What Should I Know Before I Sign a Contract for My Business?

Operating a business almost always involves entering into different types of contracts. The types of contracts you may encounter in your business depend on the nature of your business. For instance, if you operate a store or other retail establishment, you may have contracts with suppliers, a lease with your landlord, and employment contracts with employees. You also may have contracts with service providers, such as an agency, to help you with advertising, web design, or social media.

Ensuring that your business contracts are legally valid and enforceable is critical to protecting your business operations if the other party to the contract should breach that contract in the future. You can rely on a Florida business transaction attorney at Kramer Green to review and draft all your business contracts in a way that best benefits your business.

Review All Contracts with Your Legal Counsel

All too often, business owners believe that they can sign routine business contracts without reading them or having their attorneys review them. As a result, they may not understand the terms of the contract, the consequences if they breach the contract, or other important provisions.

As a business owner, you should not immediately sign every contract another party places in front of you because it may not be in your best interest. You should not allow the other party to pressure you into immediately signing a contract. Instead, you should take the time to review the contract with your attorney carefully.

Most importantly, you should ensure you understand all the terms in your contract. Review any unfamiliar language or provisions with your attorney so that you fully understand what those provisions mean and under what circumstances they would become operable. Be aware of the consequences should you breach the contract, for whatever reason, and your rights and remedies should the other party breach the contract.

Make Desired Changes to the Contract

Even if the other party insists that it’s a “standard” contract that “everyone” signs or the only contract their business offers, you still have the right to review the contract with your attorney. You also have the right to insist upon changes to the contract and, if the other party rejects those changes, to choose not to do business with that party. Depending on the nature of your contract, you may be able to find an alternate party to provide the goods or services on more favorable terms or who is more willing to negotiate the terms of a contract with you.

Resolve Blank Terms in Contract Forms

Many standardized form contracts also contain blank terms that may not pertain to your situation or are not filled out. You should not sign a contract with blank terms in it. You either should resolve these issues and fill in the terms or fill in the blanks with “N/A” to indicate the parties’ agreement that terms do not apply to your situation.

Determine Whether Your Contract Has a “Cooling-Off” Period Before Signing It

Many people believe they have a specific number of days to rescind or “undo” a contract after signing it before it becomes legally enforceable. However, with some exceptions, contracts generally become legally enforceable when both parties sign them.  Only certain types of contracts come with a “cooling-off” period or right of rescission, and these contracts typically apply only to consumer purchases of certain goods or services, not to business contracts.

For instance, under Florida Statutes § 520.72, buyers of home improvement contracts have the right to rescind contracts within three business days of executing the contracts. Buyers of goods or services worth more than $25 during “home solicitation sales” have the same right of rescission. However, most business contracts do not have the same rescission rights unless they specifically provide for “cooling-off” or rescission periods.

Let Us Help Protect Your Legal Interests Today

A business transaction attorney at Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A. stands ready to help protect your legal interests as you enter contracts during your business operations. We understand how hard you have worked to build your business, and our goal is to protect and advocate for you and your business to the greatest extent possible. Contact our office today at (954) 966-2112 or reach out to us online to schedule a time to discuss your business law matter with our attorneys.

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