How to Create and Manage an Evergreen Contract

February 27, 2024 • Contract Management • 9 minutes

Evergreen contracts, known for their automatic renewal clauses, provide continuous coverage without the need for frequent renegotiations. But it’s important to understand how they differ from standard and auto-renewal contracts.

Here, we’ll explore the definition, legalities, advantages, and challenges of evergreen contracts, along with practical advice on managing and terminating them. Let’s get started with a precise definition.

What is an evergreen contract?

An evergreen contract is an agreement that automatically renews until one party decides to terminate it. This renewal feature is what makes it distinct from a standard contract.

In standard contracts, parties must actively renew or extend the contract upon its expiration. Evergreen contracts, by contrast, renew automatically, often for the same period as the initial term, unless a specific action to terminate is taken.

Legal status of evergreen contracts

The legality of evergreen contracts varies depending on the jurisdiction. Generally, these contracts are legal and enforceable, but different regions may have specific regulations governing them.

For instance, some states or countries might require clear, conspicuous disclosure of the evergreen clause, particularly in consumer contracts, to ensure that all parties are aware of the automatic renewal terms.

Additionally, certain jurisdictions may impose restrictions on the length of the renewal period or provide specific rules for termination to protect parties from being locked into long-term agreements unknowingly.

It’s important for businesses and individuals to understand the local laws and regulations related to evergreen contracts to ensure contractual compliance and avoid potential legal disputes.

Advantages and disadvantages of evergreen contracts

Evergreen contracts offer a mix of benefits and drawbacks that can significantly impact businesses and individuals.


  • Continuity and convenience: These contracts automatically renew, providing uninterrupted services or business relationships without the need for repeated contract negotiations.
  • Time savings: They eliminate the need to regularly draft new contracts or amendments, saving time and administrative effort.
  • Stability in business relationships: They can help foster long-term relationships by providing an ongoing commitment between the parties involved.


  • Potential for missed opportunities: Automatic contract renewals can lead to unintended extensions if parties forget to terminate or review the contract.
  • Lack of flexibility: Can lock parties into long-term agreements, which may become disadvantageous if circumstances change.
  • Challenges in termination: Terminating an evergreen contract often requires giving notice within a specific timeframe, which can be missed easily.

Evergreen contracts can be beneficial for ongoing services like rental leases or employee stock options, where long-term stability is preferred. However, for businesses or individuals looking for flexibility or those who prefer to regularly renegotiate terms, the automatic renewal aspect of evergreen contracts might pose challenges.

Examples of evergreen contracts

Examples of evergreen contracts can be found across many different sectors, illustrating their versatility and widespread use. Here’s a look at how they function in different scenarios.

1. Rental leases

In real estate, rental leases often use evergreen clauses to automatically renew the lease term, typically on a month-to-month basis once the initial term expires. This arrangement benefits both landlords and tenants by providing continuity without the need to sign a new lease annually.

2. Employee stock options

Companies frequently use evergreen contracts for employee stock options. These agreements can automatically renew each year, ensuring that employees continuously have the option to purchase stock as part of their benefits.

3. Service agreements

Many service providers, like internet or subscription services, opt for evergreen contracts to guarantee ongoing service delivery without interruption. These contracts auto-renew at the end of each period, ensuring that customers continue to receive services unless they choose to cancel.

4. Supply contracts

In the manufacturing and retail sectors, supply contracts may incorporate evergreen clauses to ensure a steady supply of materials or products. This setup helps in maintaining a consistent business operation.

Different sectors use evergreen contracts to maintain stability, streamline administrative processes, and ensure long-term partnerships. The key for both parties is to remain aware of the terms, especially the conditions and deadlines for termination, to avoid any unintended commitments.

What is an evergreen contract clause?

An evergreen contract clause is a contract provision that automatically renews the agreement for a certain period unless one of the parties terminates the agreement. This clause ensures the contract continues indefinitely over successive terms until actively canceled.

The evergreen clause typically specifies the following:

  • The duration of each renewal period: This could be the same as the initial term or a different period.
  • The conditions for renewal: It often renews automatically without any additional action from the parties.
  • The notice period for termination: Details how much advance notice must be given by the party wishing to terminate the contract, usually expressed in days or months.

For example, an evergreen clause in a service contract might read: “This agreement shall automatically renew for successive one-year terms unless either party gives the other written notice of termination at least 30 days prior to the end of the current term.”

This clause indicates that the contract will continue to renew every year unless one party informs the other of their wish to terminate with a 30-day notice.

How do you terminate an evergreen contract?

You can terminate an evergreen contract by providing a notice of termination according to the terms specified in the contract. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

  • Review the contract: Carefully read the evergreen clause to understand the notice period required and the method of delivering the notice.
  • Prepare the notice of termination: Draft a formal notice of termination. Be clear and specify the termination date as per the contract’s terms.
  • Deliver the notice: Send the notice in the manner specified in the contract, such as via certified mail or email. Ensure it’s within the time frame stipulated in the contract.
  • Receive acknowledgment: Obtain a confirmation of receipt from the other party to ensure they are aware of the termination.
  • Fulfill remaining obligations: Complete any obligations that are due up to the termination date.
  • Document everything: Keep records of all communications and actions taken to terminate the contract for future reference.

Alternatively, an evergreen contract can also be terminated by mutual agreement. In this case, both parties agree to end the contract before the automatic renewal. This usually involves signing a termination agreement that outlines the terms of the contract’s conclusion.

Comparison: Evergreen contract vs. auto-renewal contract

Evergreen contracts and auto-renewal contracts are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences between them:

1. Definition

  • Evergreen contract: Automatically renews for successive periods until one party gives notice of termination.
  • Auto-renewal contract: Has an automatic renewal mechanism but may include an end date or specific conditions under which renewal occurs.

2. Duration of renewal

  • Evergreen contract: Typically renews indefinitely, without a set end date, until terminated.
  • Auto-renewal contract: May renew for a specific number of times or until a certain condition is met, after which it might end or require renegotiation.

3. Termination clause

  • Evergreen contract: Requires explicit action from one of the parties to terminate, usually by giving a notice within a specified period.
  • Auto-renewal contract: May also require a notice for termination but could include additional conditions for non-renewal.

4. Flexibility and control

  • Evergreen contract: Offers less flexibility as it continues indefinitely until terminated.
  • Auto-renewal contract: May provide more control over the term length and renewal conditions.

5. Common usage

  • Evergreen contract: Often used in service agreements, leases, and employment contracts.
  • Auto-renewal contract: Common in subscription services, software licenses, and memberships.

Both contract types share the convenience of not having to renegotiate terms regularly and ensure continuity of agreement. However, the key difference lies in the duration and control over the renewal process, with evergreen contracts typically offering less flexibility in terms of predetermined end dates compared to auto-renewal contracts.

Perpetual vs. evergreen contracts

Perpetual and evergreen contracts are two types of long-term agreements, but they have distinct characteristics.

Perpetual contracts

Definition: These are contracts with no expiration date and no specific requirement for renewal. They continue indefinitely until an action is taken to terminate them.


  • No automatic renewal clauses, as they don’t have a fixed term to renew.
  • Often used in licensing agreements, where a one-time fee grants indefinite use of a product or service.
  • Termination usually requires specific conditions to be met or a mutual agreement between the parties.

Evergreen contracts

Definition: Contracts that automatically renew for successive periods unless one party gives notice of termination.


  • Contain automatic renewal clauses, renewing for specified periods (e.g., annually).
  • Common in ongoing service agreements, such as subscriptions or leases.
  • Require action (notice of termination) to stop the renewal cycle.

In short, evergreen contracts need proactive measures for termination at the end of each renewal period, whereas perpetual contracts often continue without the need for renewal actions, relying on specific termination conditions.

The role of CLM software in managing evergreen contracts

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) software plays a crucial role in managing evergreen contracts, especially in handling their renewals and deadlines efficiently. Here’s how CLM software aids in this process.

Automated alerts for renewal deadlines

CLM software notifies relevant parties well in advance of renewal dates, ensuring that deadlines for termination notices are not missed.

Centralized contract repository

All contracts, including evergreen agreements, are stored in a single, accessible location, making it easy to review terms and conditions when needed.

Tracking and reporting

Provides comprehensive tracking and reporting features, allowing businesses to monitor contract performance and renewal histories.

Streamlining termination processes

Facilitates the termination process by providing templates for notice of termination and automating the notification process.

Benefits of using CLM software for evergreen contracts

  • Reduces the risk of unintended renewals: By keeping track of renewal deadlines and providing alerts, contract management software minimizes the risk of unintentionally continuing an undesired contract.
  • Improves contract visibility: Offers a clear view of all active contracts, their terms, and renewal statuses, which is particularly useful for managing multiple evergreen contracts.
  • Enhances decision making: Provides data and insights into contract performance, helping businesses make informed decisions about whether to continue, modify, or terminate their evergreen contracts.
  • Increases efficiency: Automates many aspects of contract management, reducing the administrative burden and allowing staff to focus on more strategic activities.

In summary, CLM software is an invaluable tool for businesses that deal with evergreen contracts, offering enhanced control, visibility, and efficiency in managing these ongoing agreements.

Understanding evergreen contracts is vital for any business or individual engaged in ongoing agreements. Knowing how to manage, renew, and terminate these contracts is crucial for maintaining control over your contractual obligations.

Tools like CLM software can greatly aid in this process, ensuring that evergreen contracts are a benefit, not a burden. And in general, staying well-informed and proactive in contract automation will help you leverage evergreen contracts to your advantage.

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