Get Legal Advice Before You Sign A Contract
A business contract is exactly like putting together a puzzle; each piece needs to fit perfectly and specifically for your type of business and your expectations. It is imperative that you have a sound and legally binding contract in place before you begin your business and it’s always a good idea to have an attorney review a contract before signing it which will minimize business risks.
Contracts are a lot like piecing together a puzzle. You may think you have all the pieces in the right place only to discover some are out of order causing you to re-do a portion of your puzzle. Perhaps you get to the end of the puzzle only to discover some pieces have gone missing making the picture incomplete.
What Is A Contract?
A contract is defined as an agreement between the two parties that create legal obligations. If certain elements of the contract are not met, it is not valid or enforceable. Since business owners enter into contracts each day, take a minute to review how your actions and words can be legally binding.
Often times the word contract can be viewed negatively because it can bring up fears of being tied to something you don’t fully understand. However, a contract is a positive thing as it prevents misunderstandings from day one. Contracts will also help alleviate uncertainties that can arise in the future.
Why Can’t I Piece My Own Written Agreement Together?
This is the number one question small business owners ask since meeting with an attorney is an expensive, time-consuming process. There are plenty of free forms online that can be used. Is there really a difference if an attorney draws up the agreement?
The answer is yes, there is a big difference. A contract is specific and unique for each business and there is no “one size fits all.” Just like each puzzle piece is unique to the picture it is creating, the same is true of your business. A dental office will need specific terms due to HIPPA. An accountant needs contractual terms to keep them compliant with the Financial Accounting Standards while the owner of a floral shop won’t need these terms in their contract.
Why Should I Have an Attorney Review My Contracts?
First and foremost, as a small business owner, you have many demands on your time and money. You don’t have enough time to properly read through all the fine details in a contract. You also have limited financial resources and may feel like hiring an attorney isn’t money you have to spend. However, without a contract, you’re more likely to end up in court. Avoiding court and the expenses that occur is the number one reason to have an experienced small business attorney to review your contracts. The money spent with a lawyer who will properly draft and perfect a contract will always be a wise investment. In fact, it probably won’t cost as much as you think. We offer flat rates that make it affordable for you to order a contract review online at your convenience.
Terms Are Always Negotiable
Second, small business owners assume that contracts aren’t going to contain wording that will hurt them. But if you don’t understand the way certain terms are used, applied, or defined then you aren’t doing yourself any favors. How terms apply to you and your business can be the difference between a long, nasty court battle and smooth relationships.
Finally, it’s also important to remember that a lawyer who draws up a contract has their clients’ best interests at heart; they are not looking to protect both sides. Small business owners make the mistake of assuming that terms aren’t negotiable or think they can’t have those hard discussions that make the terms comfortable for both parties. An experienced attorney will point out things that seem risky or problematic and offer negotiating opportunities
Why Is Legal Advice Important Before I Sign?
We’ve all heard the saying, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” Preparing for the worse is what an attorney is doing as they review a contract. Findlaw’s team of legal writers and editors explain that “In a perfect world, agreements would be entered into, both sides would benefit and be pleased with the outcome, and no disputes would arise. But in the real world of business, delays happen, financial problems can crop up, and other unexpected events can occur to hinder or even prevent a successful contract from being carried out.“ A good small business attorney will make sure every detail of the contract will withstand the scrutiny of the court if a problem arises.
Legal Advice Early Will Save You Money Later
In addition, contracts can be full of structural and logistical problems. There are typos and grammatical errors that can change the meaning of the terms. Contracts contain legal, financial, and business risks and problems. There are also negotiating opportunities that can give you the chance to update your contracts with confidence.
Hiring an attorney means you are hiring someone to make sure all your puzzle pieces fit together perfectly–that you are not going to have glaring pieces missing that will set you up to fail in the future. It’s the difference between buying a puzzle at a yard sale or buying one from a box that has never been opened and you know all the pieces are there. The legal fees you will spend today to have a contract drafted to protect your business is minimal compared to the legal disaster waiting for you if you don’t do it right.
Our specialty is piecing puzzles together and putting contracts together to save you from litigation and financial ruin later. Check out a recent Press Release on February 20, 2020: Be a smart business owner-don’t get caught blindsided. Protect your business and avoid making a mistake with your contracts, forms, policies, etc.! Call us to get the answers you need and avoid court.