Contracts are fundamental to business. In some situations, a simple handshake suffices, while in other situations, a complex, multi-page document is required.
Small businesses are often presented with complex, multi-page documents drafted by experienced legal counsel from much larger organizations. If you are concerned that you may not fully understand a contract that you are being asked to sign, you should consider having an experienced attorney review it and advise you on its legal consequences. A poorly negotiated or misunderstood contract may cost you both time and resources, and can completely derail your business.
Our legal team understands how vital it is to you and your business to successfully navigate complex contract negotiations. We take the time to understand your company’s unique needs and represent your best interests, whether you are negotiating a salary and benefits package for employment, forming a business venture, leasing or purchasing property, or re-negotiating an agreement with a longtime business associate.
Basic Components of a Business Contract
Contracts can be business to business, or person to business. Your selection of business entity will determine who can sign a contract and whether that person is personally liable for contract performance. A contract is a legal agreement between you (or your business) and another person or business entity. Indeed, you may have cause to enter into a business contract with any number of parties, including:
- outside contractors;
- vendors (suppliers, software providers, etc.);
- business partners;
- property owners/landlords; and
A well-crafted contract will clearly set forth include certain key components:
- definitions – all terms, including the names of the parties subject to the agreement, should be sufficiently clear for everyone to understand. Any ambiguous term should be clarified in this section;
- recitals – a statement about the purpose of the contract;
- consideration – a clear statement of what each party will receive as a result of the contract, such as a finished product or a specific fee; and
- terms and conditions – the rights and obligations of each party should be clearly articulated. For example, when is the contract to be completed? Where is performance to be tendered? What happens if someone fails to honor their obligation? The list of terms and conditions is potentially vast and may determine whether the contract is attractive, or whether the risks outweigh the potential reward;
- Signatures – the names and titles of the persons executing the contract.
One of our business attorneys will assist you in ensuring that your contract includes all of the required components so your risks are fully understood before you sign on the dotted line.
Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with the Deno Millikan Law Firm, PLLC today. We can negotiate on your behalf, or advise you. Our scope of services is as broad or as narrow as you deem necessary for your particular circumstances.