Essential Legal Documents for Running Your Business

Written by Wesley Henderson

September 21, 2023

Image of entrepreneur at office

Legal Templates, Forms, Documents

Starting and running a business requires careful attention to legal matters. You need to ensure compliance, protect your rights, and establish clear agreements with clients, employees, and contractors. Legal documents play a crucial role in providing a framework for these agreements and maintaining a solid legal foundation for your organization.

Well-written legal templates pave the way to protect you and help your business grow by: a) creating better relationships with clients because of proper expectations, and b) systematizing your process.

This article will discuss some legal forms that you need to run your business, including client agreements, employee/contractor agreements, and compliance agreements for privacy and website usage.

Agreements with Your Clients/Customers

Those are fundamental for establishing a mutually beneficial relationship, outlining the terms and conditions of your products or services. A well-drafted client agreement template helps prevent misunderstandings, clearly defines responsibilities, and protects your business interests. Key elements to include in a client agreement are:

  1. Scope of work: Describe the specific products or services, including deliverables, timelines, and limitations or exclusions.
  2. Payment terms: Outline the agreed-upon pricing structure, payment methods, and due dates. Include provisions for late payments, refunds, and any additional fees or charges.
  3. Intellectual property rights: Specify who retains ownership of intellectual property created during the engagement and how it may be used or licensed.
  4. Termination clause: Define the circumstances under which either party can terminate the agreement, including notice periods and any associated penalties.
image of legal template for contractor

If you are an entrepreneur, you must use legal documents any time you hire an employee or contractor, to protect your business and ensure your clients pay you on time.

Agreements with Your Workers (Employee/Contractor)

Whether you have employees or hire independent contractors, it’s essential to establish clear agreements that protect your business and outline the rights and obligations of all parties involved. A good contractor legal template typically cover the following areas:

  1. Job description and expectations: Clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of the employee or contractor. This includes work hours, compensation, benefits, and confidentiality or non-compete obligations.
  2. Intellectual property and confidentiality: Specify that any work created by the employee or contractor during their engagement belongs to the company. Include provisions to protect sensitive information and trade secrets.
  3. Termination and non-disclosure: Outline the circumstances under which the agreement can be terminated and any associated notice periods. Include non-disclosure and non-solicitation clauses to protect your business interests.

Compliance Agreements for Privacy and Website Usage

In the digital age, businesses must prioritize privacy and data protection. Compliance agreements for privacy and website usage help ensure you handle personal information responsibly and establish guidelines for website visitors. Key components of these agreements include:

  1. Privacy policy template: Clearly state how personal data is collected, stored, used, and shared. Comply with relevant data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  2. Terms of use (website) template: Set the rules and guidelines for using your website or online services. Cover areas such as prohibited activities, copyright notices, disclaimers, and limitations of liability.
  3. Cookie policy: Inform visitors about using cookies or similar technologies on your website, explaining the purpose and giving them options to manage their preferences.

Where to Get Your Legal Documents

You have a few options with pros and cons of each. You can hire an attorney, use a reputable template where you customize it yourself (as opposed to an attorney) but that has all the legal jargon you need in there, or you could draft your own or not have one.

Hire a Business Attorney

This is the best option but also the most expensive. If you don’t have several thousand dollars to allocate, then this can be something you budget for as your company grows.  Here is a reputable business attorney. You can also Google for someone in your city or ask friends for recommendations.

Getting a lawyer to customize your templates to your specific business is very helpful so be sure to not wait too long.

Download Legal Templates

This will save you a lot of money if you can download a legal template. It’s a great option so long as you follow a few of these tips.

  • Make sure an attorney drafted the forms. Even though that doesn’t mean it’s customized to your business, it does mean it will do a good job of seeing around the corners and even including some of that boilerplate language that we all wish we didn’t need (but, trust me, it’s worth it!).
  • Industry-specific. Try to get a legal template that is designed for your industry or very close. For example, a health coach needs something different than a fitness studio or wedding planner. This is very important because this is how you can have a document that peers around the corners to avoid would-be disputes or problems.
  • Avoid downloading off Google. We’ve seen people use contracts from other countries and even worse clauses that actually backfire rather than help.

Wrapping Up

Implementing the appropriate legal documents is crucial for running a successful and legally compliant business. Client agreements establish clear terms with customers, while employee/contractor agreements ensure a solid foundation for working relationships. Compliance agreements for privacy and website usage demonstrate your commitment to protecting personal information and set guidelines for website visitors. With these legal forms as a starting point, you can confidently expand your business while minimizing risk.

To simplify the process, you can turn to Drafted Legal, a trusted platform that offers a wide range of customizable legal templates designed specifically for businesses. The website user-friendly interface offers expertly crafted draft forms. You can buy legal templates (individually or by industry) and save time and effort in creating legally sound agreements tailored to your business needs.

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