Business Agreements

Ensuring contracts and agreements meet your business needs

Get in touch or call us on 03 5273 5273

Legal agreements tailored to your business requirements are essential to protect you and your business.

At Coulter Legal, we understand that not every business is the same and not every client’s needs are the same. Our focus is assessing the individual needs of your business and advising you accordingly.

Whether you need advice on an agreement you have received, or need an agreement prepared, our specialist commercial lawyers can assist you. We can advise on, or prepare, a range of general commercial agreements for your unique commercial transaction.

Some examples include:

  • General Business Agreements
  • Business Operations Agreements
  • Confidentiality Agreements
  • Consultancy Agreements
  • Distribution Agreements
  • Manufacturing Agreements
  • Sponsorship Agreements
  • Supply Agreements
  • Services Agreements
  • Terms and conditions

What type of agreements are required to operate a business?

The Agreements which are required for your business will depend on the nature of your business and there are numerous things to consider.

For example:

  • Do you provide goods or services to customers? A supply agreement and/or services agreement, or terms and conditions which govern the supply of goods and services will be required.
  • Do you have an online store? Terms and conditions and a privacy policy should be included on your website.
  • Do you hire staff as employees or engage contractors?  An employment agreement or independent contractors agreement may be required.

These are only some examples of the various agreements that may be applicable to your business.

While there are many things to consider, operating and owning a business can be a rewarding experience. At Coulter Legal, our lawyers can take away the stress of owning a business and ensure it is well equipped for a successful future. If you are unsure what agreements you need to operate your business, get in touch with us and we can advise you accordingly. Our Business Start-up packages also include various agreements for your business which may be useful when starting your business.

Does a business that involves providing services to other parties need a legal agreement in place?

Yes. In the first instance, you will require a services agreement with the other party or terms and conditions which apply to the services provided. It is important that the services you are providing are documented in a biding form to ensure:

  • It is clear what services are being performed;
  • What happens when performance of those services are delayed or varied;
  • That the payment amount and method are agreed;
  • It is clear what insurance is required (if any);
  • Parties maintain confidentiality;
  • What happens when there is a dispute; and
  • Termination rights.

You should also consider whether separate terms and conditions, confidentiality agreements or privacy policies are required.

What if the business only sells goods, is a written agreement required?

If you have an ongoing arrangement to supply goods to another party, then we recommend a written supply agreement be put in place. It is important to have a legal agreement in place in this instance to ensure:

  • What goods are being supplied;
  • The costs of those goods and how payment is to be made;
  • What are the repercussions if a good or goods are faulty;
  • If the goods are covered by specific warranties, that those warranties are appropriately set out;
  • It is clear whether warranties are manufacturer warranties or supplier warranties;
  • Whether the receiver of the goods has a right to return those goods;
  • Parties maintain confidentiality;
  • What happens when there is a dispute; and
  • Termination rights.

However, if you operate an online store, a written supply agreement with your customers may not be necessary depending on the nature of the supply. Rather, terms and conditions on your business website may suffice.

When should I see a lawyer to get advice on the supply agreements for my business?

We always recommend that clients seek legal advice from the outset to ensure the supply agreement is appropriate for the needs of the business and to mitigate the risks of issues down the track. Having a well-drafted agreement in place from the outset could actually save your business significant costs down the track.

Alternatively, if you already have a supply agreement in place and you’re unsure about it, we are able to review any existing supply agreements you have in place and amend them where necessary based on your unique circumstances. It is never too late to full proof your business and ensure your legal agreements cover everything you need.

What if the agreement I have entered into contains unfair terms?

If you think an agreement contains unfair contract terms, those terms may be void or unlawful if that particular agreement is covered by the unfair contracts legislation and the terms are found to be unfair. This legislation applies to contracts where:

  • The contract is for the supply of goods or services; or the sale or grant of an interest in land;
  • At least one of the parties is a small business which is defined as a business that employs less than 20 people on a regular and systemic basis; and
  • The upfront price payable under the contract is no more than $300,000.00, or where the contract will apply for more than 12 months, no more than $1 million.

More information regarding unfair contract terms can be found here.

If you suspect a term in an agreement is unfair, get in touch with us today to see how we can assist you.

Additionally, it is also important to keep the unfair contract legislation in mind when preparing and issuing your own agreements or terms and conditions. In this regard, it is always recommended that you seek legal advice to ensure that your agreements do not inadvertently contain unfair contact terms.

What types of agreements require legal advice?

When operating a business, you will commonly be provided with agreements from other parties which govern your business relationships.  These agreements may include manufacturing agreements, supply agreements and guarantees.  Before entering into any agreement, it is important that you understand your rights and obligations under the agreement.  Our lawyers are able to explain the legal implications of an agreement to you and highlight areas of significant risk and any unfair terms.  We are also able to assist you to negotiate more appropriate terms to protect your interests in any agreement to be entered into.  Once you have entered into a binding agreement, that agreement will govern your rights and obligations, and as such, to protect you and your business, legal advice should be obtained.

Even terms and conditions which are provided to you by another party before you proceed with a transaction will govern the legal relationship between you and the other party.  As such, terms and conditions should be carefully reviewed before being accepted or before proceeding with a transaction.  Our lawyers can also advise you about the implications on terms and conditions, including highlighting areas of significant risk to you and your business.

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