When companies do business with one another, there is usually a fair amount of paperwork involved. This is the case for both small and large businesses – or rather it should be. If there is no paperwork involved in your business transactions, then we need to be having a completely different conversation!
Companies engage with one another for a number of reasons. For example, the parties could be looking for one company to provide the other with services or goods. In these types of situations one of the parties often provides the other with a written contract to cover the scope of the arrangement.
If you receive a contract from another party don’t be suckered in by the legalese and fancy formatting. The Agreement may appear ready for your signature, but you shouldn’t just sign it and accept the terms as-is. Chances are that the agreement is written to provide the greatest benefit to the party providing the contract. By signing, you could be agreeing to terms that are extremely unfair and unreasonable for your business.
Some people think that “negotiation” is only done verbally, but really written contracts are just another way of negotiating terms. When you get a contract from the other side, it’s an opportunity for you to review and revise the agreement – not just sign it.
Okay when we say “it’s an opportunity for you to review and revise,” we really mean an opportunity for your lawyers. We live for this stuff! It really is an art for us. So remember, don’t just sign on the dotted line above your name, make sure you have a professional review, revise and negotiate that agreement for you!
Robin K. Mann, Associate Lawyer