Speaking to many business owners, I am often surprised to hear that they draft their own contracts. When I ask them why they choose to not hire an attorney, the answer I often receive is that they are trying to save money and that they have learned from their past experiences. While this is not the most efficient way to draft a contract, it does work in certain situations, and as long as the business owner has not lost too much money from his “past mistakes,” then it can save some money. However, this practice can often be risky, especially when new laws are put into place of which the business owner may not be aware.
One situation that often comes to mind is that of home improvement contractors. In Pennsylvania, a law exists called the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. 73 P.S. § 517.1, et seq. This act is designed to protect consumers from home improvement contractors by setting up a series of requirements for the contractors. While this act requires simple requirements such as registration with the state, it also sets forth requirements to be included in the contract itself. Not only could a contractor’s contract be found void if the requirements are not met, a violation of this Act is also a violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (73 P.S. § 201-1), which allows for the collection of 3x the amount of damages and attorneys’ fees. This goes well beyond trial and error and can run the contractor into a large amount of money.
Owning and operating is an investment. It is an investment of your time, your money, and your passion. While many business owners don’t always see legal services as tangible, it is wise to make sure that your business is safe, secure and protected so that no one else can collect on your hard earned return.
If you are located in Montgomery County, Delaware County, or Philadelphia County and require contract drafting or review, please contact us.