Vendor Agreements

We are business attorneys who review vendor contracts to help our clients avoid pitfalls.

This area of infrastructure deals with relationships with your vendors – those businesses who provide your business with products or services. You are their client.

You may hire a vendor for several reasons: phone service, office supply delivery, shredding confidential documents, marketing, website design and maintenance, office cleaning, IT management, accounting, bookkeeping, cleaning, promotional products, software subscriptions, and so many others.

All of these relationships are important to the functioning of your business. If one relationship should go wrong and a conflict emerges, it could take valuable resources (in time, money and attention) away from your business. So it’s important to establish a good relationship from the beginning – and that relationship is often represented in the form of a written contract.

Vendor agreements

Commonly-Asked Questions:

Why should I want a written contract with my vendor?

You are hiring them to provide you with a product or service, so you should understand exactly what that is going to be. Often contracts can help eliminate misunderstandings – when one party thinks one thing and the other party understands something completely different. This is often the case when people do things “by handshake” because they haven’t gone through the process of flushing out the details. A written contract is a good thing.

Do I provide my vendors with a contract?

Usually not. Usually vendors have their own contracts since they are the ones who are providing their services or products on a regular basis. They would present their contract to you for review and acceptance.

What if my vendor provides me with a contract I don’t like?

Just because a vendor gives you a contract to sign doesn’t mean you have to sign it as-is. Don’t be shy! Have a conversation with the vendor and tell them your concerns. Ask if the contract can be modified to make you more comfortable. If they say yes, make sure the contract actually gets modified before you sign it (you’d be surprised…). If they say no, then you need to make a decision on how much you want to work with this particular vendor and what you are willing to accept to do so.

What if I’ve already signed the vendor contract and a problem arises?

Then that is a problem. If you’ve signed, then there’s not much to do other than negotiate a way out of the predicament. If you can’t negotiate your way through, then you have two choices: stick it out or start a fight. Neither choice is good for business – one leaves you paying for something you don’t want and the other leaves you paying (in time and/or money) to get yourself out of it. The best solution? Read the contract and negotiate it before you sign it. And get help from an experienced business attorney if you think you need it.

What if I don’t understand a vendor’s contract?

That usually just means it wasn’t well written. Go to the vendor and tell them that you don’t understand a part of the contract and ask them to explain. Make sure you understand their explanation – and if it makes you feel more comfortable, ask them to explain it better in the contract. It’s always possible to add language to make the intention more clear. Don’t sign until you understand and are comfortable.

Meet With Us About Your Vendor Relationships

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OM Studios
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Working with Laurie Lee and The Legal Department has been a pleasure! As a new business, we originally thought we could handle our projects on our... own but after consulting with the SBDC in Jacksonville we realized it was something we would need professional guidance for and were referred to Laurie and her team. What we especially appreciated was the flat fee model for pricing – knowing up front what our fees were going to be and being able to calculate them into our expenses was so helpful. We were quoted hourly fees from some other firms but we had no idea what the end number would be. The agreements that were drafted by Laurie were all professional and comprehensive for our needs. We found that she was patient with us as we learned the legal ropes and replied quickly to our questions or requests. We would absolutely recommend The Legal Department to other small businesses in Florida and we hope to work with them again ourselves on future legal needs!read more
Accounts MyPro
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Walk-in Wedding Chapel
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SightHealth Primary Eyecare
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