The Basics of Signing a Contract
A sole proprietorship is as simple as it gets. You are the sole owner of your business. You started it. You run it. The profits are yours, minus Uncle Sam’s cut. The moment your business requires interaction with others, contracts enter the picture.
Contracts are inevitable but, all too often small business owners fail to ask the most essential questions.
What is a contract?
A contract is a binding agreement. This means neither party can violate it without risking a lawsuit. It also means it is not something to be taken lightly. You may not read the fine print when you sign up for a phone plan, but if you plan to succeed in business, you must read and understand the language of the contracts you sign.
What does the contract say?
It is not about what the other party tells you. Forget about what you hope it means. Your agreement with the other party will be based solely on the language that appears on that paper. Make sure that the language is clear and that it outlines every aspect of the agreement. The good news is that you should not have to do this alone.
A business law attorney reviews contracts. He or she answers your questions. If you disagree with anything, an attorney can talk to the other party and renegotiate the terms. You do not have to sign until you are ready.
How long will the contract last?
This is known as the contract term. A good contract will let you know how long it will last. There may be a set term. In other cases, it will end upon completion of a project. No matter what, both parties must know when the contract has ended, and how they will be notified. There are a number of ways to indicate how to terminate the contract. These provisions include for example requiring notice to the other party at a specific time for terminating the contract. Some contracts terminate automatically, and then the parties go month to month.
How do you sign the contract?
It involves more than just a pen and paper, believe it or not. It is more than just signing your name or your business’s name. If you are signing for your business, you need to sign as an authorized agent of your company. The signature must list your name and title. It must state that you are signing “on behalf of” your company, which you should identify by name. Do not sign as yourself.
If you have any questions about contracts or business contracts, contact this office for an appointment.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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