What Legal Services Are Needed to Start a Business?
Whether you are operating single member LLC or working with a partner in a multi-member LLC, all businesses must follow certain requirements depending on where they operate. There are many legal services that an entrepreneur may seek an attorney’s help with, such as:
- Permits and licenses. You will have to register a business with your state to legally operate, and this comes with new tax obligations as well. Lawyers can ensure you acquire all the necessary documentation based on your state and industry. They can also help you register your startup.
- Insurance. Businesses are required to carry appropriate liability coverage, which a lawyer can help you organize. If you are ever unsure what level of insurance you need to legally run a business, then a business attorney is the best source of information.
- Contract drafting. Whether it’s a partnership agreement or an employment contract, businesses have a lot of contracts, and they need well-written ones to protect their best interests. Lawyers can write contracts to start business operations and oversee negotiations for various forms of documents and agreements you will need.
- Business planning. A lawyer can offer legal advice as you write a business plan to start your company; factors such as taxation, liability, employment laws, and protecting intellectual property can all be guided by a professional’s insight.
If you are unsure about any part of the startup planning process, an experienced business attorney, also called a commercial lawyer or corporate lawyer, can help. They can help understand the process of how to get an LLC, and make sure that you’re legally complaint.
What Legal Documents Are Required for Startups?
Technically speaking, anyone can start a business. However, to legally operate and claim ownership to copyright, such as a business’s name, the founder(s) must register with their state.
You must also register as a business to fully comply with tax laws in your state.
Documentation to start a business includes a complete business registration, business tax forms, and insurance. You may also need to apply for permits or licenses depending on where you live and the services you provide.
There are other essential documents you may not consider at first but prove essential to a healthy, happy business. These include:
- A founders’ agreement or a partnership agreement.
- A nondisclosure agreement and a confidentiality agreement.
- An intellectual property agreement.
- An employment agreement or an independent contractor agreement.
- A shareholder agreement and an investor agreement.
Here is an article with the ContractsCounsel guide to business contracts and what they should always include.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Start a Business?
Needing or not needing a lawyer to start a business depends on your circumstances. You can start a business by yourself, and there are many business agreement contract templates you can find online for free. That being said, there are some risks associated with relying solely on templates to start a business.
For one, templates are intended for a general audience. This means that they may not cover crucial details relevant to your industry. Missing certain elements can nullify a contract, even if all signing parties are fully in agreement with its contents.
Having an illegal contract can cause many problems for your company down the line, including potential lawsuits or lack of legal enforceability.
If you have more than one founder, then you will benefit even more from working with a lawyer. A multi-member LLC can use an attorney to negotiate their shares and responsibilities within the company and come up with contingency plans to manage their assets in the event of a dispute, company dissolution, or member’s departure.
Having an established relationship with a business lawyer gives you access to information and counsel that is personal and up-to-date. Although the internet is filled with plenty of fantastic resources, it is not a substitute for professional legal advice.
Here is an article with a legal checklist for startups that every entrepreneur should review.
What Kind of Lawyer Can Provide Services to Start a Business?
The best type of lawyer to reach out to is a business lawyer. Business lawyers can also be advertised as commercial lawyers or corporate lawyers. These attorneys specialize in business law, so they are the perfect professionals to contact if you have any questions about legal requirements to start a business in any sector.
Some business lawyers are experts in a particular field, like construction, retail, or food service. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you can work with a lawyer to cover all the necessary steps of starting a business, such as registering as a legal entity, filing a DBA (doing business as), and establishing legal contracts for employees, partners, and contractors.
A lawyer can also help you set up an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is legally required for any business that wants to file employer tax returns, pay employees or contractors, operate as a corporation, or set up a tax-deferred pension plan.
They can also help you determine which license, permits, and insurance requirements you may have depending on your location and business structure. Some companies need to apply for various types of licenses before they can legally operate. A lawyer can walk you through the process and ensure all your bases are covered.
Here is an article with a list of federal licenses and permits by the Small Business Association.
Where Can I Get Legal Services for My Startup?
The best place to start your search is online. You can search for business lawyers near you, or by your industry, and check vetted legal marketplaces to post projects and connect with attorneys.
ContractsCounsel matches you with screened, verified attorneys in your state. You can post a project on our marketplace, then receive free, no-obligation bids from lawyers near you. This makes it easy for you to identify the best opportunities for your business.
Finding a reliable business lawyer is a great step toward planning any startup or small company. When you know that you have a reputable, trustworthy legal advisor, you can manage your operations more wisely and make better decisions.
Professional legal counsel is the best way to minimize liabilities and ensure that your business is always compliant with necessary laws and regulations.
Here is an article with more information about legal support services for businesses.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Business?
The average cost to start a small business is under $15,000, but that figure can change depending on the type of business you want to run and how you will operate. For example, starting a business from your house will be much less expensive than renting, furnishing, and managing a commercial space.
If you already have the right technology and resources, you may only need to spend several hundred dollars to register as an LLC and follow any necessary employment laws in your state.
If you want to open a brick-and-mortar location, then expect to spend around $30,000 to $100,000 to get your business up and running. These details will all rest on how large your business will be, where it’s located, and what equipment, supplies, and inventory you’ll need to run it.
Post a project on ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive flat fee bids from lawyers for your project. All lawyers have been vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to explore before hiring.