Protecting Your Business with Contracts
Contracts are excellent tools to define the business relationships between parties and manage expectations, especially during the ordinary course of business. Ideally, you would have a lawyer before entering into a contract. However, that does not always happen in real life. But if you own your business, you can set up basic contracts ahead of time, so that when business does come, only minor modifications are necessary, allowing you to quickly come to an agreement and start making money.
Some of the Most Common Contracts Used in Business
Independent Contractor Agreements
When you engage an independent contractor (see Employee versus Independent Contractor for more information) it is important that a formal agreement between that person and the company be implemented. The agreement will spell out the exact duties that need to be done, the compensation structure, termination of service procedures, and will assist the Company in ensuring that the other person is actually treated as an Independent Contractor instead of an Employee, which can result in a large unexpected tax liability.
Vender Services Agreements
When using Vendors to provide goods or services it is important that all terms are laid out in advance to avoid unexpected fees and costs. Vendors often provide an agreement which should be reviewed by your attorney before any business transpires.
Customer Service Agreements
Customer expectations are key. Especially now in the age of litigation and lawsuits. Having a Customer Service Agreement will not only help to layout expectations and but will also help protect you if your customer does decide to go to court.
Non-Competes are enforceable in the state of Florida. However, they are subject to certain limits. A non-compete that is considered too severe will not be enforced. One that is too lenient will not protect the business’s interest.
Non-Disclosure Agreements are not the same as Non-Compete Agreements. They can be incorporated into one agreement or stand on their own depending on their situation
There are also Non-Solicitation Agreements which are meant to prevent others from trying to take your clients, customers, employees, or agents. It is often included in Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements.
One of the more important decisions a business owner can make is whether or not to hire another person to help their business. When someone does this, the person they hire can either be an Employee or an Independent Contractor. This is not a decision that should be taken without proper advice and counsel. See the link for Employment Tax Liabilities for more information on that subject. The Law Offices of Marc J. Miles can draft an appropriate agreement for you.