When Should a Vendor Seek Legal Help With a Contract?

A lawyer providing contract help and guidance to a small business owner

Legal jargon can be hard to decipher. Learn when you should consult an attorney for contract help.

Key takeaways:

  • When working with a property management company, you want to make sure the agreement is fair and in the best interests of your small business.
  • It is a good idea to have an attorney take a look at any contract you plan to sign or send to a client.
  • It is tempting to save money and draft your own contract but a lawyer can save you a lot more money by avoiding liability issues.
  • There are several instances where it is important to consult an attorney for contract help, including during negotiations and if you’re concerned about liability.
  • Lawyers provide several useful functions when it comes to contract help such as absolving your business of liability, making sure the contract follows state and local regulations, and ensuring an agreement is legally enforceable. 
  • In the unlikely event a client accuses you of breach of contract, a lawyer can advise you on the next steps. 

Your small business depends on great relationships. A complete business transaction isn’t sealed with a handshake, however. A contract is usually required to ensure both parties are on the same page regarding the work to be completed and its related terms. 

When you work with an HOA or community association management company, you’ll want to make sure the agreement is fair and meets your needs. A contract is legally binding so it is important to understand every clause. We will outline when a vendor should seek contract help from an attorney.  

When to consult a contract attorney

If you’re drafting a contract to send to an HOA or property manager or you’ve been sent one to sign, it is always a good idea to consult an expert first. Forgoing legal fees and handling things on your own can be tempting, but it is worthwhile to have a legal professional look over any agreement you sign. It can save you money in the long run by avoiding liabilities and other conflicts.

It is possible to find and use generic contracts and templates online but a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t helpful when it comes to contracts. The agreement must be adapted to follow state and local laws as well as protect your small business interests. According to Rocket Lawyer, the boilerplate language used in most generic contracts is easy to get around. 

Several instances in which it is a good idea to consult a lawyer include:

  • If you don’t understand a clause in a client’s contract
  • If you have questions about the terms
  • If you’re concerned about liability
  • If you need to negotiate a contract
  • If you’re drawing up a contract for the first time with a new client

Reaching out to an attorney for any of the above reasons is likely to yield a more robust contract for your small business and protect you from any liabilities. 

How attorneys provide contract help

Having a lawyer take a look at any contracts you plan to send or sign can be useful for a number of reasons. Here are some ways lawyers provide contract help for small businesses:

1. They can spot liability issues and resolve them

Generic contracts can be ambiguous. A lawyer can spot these instances of ambiguity and add language that absolves your business of any liabilities. If something doesn’t go according to plan, you don’t want to be on the hook for any unexpected costs or damages.

2. A lawyer can ensure the contract follows state and local laws

As a small business owner, you may not be up to date on the latest local legislature. A good lawyer will know local regulations and will ensure your contract considers them. 

3. A lawyer can make sure an agreement is legally enforceable

It may seem that any document with signatures is legally enforceable but that is not always the case. Boilerplate language may leave you with no recourse should the other party fail to uphold their obligations. You’ll want to make sure that if a client fails to pay you’ll be able to go through a court or arbitration to attempt to recoup your losses. 

The bottom line is a good attorney can help you build a contract that protects you and your small business. Leaving it up to chance may be cheaper in the short term but could become costly if there are any conflicts. 

Breach of contract

It might be unlikely but there is always a chance your small business could be accused of breach of contract. If that’s ever the case, you will need to consult an attorney. They will be able to look over the contract, advise you on your options, and recommend a strategy for moving forward.

VendorSmart connects vendors and property managers

Drafting new agreements with HOAs and property managers will perhaps be more streamlined now that you know when to consult an attorney for contract help. 

If you’re in the market for new clients, VendorSmart can help. We blend innovative technology with a collective 70 years of property management experience to deliver tailored solutions for vendors and property managers. Contact us today to find out how to get started.