As a business owner or manager at a small business, you will undoubtedly have to fill out various forms and contracts in order to comply with regulations and limit legal risks. For instance, newly hired employees typically sign employment agreements detailing compensation and work requirements, while some employers require non-disclosure or arbitration agreements. It can all be quite confusing, which is why FindLaw provides an extensive collection of sample contracts and forms commonly used by small businesses. In this section, you will find sample debt collection forms, business plans from actual corporations, balance sheets, state-specific business forms for sale, and more.
Common Business Contracts
Understanding the subject of your contract can help identify the sorts of agreements that are typical and help avoid missing opportunities to protect yourself and your investments. Certain kinds of contracts are common in specific contexts, for example:
- Sales-Related Contracts - Where one party is making a purchase from another party contracts that may be necessary or wise include Bills of Sale, Purchase Orders, Agreements for the Sale of Goods, Warranties, Limited Warranties, and Security Agreements.
- Employment-Related Contracts - Contracts are increasingly important as both employers and employees seek to establish terms to establish the conditions of employment and the expectations of the employer and putative employee. Common agreements include Employment Agreements, Employee Non-Compete Agreements, Independent Contractor Agreements, Consulting Agreements, Distributor Agreements, Sales Representative Agreements, Confidentiality Agreements, Reciprocal Nondisclosure Agreements, and Employment Separation Agreements.
- Leases - Contracts that touch and concern real estate frequently require a written agreement, though leases of equipment are also common. Real Property Leases and Equipment Leases cover agreements of this sort.
- General Business Contracts - Other business transactions may require a specific form of contract that will govern the relationships and actions of different parties. Businesses may enter into Franchise Agreements, Advertising Agency Agreements, Indemnity Agreements, Covenants Not to Sue, Settlement Agreements, Releases, Assignment of Contracts, Stock Purchase Agreements, Partnership Agreements, Joint Venture Agreements, and Agreements to Sell a Business.
State-Specific Small Business Legal Forms
Certain subjects are almost always covered by state laws and certain types of contracts are very commonly used by small businesses. By selecting forms that have been generated with your jurisdiction's laws in mind there is a much better chance that the courts will uphold your agreement and be able to enforce its clauses. Some of the helpful forms in the context of small business available here and organized by state include:
- Bankruptcy Forms
- Buy/Sell Agreements
- Commercial Leases, Equipment Leases, and Lease Terminations
- Construction Liens and Contracts, Contractor Forms, and Home Construction Contracts
- Employment Forms
- LLC Formation and Operation Forms
- Power of Attorney & Living Will Forms
- Technology Forms
Forms & Contracts: By Subject
In addition to the other resources found here FindLaw maintains examples and templates for contracts to be used by small businesses organized by subject. Along with the forms provided elsewhere, these documents can be an invaluable resource to record and protect the agreements your business relies on for its operation. Subjects include:
- Starting a Business
- Incorporation and Legal Structuring
- Employment and Human Resources
- Business Operation
- Credit & Debt Collection
- Finance & Banking
- Mergers & Strategic Transaction
- Intellectual Property
- Litigation & Disputes
- Closing a Business
- Federal Government Forms