When you are just starting your wedding planning business it’s very tempting to cut corners until you are making a lot of money. But if you are truly serious about running a successful business, you’ll want to make sure you invest the time and money it takes to get the advice you need to have a professional business from the very beginning. This is particularly true when it comes to legal matters.
Here are 3 basic reasons that you’ll want to hire an attorney to help you when you start your new business:
1. You need a contract
You must have a written contract to use with all of your clients. I get a lot of emails from new planners who didn’t use contracts and ended up getting taken advantage of by their clients. (Also realize that today most brides know that professional planners use contracts and may be suspicious that you are not a real wedding planner if you don’t ask them to sign one.)
There are a number of free contracts on the Internet and in business books but you need one that is specific to your business, the services that you will offer, and the clients you will handle. A contract from the Internet or a book will be too generic and may not adequately protect you and your assets. Put together ideas of what you want in your contract, find an attorney who is experienced in working with entrepreneurs and have her or him work with you to write contract. Your wedding and event planner association can give you referrals to attorneys who are familiar with our industry.
2. You have decided to have a business partner
If you are starting your business with another person, it doesn’t matter if it is a friend or relative, you should have a legal document that states the percentage of the business you each own, what you are responsible for in the business, how you each are paid, and what will happen if one of you decides to quit.
3. You need a trademark
If you have a unique name, tag line or logo for your business, you might want to trademark it so no one else can use it. While you can fill out all of the documentation online, it’s best to hire an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law to help you do the filing. An attorney with experience in this area can assure that you are filing for the proper trademark usage and complete and submit your application for you.
If you are still thinking you can do all of these things yourself, realize that it is less expensive for you to hire someone to protect you from making mistakes than defend you after you have made mistakes and lost money or ruined your reputation.