our onboarding process which was a refreshing experience for us. Now my team is able to create new templates with minimal help from the Outlaw team.”
Gatekeeper is a cloud-based contract management software that focuses on supplier relationships and helping businesses get as much value from their contracts as possible. This tool was designed to answer the hard hitting questions when it comes to contract management, like if a business is getting the best value out of the agreement.
With Gatekeeper, all contracts can be stored in one central location, saving businesses time, money, and efforts to stay organized. This solution uses automation and artificial intelligence to remove the burden of management from organizations.
What users like:
"We looked at about a dozen contract management solutions, and Gatekeeper's approach to intake and e-negotiation is truly unique. The employee portal made it easy for our national field offices to submit contracts for review, and the Kanban Workflows helps management stay on top of approvals and provide transparency into the negotiation and approval process."
"Uploading our contracts on a team by team basis, all of which contain different content and account details, is a manual process which can lead to inconsistency and delays in having the system fully operational for our needs. This is obviously not an issue with Gatekeeper but for a small to medium sized business it would be useful to take this into account at the initial project planning stage."
Implementing a new software solution in your tech stack is usually a risk. However, these free options remove that financial burden while still offering all of the necessary features of a contract management tool you need to ensure your strategy is complete, efficient, and compliant.
Need some assistance with the rest of your contract management strategy? Here are some tips for building one from scratch.
Mary Clare Novak is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 in Chicago, where she is currently exploring topics related to sales and customer relationship management. In her free time, you can find her doing a crossword puzzle, listening to cover bands, or eating fish tacos. (she/her/hers)
Play it safe
Stay on top of all of your agreements with contract management software.