Most small businesses need legal advice sooner or later, it may be that you take on your first employee and need a work contract or you’re about to sign a lease for your first warehouse. You’re also exposed to legal redress from these same people for instance if you sack someone and they consider it was unfair or when you come to move out of your warehouse at the end of the contract term.
Of course there are many contracts you’re going to sign (often without even reading them) like your eBay and Amazon contracts and in truth you can’t negotiate to change these anyway. However there are others you definitely want to get legal advice on.
I heard a story recently where a company moved out of their warehouse and the contract required them to pay for a new roof – they hadn’t realised that the contract they signed made them liable for repairs to the building and in this instance the costs were significant.
However there are even simpler things such as writing your terms and conditions of sale and returns policies where many of us rely on advice from colleagues or simply adapt someone else’s and cross our fingers that we got it right.
Now a new company is aiming to turn the legal services market upside down providing services on an ongoing basis to small businesses. Business Law Online offer services at an hourly rate of just £135 plus VAT, but they also offer fixed price legal services taking into consideration every legal situation a business may encounter. Their fixed price contract includes legal advice and services, guidance, document preparation, review and more.
Business Law Online will make an initial assessment of your business, post a 3 month trial period to allow both parties to monitor the workload and service value, and then agree a low fixed monthly cost based on the number of employees you have and the legal advice you’re likely to need in the future. The assessment will include things like a review of your selling policies (for instance are you certain things like your returns policy are legally bullet proof?), what happens when you start selling overseas into Germany for example where you’ll need even more T’s and C’s.
Even simple obligations will be covered in the reviews, for instance are you aware that under the Companies Act 1985 that Limited Companies are obliged to include certain information in their email signatures?
A fixed price contract for legal services based on the size and scale of your business and tailored specifically for small businesses makes a lot of sense – paying monthly means you’re never going to have unexpectedly high legal costs and you can budget in advance. If however you’ve got a one off requirement for legal services then the ad hoc hourly rate of £135 plus VAT per hour is also very reasonable, especially from a company who specialise in business services for small businesses like yours.