Like most Arizona businesses, yours will more than likely need to enter into contracts with vendors, other businesses or even your customers. Of course, you want to make sure that any contract you sign protects your rights and puts you in a good position should anything go wrong.
However, you may be hesitant to bring in an attorney to help you with the negotiation and drafting processes due to the cost. This could cause you to end up spending more money in the future should you find yourself either defending or initiating a lawsuit based on that contract.
The basics of a good contract
First off, it must be noted that contracts can be either written or oral. Oral contracts, of course, are much harder to enforce, and most astute company owners will employ written contracts when conducting business.
In order for a contract to protect your rights and stand up in court, it must meet certain criteria and contain the following elements:
- One party must offer to do something such as deliver goods or provide services. However, the offer must not to do something that would compete with the other party's business or reveal the other company's secrets.
- The other party must provide some form of consideration in exchange for the offer. For instance, you may agree to pay a certain dollar amount for goods or services or you may provide goods for services or money. As long as you provide some consideration, it becomes a contract and not a gift.
- Both parties must understand and agree to the terms of the contract.
- Both parties must sign or otherwise authorize the written contract in order to "seal the deal."
This makes it seem as though entering into a contract is easy, but this provides only a basic outline of what may end up in the final agreement. Contracts can be very complex, which is why you would do well to have someone on your side who understands the intricacies of such agreements.
The advantage of seeking support
Anytime you consider entering into a contract with another party, it would be beneficial to have an attorney experienced in contracts review it before you sign it. Otherwise, you could find yourself in an unenviable position should the other party or parties fail to live up to their end of the bargain. Without ensuring that certain protections are in place in the contract, you could end up paying dearly for any losses incurred.
If you attempt to take the other party to court, a judge will only have the words within the contract to go by. If those words fail to provide you with the best protections possible, you may encounter insurmountable difficulties in your claim, which can cost you far more than the fee you would pay a legal professional to review the agreement beforehand.