Legal Checklist for a Marketer

Written by Wesley Henderson

July 5, 2024

Starting a marketing company can be an exhilarating journey filled with creative opportunities and business growth. However, don’t let the excitement overshadow the legal aspects that can safeguard your venture and ensure its smooth operation.

From establishing your company name to protecting intellectual property, here’s a comprehensive legal checklist for individuals starting a marketing company.

Company Name

Choosing the right name for your marketing company is more than just a creative decision; it’s a legal one, too. It’s best to have multiple options for your company name to avoid any legal conflicts or trademark infringement issues.

To be 100% sure that your selected name is unique and not already trademarked by another entity, conduct a thorough search and confirm its availability. Then, register your company name with the appropriate government agency to secure its legal status.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Consider forming your marketing company as a limited liability company (LLC). This business structure is prevalent among entrepreneurs just starting out because it offers the benefits of both a corporation and a partnership. An LLC provides personal liability protection to its owners (members), so your personal belongings will not be at risk if the company faces legal liabilities or debts.

LLCs also offer flexibility in management and enjoy pass-through taxation, meaning members can report the company’s profits and losses on their personal tax returns. Consult with a legal professional or business advisor to determine if an LLC is the most suitable option for your venture.

Tax Identification Number

Obtain a tax identification number (TIN) for your marketing company. Businesses must apply for an employer identification number (EIN), a unique nine-digit number used to identify your business for tax purposes.

An EIN is also necessary when filing tax returns, opening a business bank account, and hiring employees. You can apply for it through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website or by submitting Form SS-4.

Business Licenses and Permits

Research and acquire the business licenses and permits required to operate a marketing company in your jurisdiction. These may vary depending on your location, industry regulations, and the nature of your services.

Compliance with legal requirements from the outset can prevent expensive penalties and disruptions to your operations. Companies without proper licenses and permits can be subject to fines, suspension of operations, or even closure.

Contracts 

Draft comprehensive contracts and agreements to govern your relationships with clients and contractors.

  • Client Contracts: These should clearly outline the scope of work, project timelines, payment terms, and dispute resolution mechanisms to avoid misunderstandings or disputes.
  • Contractor Agreements: A written agreement is crucial if you plan to outsource work or partner with freelancers. It should clarify responsibilities, confidentiality provisions, intellectual property rights, payment arrangements, and non-compete clauses.
  • And much more!

Having well-drafted contracts can protect your company’s rights and interests and avoid legal disputes. Download The Legal Bundle to see around all the corners and prevent problems before the occur.

Operating Agreement

If you’ve chosen to form an LLC, you should create an operating agreement. This document outlines the company’s ownership structure, management responsibilities, decision-making processes, and dissolution procedures.

An operating agreement helps prevent misunderstandings among members and provides a clear framework for business operations. It also serves as evidence of a legitimate business entity, which can be helpful when opening bank accounts or securing loans.

Insurance

Protect your marketing company and its assets with appropriate insurance coverage. Consider obtaining general liability insurance to safeguard against claims of property damage, bodily injury, or advertising errors.

Depending on the nature of your business, additional coverage such as professional liability (errors and omissions insurance) may also be beneficial. Consult with an insurance professional to determine the most suitable coverage for your company.

Intellectual Property

Protect your marketing company’s intellectual property assets through trademarks and copyrights.

  • Trademarks: Registering your company logo, brand name, and unique marketing materials as trademarks provides exclusive rights and prevents unauthorized use by competitors.
  • Copyrights: This protection applies to original creative works such as advertising campaigns, website content, and promotional materials. Registering copyrights gives the owner exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and publicly display their work.

Securing intellectual property rights can add value to your company and prevent others from profiting off your ideas.

Closing Thoughts

Starting a marketing company requires careful consideration of various legal aspects to ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and protect your business interests. By diligently addressing each item on this legal checklist, you can establish a solid foundation for your marketing venture and lay the groundwork for future growth and success. Remember to regularly review and update your legal processes as your business evolves and seek professional help when needed.

If you’re starting a business, Drafted Legal offers legal templates and advice to help you navigate the complex legal landscape of entrepreneurship. Contact us today to learn how we can help you start and grow your marketing company.

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