As you get ready to hire your first remote workers, don’t forget about your agreements. Even if you have an ongoing relationship with a freelancer or agency, there are some important legal contracts that will help you get started smoothly.
Legal documents can be easy to ignore when hiring someone on an ongoing basis, but many find that they’re even more valuable when it comes to managing virtual teams. Not only do they prevent misunderstandings about the work being done and its scope, but they also provide protection in case something goes wrong – especially if the person doing the work isn’t located in the same office as you.
Contracts protect both parties If you hire employees or outsource work to freelancers on a regular basis, make sure their work is covered by a contract.
Getting an Employment Contract in Place
“We recommend that you have a contract in place with all of your freelancers,” said Rachael Brownell, CEO of Fetch Recruiting. “A properly written contract will help both parties clarify their roles and expectations and will provide recourse if misunderstandings arise.”
As a small business owner, it’s easy to think that contracts are only necessary when large sums of money are involved. However, they’re also important to protect yourself from the inevitable possibility that things go wrong. When employees or freelancers fail to live up to their responsibilities because of poor performance or other issues, having a legal document detailing each party’s responsibility makes it easier for everyone to move on – without getting sued.
There are a few things to keep in mind when creating your contract. Here are the key elements that should be included:
- Scope of work – clearly describe what is expected from each party. For example, if you’re hiring an independent contractor, be explicit about deliverables and project milestones.
- Work hours – many businesses need to track employees’ time and ensure that they’re not working on multiple projects at the same time (which might affect their performance).
- Client responsibilities – outline how you will provide information for each milestone and any additional requirements like specs and source files.
- Be clear about payment terms – this is where you’ll lay out pricing or timing for milestones, as well as penalties for missed deadlines or incomplete work.
- Intellectual property rights – who owns the copyright to the work that is created? This may seem like a simple question, but it’s one that’s been debated in court. For example, if you hire a designer to develop a website and ultimately decide to go with a different firm for design services – will you be able to use the same files or choose not to pay the remaining balance on the contract?
Let the Pros Here at Bell Shah Law Help!
When creating your initial agreements, keep them as simple as possible. It’s easy for legal documents to get complicated and difficult to understand, which only makes them harder for everyone involved. If you want help creating a document that keeps your interests covered but is also fair, then call us here at Bell Shah Law today.
The very first step to take when starting a business is to consider the potential legal issues that will arise during your time running it. One of the major functions that you’ll need in order to keep you and your business safe is to hire a business lawyer. They can assist you both before and after any serious legal trouble occurs. However, not everyone understands what makes for good legal defense or what might make an attorney unsuitable. If you are considering employing an attorney out of your area, be certain they have experience with local courts; if there’s too much distance between you and them, it may take months for them to win over judges or opposing counsels.
Reasons to Hire a Business Lawyer to Protect Your Business
First and foremost, an attorney can assess whether or not you should even form a business entity such as an LLC, S Corporation, or even an incorporation. This is because once someone has established their business as one type of entity over another, it becomes very difficult to change into another kind of formation without meeting certain regulations or without being taxed at different rates. You are more secure when hiring someone who understands how simple legal steps can protect your company in the future.
A business lawyer can offer insight into what would happen if you were ever involved in a lawsuit either on behalf of your business or against it. This is important because no matter how great you are at running a company, you cannot be an expert in all legal fields. For instance, if you know nothing about patents and trademarks, then hiring someone who does would clearly be helpful.
Running a business requires a variety of contracts to be signed with other companies and individuals. When these contracts start to go wrong, as they sometimes do no matter how well-written they are, having a lawyer on hand saves both time and money as far as reworking the documents go. In fact, no reputable attorney will sign off on any contract without having a clause that allows for either side to get out of the arrangement if it turns into a legal battle.
Bell Shah Law is Here to Help with Your Legal Business Needs
Turn to the experienced lawyers here at Bell Shah Law when you have any type of legal business need. We will put our experience to work for you and ensure you and your employees are properly represented.
If you’ve ever come across a commercial for the local burger joint, or seen an ad on TV for the cleaning service down the street, and thought “I could do that”, now might be the time to start. But before you go it alone, learn about all of your options with franchising. The more you know going in, the safer your investment and livelihood will be long-term.
What Is Franchising?
A franchise is basically a legally binding agreement between one business owner (the franchisor) and another (the franchisee). As part of this relationship, one company will provide training and support to help run the other’s business more successfully. In exchange, they will gain regular access to their customers. Essentially it means that if someone buys into McDonalds or Subway, for example, they’re going to have a lot of help with getting started.
How Does It Work?
When you buy a franchise for a certain business, you become part of the parent company’s team. You get your own local “store” or office and can run it as you see fit within a given set of guidelines from corporate HQ. To open up shop, most franchises require an initial fee of about $20k-50k (sometimes more), plus ongoing royalties of around 5% of sales. In some industries this percentage will vary based on how many units are sold in that particular market, but this is rare. For more information on fees and costs associated with specific businesses, consult their individual franchise. Keep in mind that not all franchises are alike, so it’s important to do your research before getting into something you don’t know much about.
Who Can Franchise?
Anyone who has the start-up costs and time for this kind of business can buy into a franchise in most instances. There are very few restrictions on this type of arrangement, but some companies require that their franchise owners have some experience in the industry they work in, especially when it involves business licensing. For example, if you want to buy a seasonal ice cream franchise, you’ll need more than just capital. You’ll also need an entrepreneurial spirit and at least some experience working with food service businesses.
What Are the Benefits of Franchising?
When you buy into a franchise, your business becomes part of a larger network. This means that if you have any problems or questions related to the industry in general, you can get access to experts at corporate HQ who can help with everything from local marketing campaigns to finding suppliers. It not only saves time and money on research, but allows for expansion of your brand more easily because you’ve got legal rights to sell the products or services associated with the parent company’s name. Before going all in on a new franchise, it is best to make sure to cover the specifics with an attorney. Reach out to us here at Bell Shah Law if you want us to discuss franchising a business with you.
In most business transactions, the parties will enter into an agreement to specify their respective rights and obligations. In a purchase of goods from a store, for example, you typically receive a receipt that contains the terms of your transaction in clear language. A contract can come in all shapes and sizes. There may be basic one-page documents or lengthy multi-page documents which contain hundreds of detailed clauses. They expressly outline what each party is obligated to provide and each party’s rights in the transaction.
The Basics of Business Agreements
As a general rule, contracts are enforceable so long as they meet certain criteria. It must be shown that all parties have received “consideration” for the contract. A person cannot simply enter into an agreement without getting anything in return. For example, if someone signs a contract with you to do lawn work for them for free every week during the summer, then this is not an enforceable contract. The individual has provided no consideration or benefit in return for your promise to perform services on their property every week!
On the other hand, a valid contract must have a “meeting of the minds.” In other words, both parties to the agreement need to be in agreement about what they have agreed upon. A good example is when you agree on an exact price for some product or service with another person at a store and there isn’t any negotiating involved.
Agreements and Contracts Without Documentation
Both parties might not even realize that their transaction is an enforceable contract; this typically occurs when someone purchases goods from a merchant and does not receive any type of receipt for their payment that specifies any terms of the deal. This formality may also occur when someone offers services (such as fixing your car) and expects to get paid for them without explicitly stating in writing that he or she will perform the services for a certain fee.
In these types of situations, you might find yourself having to file a legal claim against someone because they have breached their contract with you. A breach occurs when one party violates the terms set out in a contract, either by failing to do what was promised or doing something that was not promised. When a person breaches a written contract, this obligates you to take up your end of it! If you are looking for help to enforce a business agreement, or to understand one before signing, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here at Bell & Shah. We want to help you be sure you understand anything you sign your name to.
Business succession plans and estate plans are both used to transfer control of a business from one person or entity to another. A business plan can be important for any size company, though it is especially critical for those that hope to pass the business on to future generations. The following comparisons between business succession planning and estate planning may help you better understand why this is so.
Estate Planning vs Business Succession Plan
Here is an overview of many of the important differences between business succession plans and estate plans.
- Estate planning refers to transferring ownership of an individual’s personal property at death, whereas a business succession plan transfers ownership of the company itself.
- An estate plan includes items such as trusts, wills, powers of attorney, medical directives, etc., while a business succession plan touches on these areas but is more comprehensive.
- An estate plan is often created during an individual’s lifetime, while a business succession plan focuses on transferring ownership at the time of death (or retirement) after the company has been established and built up.
- Estate planning includes all sorts of personal property; business succession planning only applies to corporate stock or shares in publicly traded companies. There are very few other assets that could be passed like this under current laws. Many states have laws allowing for non-publicly traded corporations to authorize their own transfer upon death. In many cases, it makes sense for both kinds of plans to be created at about the same time by the same attorney.
- The executor of an estate plan is responsible for making sure that the assets in the will are distributed according to that will, while a trustee or successor trustee of a business succession plan carries out that duty and distributes all corporate assets upon death.
Curious to Learn More? Bell & Shah Can Help
If you want to find out more about which type of plan could help you more, then please take a moment and reach out to us here at Bell & Shah. We will take the time to explain the best uses of both an estate plan and a business succession plan, plus help you figure out which will best suit your needs.
As a rule, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), also known as confidentiality agreements, are applicable when companies want to share confidential data and intellectual property involving their business operations with contractors, employees, and other business partners, and also wish to protect this material so that it is not stolen or used without permission. An NDA is essentially a contract that requires these individuals with a behind-the-scenes view of company operations to refrain from disclosing material such as client records, marketing strategies, company financial information, competitor analyses, and technical data that must remain “in house.”
All Businesses Possess Data that is Worth Protecting
You may not feel that your business has the kinds of sensitive trade secrets or items of intellectual property that are worthy of protection against disclosure, such as computer code for a cutting-edge new social network or a recipe for an industry-leading soft drink. However, every business has some type of confidential or classified information that is vital to its core operations and is worthy of protection. This data could include customer lists, financial records, or plans for an innovative marketing campaign. Moreover, most business owners simply want to avoid having sub-contractors communicate directly with their clients and reveal details of the sub-contractors’ role in their company.
NDAs Help to Maintain Trust and Profitability
Whatever the case may be, non-disclosure agreements are highly useful for all types of businesses, from small independent restaurants to giant multi-national corporations. Business owners often have to share proprietary or sensitive data with parties outside their companies when searching for investment capital, acquiring prospective partners, finding clients, or taking on essential workers. So, to safeguard both the business and the individual or group to whom the information is revealed, NDAs have long been employed as legal strategies for maintaining faith and keeping vital data from being exposed in ways that could undercut the profitability intrinsic to that information.
Make Sure You Are Covered – Let Bell & Shah Law Help
The kinds of details that might require NDAs include secret recipes, product formulas, and core manufacturing procedures. NDA protection also often covers lists of clients or sales contacts, private accounting records, and specific elements or characteristics that make a company unique in its field.
If you are considering creating an NDA for your organization and would like more information about the process, contact us today at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC for a free consultation. Our expert business attorneys can help you create an agreement that will safeguard both your company and your team members.