Terms & Conditions Basics

As we’ve received Terms & Conditions from you, dear our beta users, we’ve noticed that many people have questions about how they can create a solid contract with their clients.

In an effort to help our customers create successful businesses (not just a killer efficient inventory system), we sought some legal advice on your behalf. Thankfully, we just happen to have two brothers-in-law-in-law (i.e., they are both attorneys).

Contract

Here are some tips they had for those of you in the process of writing a contract for your event rental business:

R.W. Elephant: What are some essential elements that event rental businesses should consider when creating a contract?

Jon Howell: In order for a contract to be effective it must be thorough. In other words it must account for any situation that might arise between the parties who have entered into the contract. It is also good practice to use a contract that can be understood by a lay person and not just by the lawyers who drafted it. These are good rules to follow in the preparation of any business.

R.W. Elephant: Why is it important to have a solid contract/agreement? Why is it worth the investment?

Jon Howell: When individuals or businesses enter into a new business relationship with someone, usually there is excitement about the potential benefits of the relationship. Obviously the parties would not be entering into the agreement if they didn’t think is was for their mutual benefit and there is a tendency to avoid thinking about the fact that the relationship may not proceed in the way the parties have envisioned. There is also a tendency to take a “big picture” view of the new deal and neglect to focus on the little details that although less exciting may have a real practical impact on whether or not the relationship is effective.

R.W. Elephant: Does the language of a contract have to be “legalese” or can it be friendly?

Jon Howell: “Friendly” language can certainly be used in some circumstances and i believe it is a good idea to use clear, plain spoken (written) language where possible. Certain provisions in a well drafted contract are going to address issues that a lay person probably won’t think about or be familiar with though. in these instances it is appropriate to use more technical language to make sure that the particular provisions of the contract are effective. A good lawyer will avoid using “legalese” when possible to make the contract more readable and easily understood, but in some cases legalese is unavoidable.

Peter Howell is an associate attorney at Rutan & Tucker. He has experience with many areas of law including small businesses, individuals, land use, and environmental law.

Jon Howell practices a wide range of law with an emphasis on business and real estate. He is an associate attorney at Jeffrey J. Czech & Associates.