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Never simply shake on it in the construction business!

Gone are the days when two Florida business owners could have a little chat over a cup of coffee, then part ways with a smile and a handshake and a solid deal, with nothing in writing. Nowadays, many business owners find themselves in the throes of embittered disputes with no leg to stand on in court because they never put anything in writing. It's not that verbal agreements are not binding; they may well be. However, they're also notoriously difficult to prove in court.

Therefore, there are certain steps business owners can take to prevent construction litigation issues down the line when entering an agreement with one or more parties. Contracts are basic, integral components in many business transactions. Clarifying the law ahead of time, careful review before signing and several other ideas can help you secure a solid agreement and avoid disputes.

Get it in writing and other helpful ideas

The truth is, not getting a proposed agreement in writing is typically a recipe for disaster in the modern business world. Below is a list of tips you can keep in mind if you plan to enter a new contract agreement any time soon:

  • Understand the terms: You might be shocked at how many people say they read their contracts before signing, but didn't really understand one part or another. It's crucial to understand all terminology in a proposed agreement, as well as any obligations or responsibilities contained therein (whether yours or another party's).
  • Re-write for changes: Say you followed all the suggested steps for creating a solid contract. You wrote it all down, you reviewed it, understood it and signed it. Then, a change was made and no one felt like going through the entire process again; so, you simply made a verbal mutual agreement to the change. Bad idea! Get it in writing!
  • Don't pay for incomplete work: It's generally best to hold on to your final payment until all work is satisfactorily completed on a contracted project.
  • Outside support: Either before you sign a contract or after, any time a problem arises, it's typically best to address it in a timely and cost-effective manner. Enlisting outside support may help accomplish this.

Construction litigation situations cause many Florida business owners quite a few headaches. However, some find that swift and amicable solutions are indeed possible when they align themselves with experienced business and commercial law assistance. You obviously want to protect your rights and business interests, as well as make sure that all parties involved hold up their ends of the deal.

The court's intervention is often needed to hand down a final ruling on a particular unresolved contract issue. Sometimes, the answer lies in terminating the original agreement. Other times, one or more parties will incur fines or other penalties for failing to fulfill their contract obligations. Hopefully, with the right legal guidance, you'll resolve your particular problem in a way that satisfies your current needs and overall business goals.

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Reid Burman Lebedeker
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