Does An Act Of God Void A Texas Gym Membership Agreement?

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If you own a Texas gym or martial arts studio, chances are a customer has tried to weasel out of their Texas gym membership agreement by claiming an Act of God has occurred.

For example, if you’ve had to close temporarily because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic or the damage caused by the February 2021 statewide power outages, it might be considered an Act of God like a tornado strike.

However, that doesn’t automatically mean a member can cancel their contract and walk away from you.

Under the state Health Spa Act, a customer can cancel their membership agreement if you (1) permanently close and (2) don’t reopen at another facility within 10 miles.

Other than that, an Act of God rarely lets a member unilaterally walk away unless there’s something specific in the membership agreement that says they can.

A well-drafted gym membership agreement or martial arts contract will contain a “force majeure” clause that covers Act of God situations. However, if an experienced Texas business lawyer prepared it for you, chances are that provision will favor you as the owner (not the member) when an Act of God occurs.

Does Your Texas Gym Sell Corporate Memberships?

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texas gym corporate membership agreement conceptIf you’re offering corporate gym memberships in the Lone Star State, be sure the right person is signing the Texas gym corporate membership agreement.

Don’t assume that only the company should sign the agreement just because it’s paying for the employee to use your fitness center.

Here’s why…

The Texas Health Spa Act and the state’s biometrics law are targeted to protecting the individual (not corporations who employ them).

In addition, a well-drafted gym membership agreement covers many issues involving individual behavior, liability, and assumption of risk.

There are also documents related to a gym membership contract that you’ll want the individual user to sign (e.g., waivers, releases, etc.). The corporate employer can’t sign on their behalf.

Yes, some Texas corporate gym memberships require a binding contract between the gym owner and the corporation whose employees will be using the facility. But that’s in addition to the membership agreement and other legal documents signed by each participating employee. It doesn’t replace those documents.

Just don’t assume the corporate employer assumes the role of each individual user when it comes to the legal protection you need. Because you could be using an unenforceable Texas gym corporate membership agreement if it violates state law. And you’ll risk government fines even if you didn’t intend to do anything wrong.

An experienced Texas business lawyer can prepare the right type of contracts and ancillary legal documents you need to protect yourself and your gym when selling corporate memberships.

Why “Hire” Is A Four-Letter Word

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hire independent contractorWhen you search for individual freelancers to do work for your business, wash out your mouth with soap every time you say the dirty word “hire.” Because you should never hire an independent contractor.

What’s the problem?

The term means “employment.” When you “hire” an individual, you’re getting an employee, not an independent contractor.

Why is that important?

  • Are you registered to do business in the state where the freelancer lives?
  • Are you paying into the government worker’s and unemployment compensation funds?
  • Are you doing payroll tax withholdings? And making employer FICA contributions for Social Security and Medicare?
  • Does the freelancer live overseas? If so, are you setting yourself up to pay an extra month of salary each year. Because many countries require 13-month pay.

Avoid using “hire,” “employ,” or other dirty words unless you want an employee.

Instead, use “contract with,” “select,” “retain the services of,” etc. to procure the services of an individual freelancer.

Experienced business lawyers prepare independent contractor agreements to prevent employment. Yet business owners should stop referring to those workers using employment terms like “hire.”

How To Extend A Contract Deadline

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contract deadline extensionSometimes it makes sense to extend a contract deadline, i.e. a delay in one or both parties’ performance.

If an extension makes sense, how do you do it?

After negotiating the terms of the extension, get the details in writing signed by the parties. Ideally, it’s a simple written amendment to the contract that leaves other provisions untouched and enforceable.

Unfortunately, many business owners try to modify a contract informally by a verbal “handshake agreement” or exchanging some emails that don’t adequately describe what’s being agreed to.

This leads to confusion and often anger. And if one party feels screwed by the informal changes made, it’s a recipe for breach of contract and a lawsuit.

Instead, you’ll have an experienced business lawyer prepare the amendment for you to sign. That reduces the legal dangers while giving you what you want when you extend a contract deadline.

What if there are many issues that need to be changed in addition to the deadline extension?

Related Article: When Should You Not Use Contracts

In those types of situations, it often makes sense to have an amended and restated agreement. This will be the original agreement with the changes made in the document itself. The parties will sign the amended and restated agreement showing the terms and conditions you want now.

In rare instances, it makes sense to terminate the original agreement and sign a new contract that’s prepared from scratch. Your business attorney can advise you on the best way to paper the modified deal, including deadline extensions.

Note that extending a contract deadline is not the same as contract renewal. A renewal keeps the agreement in place for an additional term beyond the current term. For example, at the end of a one-year contract, there may be a provision in the agreement where it can renew for an additional year.

How To Set Up A Texas Boxing Gym

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texas boxing gymWhen you want to set up a Texas boxing gym, there are certain things that you need to do. Because the first rule of a Texas fight club is to obey the law so you can stay in business.

To begin, it makes sense to form a business entity as a personal liability shield.  The most common are a Texas limited liability company (LLC) or a Texas corporation.

In addition, for your Texas boxing club, you will want to be sure that you have adequate liability insurance. This serves as an additional shield beyond that provided by your corporation or LLC.

Of course, consult with a Texas business lawyer, because you’ll want to make sure that you meet  the requirements of the Texas Health Spa Act. Yes, that’s right. Most Texas boxing gyms must comply with the state’s Health Spa Act to protect gym members.

In addition, you may have to comply with the Texas biometrics law as well if you’re collecting biometric data from your gym visitors or members.

Of course, an experienced business attorney could help make sure you’ve taken the right steps as you set up your Texas boxing gym.