From time to time, this blog summarizes the state of the law in Colorado. This is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created by the dissemination of this information. If you have questions about what I have written, I encourage you to contact me at If you have specific legal questions, please contact the Davlin Law Firm, pc, and we can discuss your case.

3…2…1… Contract!

Too many small businesses operate with their clients on a handshake. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate honest and forthright people. I like doing business with them and I wish them nothing but the best. But it is a reality that business deals turn sour all the time. Sometimes it’s a question of differing expectations, but other times someone just won’t pay for services rendered. And it is a truism that it is usually far cheaper to have a lawyer come in at the beginning of a deal and help put the pieces together rather than have one come in at the end and try and pick them up.

A contract serves to protect and inform both parties. It tells both parties what is expected of them and lets them agree what the penalties might be if either of them fails to live up to those expectations. It can also spell out how disagreements can be settled, possibly allowing for options that are less expensive and less onerous than going to court.

Take your cell phone contract as an example. While the actual language may be almost impenetrable to a layman, you are likely agreeing to be bound to your carrier for a certain period of time. Both you and the carrier know what this is. But you also know that if you want to break the contract, the amount it will cost you is set. This allows you to make rational business decisions about your contract with the phone company.

Of course, not all contracts need (or should) be written as densely as a phone contract. But it is vitally important that you put down on paper the basics such as who is doing what and who is paying whom. Because when disagreements arise, you don’t want to have to rely on conflicting accounts of who promised what.

If you talk to a lawyer, they can help you get your basic contracts in place. I can almost certainly guarantee that this will be far cheaper than hiring a lawyer to dig you out of a deal that went south without the proper contract in place.