The Contractor’s Legal Tool Box

What Benjamin Franklin said is still true when it comes to business planning: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Good contracts are documents that have predictable terms and strong enforcement tools. A good contract matching your business practices can keep you working even when conflicts happen.

Let us make sure your tool box includes essential contract documents:

General Contractors: Do you have a Construction Agreement that keeps you in control of your project? Is it up to date with current Washington construction law and practices? Working on a handshake might have worked in the past. But one disastrous project can ruin a business. Make sure your contract gives you strong and fair terms regarding termination, enforcement, and collection of your contract earnings. Make sure your contract is designed for your type of work and your type of customer. A good contract can prevent problems instead of creating them. Make sure you can enforce all the lien rights the law gives you.

Material Suppliers: Do you have a solid Credit Agreement that includes a personal guaranty from your customers? Do your Purchase Orders or Invoices entitle you to recover collection costs? Do they limit your liability for defective products? Do you have the forms and procedures in place to protect your lien rights? Call us to discuss these concerns.

Subcontractors: You know your business and what you do best. Do you have a form Proposal or Bid Sheet with exclusions that fit your business? Does your contract define payment terms? Does it give you the right to stop work if payment is late? Or are you relying on “industry practice”? Standard practices work fine until you face a problem project or customer. Are you aware of your lien rights, notice requirements, and timing requirements? Come sit down with us for a review of your rights.

Surveyors, Architects, and Engineers: Professional service providers have lien rights. Your rights are especially powerful if you provide a timely Notice of Furnishing Professional Services. Your lien will often have priority over contractors and material suppliers coming on to a project after work begins. Let us show you how to protect your earnings.

All Business Owners: Are you using the legal entity that provides you with the greatest amount of risk protection? Does your company have clear management terms? If you are in a partnership or an LLC, does your company have governance documents that guide the company through difficult decisions without ruining the business or the partnership?

Collections and Disputes: Even good contractors and good projects sometimes run into problems. If you have an account receivable that you need to collect, or if you have an existing dispute, talk to us about your options. We handle construction and collection cases economically and diligently.

Contact us to schedule a “legal tool box” consultation. Our lawyers can discuss your company’s needs at a time that works for you. Evening appointments or a meeting using Skype or GoToMeeting are available.

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