Business Lawyer in Utah
As Business Lawyers in Utah, we have seen too many horror stories of what can go wrong in your business to list them all.
We’ve seen partnerships break up and fight. We’ve seen good businesses go South because one owner decided to make a choice without informing the other. We’ve seen business owners take contracts from the internet and use them (and ended up in a lawsuit later) and the list goes on.
So how do you protect yourself in business?
What should you do to make sure that you don’t lose your shirt if things ever go wrong?
Start By Having a Good Business Lawyer on Your Side
The first step you really need to take is to make the choice to find a Utah business lawyer you can have ready to go at any time. You need to have someone who’s seen the ins and outs of businesses that succeed as well as ones that do not. You see, with Ascent Law on your side, you get a wealth of legal experience at your finger tips. You get seasoned litigators who have been to court and tried lawsuits in front of judges and jurys. You also get the experience of thousands and thousands of contracts drafted and the experience to make sure that your contracts are air-tight and iron clad.
Why are Business Contracts So Important?
Business contracts are essential because they dictate what you can and cannot do in relation to your business, your customers, and your suppliers. If you don’t have good contracts in place, even the best honest people around can forget or remember things differently that you do.
Let me share an example — just recently, we had a case in court and the judge gave us and opposing counsel the ruling from the bench. We were assigned to draft the order for the judge to sign. We drafted it. The attorney on the other side objected to our order saying that it was incorrect. We then ordered a CD copy of the audio recording of the hearing. We then had the recording transcribed. We then made some minor changes to the order and then submitted it to the court for the judge’s signature. You know what happened don’t you? That’s right, the other attorney objected and said it was wrong. It’s been over 4 months and we have to go back to court on this issue in a few weeks.
Imagine if two attorneys in court hear the same things differently; what are the chances that you and your vendor may have different understandings? It can and does happen all the time. For this reason alone you should always have your deals in writing. It prevents faded memories to cause problems later.
What does a good Business Lawyer do for me?
The first thing a good business attorney will do for you is figure out what you need. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to have employee policy manual put in place or updated. You may need to have training on non-compete agreements. You may also need to make sure you taxes are being filed correctly. You may need to have your insurance coverage updated.
We’ve had a client for years who did not want us to do a business legal audit to evaluate what they needed legally — so we didn’t do it. But after about 3 years they got hit with a lawsuit because they hadn’t followed one of the regulations for their specific industry.
Don’t let that be you. If you’re not sure if you have an issue or problem in your business – let us conduct a legal evaluation on your business to make sure you are 100% compliant with the law.
The Utah Commercial Code is lengthy, but if you don’t want to do it yourself, you should have us help you to understand whether you are in compliance or not. Additional information is found with the Utah Department of Commerce where corporations, LLCs, and other Utah businesses entities are established. You can go to both of these resources if you want to do it yourself. Please keep in mind that depending on the type of business you run, there may be other Utah code sections or regulations that you must follow. We can help you if you have any questions about that.
What Should I Do If My Customer’s Don’t Pay?
Chances are that if you own a business, the bulk of your customers will pay and pay on time. However, especially in small businesses that offer terms, you’re likely to come across customers who pay late or not at all. In the event of this scenario, there are a few things you need to know.
Preventative Measures: Standardize Your Business Practices
Preventative measures will help to decrease the amount of non-paying customers, and standardizing your business practices is the biggest preventative measure that you can take. Make your deadlines and invoices specific and your policies clear. Draw up a contract for every client every time. It may also be wise to use an installment based payment plan, rather than a single invoice sent upon completion of your end. You should also consider getting some or all of the money up front before you start working. We know that this is not always possible. Most importantly, however, make sure your policy includes steps for the customer to take if they are unhappy so they don’t decide to just not pay for your good or service.
Nevertheless, you may still come across customers who refuse to pay for the work you’ve done for them. In this case, there are steps you can take to make sure you can collect these payments and your business doesn’t suffer.
Since sometimes people just make mistakes or forget, reaching out to the customer is the best place to begin rather than giving us the file to start collecting. Most of the time, missed payments are nothing more than a mistake, and a quick reminder will get them to pay as soon as possible. Communication is key. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and make a call or send a quick email. That might be all it takes.
The customer may assert that they lost the invoice in order to delay payment, so in this case, send an updated invoice immediately so they can’t abuse this excuse, even if you know they still have the original invoice.
If a customer refuses to respond to your calls or emails, set an ultimatum for them. The ultimatum must have a specific deadline and a consequence. For example – if you do not pay $X in full by [insert date]; then, we will send your invoice to our business attorney for collections. When the date passes and you don’t get payment, call us and get us the invoice and we’ll start collecting on your behalf. This works especially well for ongoing service based businesses if you set a specific deadline where if they don’t pay, the service will be cut off. Additionally, request a timeline for payment and follow up until the customer pays, even sending the original contract, indicating that action will be escalated if they continue to refuse to pay.
If all these measures fail, it is time to hire us. As corporate lawyer, we focus on helping you collect overdue payments, usually past 90 days. We will take the responsibility of following up with the customer off your hands, using their own methods to get the customer to pay.
Though it usually does not come to this, as most nonpaying clients are not worth the time and money required to sue, filing a lawsuit may be necessary if the client owes you a large sum and refuses to pay your or a collection agency. If you do decide to file a lawsuit, we will help you determine the best way to proceed.
Business Attorneys in Salt Lake City Utah
Ascent Law has several attorneys who are licensed and regularly practice in the Salt Lake City Third Judicial District Court and surrounding courts. We provide you with a local business attorney for Utah business cases.
We have satellite offices throughout Utah, and our main office is in West Jordan. We also accept cases in the cities of South Jordan, Salt Lake City, Sandy, Midvale, Riverton, Draper, Magna, Alpine, Lehi, Tooele, Grantsville, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Bountiful, Woods Cross, Lindon, Centerville, Orem, Park City, Midway, Farmington, Provo, Layton, and Heber City.
Whether you have an LLC that you just started or a Fortune 500 company, we want to help you. Call us today to discuss your case either in person or over the phone.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506