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.
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 a lawyer to draft it for you. If you hire an experienced contract lawyer, you’ll be confident that your agreement is legally sound. However, business lawyers 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 lawyer 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 lawyer 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 a lawyer 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 waived 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 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 a lawyer 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 Lawyer Can Help You
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.
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