Contracts play an integral role in any organization’s operations, so Florida business owners will deal with numerous types of agreements on a regular basis. There are those that you work out via an oral arrangement, contracts that must be in writing under the Florida statute of frauds – and still others that should be memorialized in a document signed by the parties. No matter what your industry, you will either be preparing contracts or negotiating one presented to you. They drive your business dealings, protect your interests, and provide you with options when it comes to disputes.
You can always count on your Clearwater contracts lawyer for guidance with the details, but you may benefit from knowing some basics about the types of agreements Florida businesses encounter regularly.
- Service and Sales Contracts
Companies drive revenue by either selling a service or a product, so these agreements will be at the core of your business operations. In a contract for services, you will need to include terms and conditions for providing them, along with the obligations of the parties. Not all organizations will need a sales contract for the items they produce, so you might be able to incorporate the terms into an invoice or receipt. Plus, you certainly want a solid sales agreement in place for big-ticket items.
- Agreements Covering Intellectual Property
Employees and some business partners may have access to confidential information that has value to your company. To ensure that these proprietary details remain private – and retain their value – you will need to protect them through confidentiality, non-disclosure, and/or non-competition contracts. A Florida restrictive covenants attorney can explain what is required to safeguard such intellectual property as:
- Customer lists;
- Ideas and business processes;
- Software, solutions, and inventions; and
- Trademarks and trade dress.
- Letters of Intent
This type of agreement is meant as a type of “handshake” between the parties on the primary terms, with the expectation that they will formalize the details in an official contract. Be very careful with letters of intent, since there can be confusion over what provisions are binding versus non-binding. Most of these documents will not create legal obligations, but rather are expressions of the parties’ expectations – unless stated otherwise.
- Loan Agreements
Many companies will rely on lines of credit or other loans from financial institutions, and it is typically the bank that creates the contract. Therefore, it is critical to carefully review:
- The total amount of the loan;
- The payment schedule, including any penalties for pre-payment;
- Warranties and representations; and
- What happens in the event of default.
Speak to a Clearwater, FL Business Law Attorney About Important Contracts
A basic understanding of these agreements is helpful, but you may need more focused legal representation when creating and negotiating contracts. Plus, there are countless other contractual arrangements that impact your company throughout its lifecycle. Our team at Clearwater Business Law advises Pinellas County organizations on business law matters, so please call (727) 785-5100 to speak to a contracts lawyer. We can schedule a consultation to learn more about your needs.