Website Design Contract Scope Of Work

By | Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents | No Comments

website design contractAs discussed in “3 Things You Should Know About Website Design Agreements,” a website design contract’s scope of work is essential to the success of the project — both for the web designer and the client.

The scope of work should include, at a minimum, the following information…

  1. What is being done
  2. When it will occur (e.g. milestones with deadlines)
  3. Who is doing the work (designer, subcontractor, etc.)
  4. When payments are made (e.g. triggered by milestones achieved)
  5. What is excluded from the design project (e.g. article writing or other content creation)

Related Article – 10 Keys To A Great Website Design Agreement

The more detailed the scope of work, the less likely there is to be a disagreement between designer and client as to performance of the website design contract. If you need help with website legal protection, set up a phone consultation with Attorney Mike Young today.

 

 

3 Things You Should Know About Texas Gym Membership Agreements

By | Business Contracts, Business Lawyer | No Comments

texas gym membership agreementsDo you own a fitness center, gym, or martial arts studio in Texas?

If you’ve answered, “Yes” then you need to protect your business (and yourself) from unnecessary fines, penalties, and lawsuits with proper agreements. You may not know it, but Texas strictly regulates the fitness center industry. Whether you own a health club, fitness center, gym, or martial arts studio, your business must comply with the Texas Health Spa Act.

1. What You Need to Know About the Texas Health Spa Act

The Texas Health Spa Act is a consumer protection law designed to minimize risks for gym members and prevent the use of shady sales tactics. While you may not consider your business a “health spa” this law applies to all Texas businesses that offer memberships for instruction in or usage of a facility for physical exercise.

The penalties for non-compliance with the Act are nothing to take lightly. Not only does the Act allow for civil penalties (including actual damages, equitable relief, punitive damages, attorney fees, and court costs) you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor! You can also face an investigation, lawsuit, and penalties with the Texas Attorney General — something that could destroy your business and personal finances.

Depending on statements made in your marketing materials and sales pitches to potential members, you could also be liable under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. All of these risks are on top of the threat of losing your state gym registration.

There are a number of requirements you will need to implement in order to comply with the Health Spa Act. First, you will need to register your gym with the State and you may need to post a surety bond. Then you need to ensure all members sign a written membership contract. These membership agreements must contain highly specific statutory language. This language is discussed in item #3 below.

2. The Types of Contracts You Will Need to Protect Your Business

To comply with state law and protect your business interests, you will need more than one type of gym contract. You will want a standard membership contract that complies with the Health Spa Act, as well as a Waiver, Release, and Assumption of Risk Agreement that protects you from member lawsuits. Because exercise always involves some risk of injury (especially if your member is not using the equipment properly) you want to protect your business from unnecessary personal injury lawsuits.

You will also want your members to sign a Media Release if you plan on taking before/after photos or any pictures of your gym/studio “in action.” Chances are you will want to include images in your marketing materials, so you want to ensure you have the appropriate permission from members to use their photos in any capacity. If you use personal trainers, you may even need a personal trainer contract as well between your business and your trainers (and possibly between the personal trainers and your members).

3. What You Need to Include in Your Texas Gym Membership Agreements

The Health Spa Act is lengthy and highly specific. Fortunately, there are some common fundamentals that will apply to most gym and martial arts studio owners.

Your membership agreement must state the term (or length) of the contract and Texas law prohibits terms in excess of 3-5 years (the term caps differ based on whether membership is financed through a retail installment contract).

You must also permit cancellation and detail the procedures for cancellation using the appropriate statutory language and provide for refunds under certain circumstances. This should include an option for members to cancel within three business days of signing the agreement and outline how refunds will be handled in the event of gym closure or the death/disability of a member.

If you pass finance charges on to members, you must outline these charges in your contract and include statutory language regarding a member’s legal claims and defenses. You also must provide a comprehensive list of all available membership plans upon a member’s request.

Last, but certainly not least, if you are pre-selling memberships prior to the grand opening of your fitness center, you must include language in your contract about the member’s rights if the gym doesn’t open or closes within 30 days.

As you can see, free gym membership contract templates you find online could put your Texas gym (and you personally!) at risk. Contracts that work for gyms in other states likely won’t comply with the Texas Health Spa Act. Plus you could run into intellectual property theft issues if you copy other contracts without appropriate permission.

Do You Need Help With Your Texas Gym Membership Contracts?

If you are unsure if you’re following Texas law or need gym membership agreements drafted for your business, it makes sense to discuss your options with an experienced business lawyer. Schedule a phone consultation with Attorney Mike Young today to ensure your gym or martial arts studio is protected.

Software Agreement: Can You Be Sued For Using An Old Software Version?

By | Software Agreements, Software Lawyer | No Comments

software agreement licenseUsers of Adobe’s Creative Cloud were apparently told this spring that they couldn’t use older versions of the software. To do so, would violate the end user license agreements they agreed to when purchasing a license to use this software-as-a-service (SaaS).

If Adobe is correct, that leaves the users with two options:

(1) stop using the older version of Creative Cloud; or

(2) upgrading to a new SaaS version.

Of course, when one upgrades software to a newer version, there may be an upgrade fee for the new license.

When you sell or buy a software application license, it’s important to understand what’s being sold (and what’s excluded) from the transaction. Be sure to read the fine print of the application’s license agreement.

If it’s your app that’s being developed or sold, a good software attorney can prepare a software agreement that’s right for you. If you need help, schedule a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.

4 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Digital Marketing Agreements

By | Business Contracts, Business Lawyer | No Comments

digital marketing agreementsDigital marketing is essential for reaching potential customers in today’s market because more than 80% of shoppers do their research online before deciding which business to work with. The good news is that digital marketing tends to be less expensive than traditional advertising and is more effective: providing your business with a high return on investment. The not-so-great news is that digital marketing is complex and you will need to work with a professional to see any real results. And that’s where digital marketing agreements become relevant.

However, before you jump into a relationship with a digital marketing consultant, there are a few things you should know:

  1. what digital marketing entails;
  2. what digital marketing risks you should avoid;
  3. what a digital marketing contract should include; and
  4. how to maintain a symbiotic relationship with your digital marketer.

1. What is Digital Marketing, exactly?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that actually covers a multitude of different online marketing strategies. Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing strategy because it is your online storefront and will most likely be the first thing your potential customers see. This means the design of your website is a key component of your digital marketing strategy. Once you establish a website that’s optimized to attract and convert clients, you can dive into other forms of digital marketing. Content marketing and search engine marketing are two forms of digital marketing that will help your website rank high on search results. Social media and email marketing are ways to interact with and engage your ideal clients. Beyond that, marketing automation, inbound marketing, and affiliate marketing are more advanced (and more technologically-involved) ways of streamlining and enhancing your digital marketing efforts.

2. What are the Risks of Digital Marketing?

Like virtually everything in business, digital marketing comes with its own unique set of risks. Fortunately, you can avoid these risks with a little proactive planning. When you start working with digital marketing professionals you want to be careful not to use someone else’s marketing agreement. If you simply use the agreement provided by the digital marketing agency, you could be setting your business up for disaster, because their contract will be drafted to favor the marketing agency, not the interests of your business.

Even worse, using a digital marketing contract you haven’t paid an attorney to create specifically for you might mean you’re stealing someone else’s intellectual property. Yes, contracts are considered intellectual property, so copying a contract you haven’t paid for could land you in hot water legally and financially.

3. What Business Owners Should Include in a Digital Marketing Contract

Unless you choose to work with a digital marketing agency that handles every type of digital marketing, you will probably end up using multiple business contracts with different digital marketing professionals. It’s not uncommon to have a separate website design agreement, a content marketing agreement, a search engine marketing agreement, and a social media marketing agreement with different, unrelated professionals. In this case, you’ll want to have a sound template to use for all your digital marketing needs. While the scope of services, deadlines, and payment structure will vary from contract to contract, you’ll want to ensure each of these topics are clearly detailed in your agreement.

Related Article: SEM Contract – 10 Search Engine Marketing Agreement Essentials

You also want to include the term of your contract (how long will they perform the work, for a month? A year?). And how renewals will occur (will your agreement automatically renew each month unless you cancel, or will you need to personally renew your contract at the end of the term?).

Do not forget to discuss how you will resolve disputes (will you mediate or arbitrate disputes to avoid court? Which state’s laws will govern your agreement?) and how to cancel the contract if you are dissatisfied or choose to switch to another provider.

Clarify ownership of intellectual property that is created as a result of your contract (make sure you retain ownership of the design elements in your website; any blogs created for your business; and any marketing language used). Have a plan in place for how you can retain intellectual property even if you cancel your contract and switch to a different marketing professional. And last but not least, detail any warranties, defenses, and indemnification. Make sure you are protected in the event you get sued over copyrighted content used by your marketing professional!

4. How to Maintain a Symbiotic Relationship with Digital Marketing Professionals

The first step toward creating a mutually beneficial relationship with a digital marketing professional is to clarify expectations with a solid agreement. Most disputes can be avoided with proper planning and up-front discussion about what you are looking for in the relationship. Beyond that, a good business relationship needs to be built on quality results.

Related Article: 5 Things To Avoid In An SEO Services Contract

The good news is that it is relatively easy to track and measure the results of digital marketing efforts. This means you’ll want to speak with your consultant about how they will share their work product and metrics with you (and how often). By keeping an eye on your digital marketing metrics, you will be able to maximize the return on your investment: and a high ROI is good for the growth of your business.

Do You Need Digital Marketing Agreements for Your Business?

If you need a digital marketing agreement, you’ll want to speak with an experienced business contracts lawyer who understands online marketing. We help business owners craft agreements that protect their legal interests for flat fees so there are never any unexpected costs. To learn more, check out our Business Contract Legal Protection Package.

Mobile App Development Contract: Why It’s Important To Have One

By | Software Agreements, Software Lawyer | No Comments

mobile app development contract - wireframingThe $300 million lawsuit by a mobile app developer against Kim Kardashian is an excellent example of why you should have a written mobile app development contract in place for your protection before any work begins (including wireframing). This is true whether you’re the app developer or the business owner who hires the developer for the project.

Related Article: Software Development – Who Really Owns The Intellectual Property?

And don’t try to wing it with a do-it-yourself contract or amateur app development work orders because you’ll miss something or include provisions that will hurt you in a dispute. Retain an experienced software lawyer to prepare an agreement that’s designed to protect your legal rights.

Related Resource: Software Development Legal Protection

Where To Get A Mobile App Development Contract

If you need help with an app development contract or other software agreements (e.g. software licenses), you’ll want to book a phone consultation with Software Lawyer Mike Young.