Small Business Contracts Done Right
Whether you need help drafting a new contract or enforcing the terms of an existing contract, you want to make sure your rights are protected. We’re here to assist you.
Three Common Contract Situations
Whether you need to draft an employment contract, sign a lease for office space or demand a customer pay you under an existing service agreement, it’s important to understand the contract terms, the relevant law, and your rights. Below is a list of common small business contracts you may come across.
- Sales contracts
- Employment contracts
- Lease agreements
- Financial agreements
- Independent contractor agreements
- Services contracts
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Intellectual property agreements
When people enter into a contract, both parties hope the relationship goes smoothly. However, in the event that something goes sideways, knowing the documents you sign are drafted correctly, fair to both parties and enforceable can reduce stress.
If you need a new contract drafted, you have three main options.
- You can download a template from the internet that’s relevant to your situation and fill in the details. The problem with this approach is that you may not be sure how good the template was in the first place or whether you filled it out correctly.
- You can hire an attorney to draft it for you. If you hire an experienced contract attorney, you’ll be confident that your agreement is legally sound. However, business attorneys charge between $150 - $400 per hour and small businesses may struggle to afford such fees.
- You can download a template from a reputable website, fill it out and then have a business attorney review your document to make sure you followed the law and have adequately protected your rights. For most situations, this option is the most cost effective way to get the protection you need at a price your business can afford.
A small business plan from LegalShield gives you access to attorney drafted templates and the ability to consult with a business lawyer anytime you need advice. Also, you can submit business documents (up to 15 pages each) for review and feedback at no additional cost.
When you need to sign a contract on behalf of your business, you want to be confident you understand the terms and what you’re agreeing to. Here are a few areas to pay close attention to:
- Are the financial terms fair to you?
- Are you clear about the length of your commitment?
- Do you understand your agreement and your options for terminating the agreement early?
- Is there anything in the agreement that would make it unenforceable should you have to go to court?
- What changes should you request before signing? Are there any deal breakers?
- If the other party has requested changes, should you agree to their requests?
Rather than stress and guess, it’s best to have an attorney review the agreement before you sign on the dotted line. This way you’ll be sure you are making the rights moves for your business.
If you’d like help, join LegalShield today and you can get legal advice on any documents in four hours or less.
When someone breaches a contract, enforcement and resolution is based on three elements.
- The first step is to read the contract terms that apply to the breach in question and determine what the document dictates the resolution should be. Is the agreement simply terminated? Does one party owe the other party penalties? The terms tell the story.
- Another aspect of contract enforcement relates to the conduct of the parties after the initial breach. For example, it’s common to require the party that has been harmed to notify the other party of the breach within a specified period of time. Fail to follow the terms and the aggrieved party may have waive its right to enforce the contract.
- The final element is of course the law itself. While private parties can generally agree to whatever contract terms they want, contracts cannot violate any laws. Also, if the any terms of the contract are confusing or contradictory, contract law and past case law may be used to settle the dispute.
Whether you are trying to enforce a service contract with a customer or a landlord is claiming you’ve breached your office lease, it’s best to discuss the circumstances with an attorney and have them review the agreement before taking action. It’s important that you get legal advice as soon as possible so you don’t inadvertently waive any of your rights or nullify the contract.
How a Small Business Attorney Can Help You
Protect Your Business With Legally Sound Contracts
75% of small business owners are concerned that they may be the target of a frivolous lawsuit and small businesses with revenue of a million dollars spend an average of $20,000 a year dealing with lawsuits.*
One of the best ways to protect your business is to make sure all the contracts you sign with customers, vendors and other third parties are drafted correctly, follow the law and will be enforceable should you end up in front of a judge.
To best way to make sure your agreements are in order is to work with a contract attorney that has experience with the most common types of documents small businesses need.
Get Legal Advice Prior to Signing Agreements
Nobody likes reading contracts as they tend to contain language that is confusing and hard to interpret. That said, it is important for the success of your business that you understand what you’re signing.
- Are the terms fair?
- Are your rights protected?
- Do you have adequate coverage for your intellectual property?
- Would key terms of the deal be enforceable in court?
Whether you drafted an agreement or you’ve been presented with a document you need to sign, an experienced lawyer can quickly assess the situation and provide advice on how to proceed.
Get Legal Support for Enforcing an Agreement
Once a contract has been breached, the parties may try to settle the situation on their own. When that does not work, attorneys may have to get involved. Here are several scenarios in which you may want the advice and representation of a reputable contract lawyer.
- A customer has failed to pay fees due under your service agreement
- An employee has breached the terms of your employment agreement
- A landlord claims you have breached your lease agreement
- A relationship with a vendor has gone sour and there is a financial dispute
If you find yourself in a sticky situation that involves a contract, the best move is to contact a business lawyer to at least get advice about your rights and to determine the next best steps.
Key Features of Our Small Business Legal Plans
LegalShield’s business plans can help you in the following areas.
Legal consultation from a provider attorney on business legal matters, with legal research for each issue, if needed.
Receive help with business legal matters more efficiently with professional communications issued on your behalf.
Put business-related legal documents through legal review.
A collection letter from a provider attorney could help you recoup payments more efficiently.