It’s rare for a business, large or small, to operate solely on items it can create itself. Whether you are in the food industry, construction, or in an office space, you need resources from an outside vendor for something. To make sure you and your business will receive everything you need, you need to create a vendor agreement. In fact, sometimes you will need several vendor agreements from the same vendor.
Vendor agreements are contracts between two or more parties, to acquire goods and services for specific prices. This is commonly for supplies that allow you or another business to operate. Some vendor agreements last long-term and are renewed if they provide a product or service that’s integral to your daily operations, such as ingredients for a bakery or materials for cement at a construction site. Others can be short-term, such as food at a social or professional event.
Whether they are short-term or long-term, you need to get these agreements to operate your business, but they are not simply written. They need to be specific with their language to assure neither party takes advantage of the other. Contact the corporate law attorneys at Tressler & Associates to learn more.
There are specific clauses and statements a vendor agreement should detail to protect both parties and so both parties know what’s expected of them. There are multiple examples of how they can be written, but they all have to have these five pieces of information.
An agreement should detail what the vendor is supposed to provide, how much they need to provide, and when they need to provide it. This section should also include if there are any alternatives that can take the product’s place if there is an inventory issue with the vendor or another extenuating circumstance with the product.
In this section, it is also important to detail how the product must be delivered. For example, food-based products may need to be kept at a specific temperature. This is how the agreement should also work to prevent honest mistakes.
Some businesses require a vendor’s services for extended periods of time. This needs to be detailed, with specified points of delivery as well. If this is for a temporary event, the vendor needs the details of when the product needs to be delivered.
You and your vendor need to put in writing how, when, and the amount you will be paying the vendor for each shipment. Keep in mind that you can set up regular payments, pay for an extended period of time all at once, or pay in quarterly installments if the vendor agrees. It’s best to have an attorney who will also look into your vendor’s business. This way you know for sure if paying them in advance is an option that won’t end in the vendor collapsing or being unable to provide their product towards the end of your agreement period.
The method of payment must also be stated. If you plan to pay at the point of delivery, ahead of time, or after shipping confirmation, it should be stated in the agreement. It should also be noted if you will pay in cash, check, wire transfer, or some other form of payment.
There should be a clause in the contract dictating the process by which you or the vendor may leave the contract. If the product drops in quality or rises in cost to produce, you or the vendor need to have the ability to leave the agreement. This process can include a minimum amount of notice of some kind, or a monetary refund.
It’s most important to have an attorney create guidelines for this section so your business is not left without the product you need. At the same time, your vendor will need notice if you change your process and no longer need the product or find another vendor who can sell you the product at a cheaper price.
Breaking the contract in any way can lead to one of both parties taking a hit on their revenue and operating line. Whether it’s the vendor not providing the correct amount of product or you’re paying your vendor late, there must be consequences to protect the damaged party. This typically takes the form of payments but does not have to.
Vendor agreements allow for your business to operate, and without them, you likely won’t have a business at all. But you need an attorney’s help to protect yourself from a poorly written contract. We will make sure there are no loopholes someone can use to take advantage of you, and we will make sure that all parties are informed of their responsibilities so few mistakes are made.
If you need someone to write and/or review your business’s vendor agreements, contact the corporate law attorneys at Tressler & Associates for help.
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