A few weeks ago I asked if my IG followers wanted to learn more about the other side of my life. The ‘serious lawyer’ side, if you will. And a few of you said you were interested. So here goes…
Obviously most of the day to day things I deal with at work as an in-house lawyer for a large company are confidential and I do have to keep them separate from my personal and blog life. But I do have lots of experiences and knowledge that can be transfer over to the business of blogging, influencing or even just being a small business trying to make it in this increasingly social media focused world.
On a daily basis I deal with a whole host of issues, including contract negotiations, solving issues with service providers, confidentiality agreements, intellectual property issues. I’ve seen it all. And I would like to share some of that knowledge with you so that it an be helpful to you in your own virtual or brick and mortar business or work. And hopefully I can make it semi-interesting. Alternatively, I’ve just solved your insomnia problem – just read post to put you to sleep.
But first a standard disclaimer: I am not providing legal advice here. I am just offering some suggestions for you to consider. If you are in a situation where you need legal advice, please speak to a professional.
Negotiating the Price
For today’s topic, I decided to talk about something that came up in a recent contract negotiation for me. And I am sure it has happened to a few people before too – whether you are the service provider or the receiver.
I often see three major issues or areas of conflict in most business relationships. There will likely be a conflict about price, scope or timelines/scheduling. This is a lot to cover in one post, so for today I am focusing on price – specifically taxes.
Recently I negotiated a contract with a service provider for an event. We went through all the usual details, price, location, scope, timelines etc. We asked several times whether the price quoted included everything and we were assured the price was ‘all in’. We signed the agreement and sent over a deposit.
The next day the service provider comes back with: Oh by the way you also have to pay tax on top of that.
Conveniently they had not mentioned taxes anywhere on their contract. Nor in any of the email and oral discussions we had.
If you are a service provider, forgetting something as simple as taxes can really cut into your bottom line. And as a client, it really sours the relationship if you cannot trust the service providers quote is a fixed price and will not go over your budget.
If you are a service provider, or an online business I strongly recommend using a standard form of agreement, price list, or quote has some fine print that covers important things, like taxes. For example, add a clause somewhere at the bottom that states ‘All amounts quoted are in Canadian funds (or US Dollars etc.) and are exclusive of any taxes or duties.’ If you don’t use a standard form of quote/contract/price list (fyi. you should), then whenever you provide a quote by email, add a line to your email signature so you know you are covered. That way there are no nasty surprises in the end.
In our situation we convinced the service provider to swallow the cost of the taxes as it was their mistake not to include it in the final quote as we requested. But it was a conflict that could have easily been avoided with some pre-planning and a proper form of contract.
Do you have any similar stories? Which areas in a business relationship do you find you have the biggest issues?
I’m also open to suggestion. If there is anything you want me to talk about, legal or business related, I am happy to chat with you over email or on insta, or even in the comments below. Lets all learn from each other.
And come check out my stories on insta if you want to hear more about this. Every so often I might interrupt the cooking and become a serious lawyer for you. But don’t worry, I am still all about the foodie inspiration.
New recipe dropping Thursday!