Proudly Accepting BITCOIN!

I've been a big fan and proponent of Bitcoin for over a year, however it hadn't occurred to me that it would be worthwhile to accept Bitcoin here at MSABundle. Thanks to the easy Shopify/BitPay integration, it's now possible to buy my acclaimed legal templates using Bitcoin. If you're new to this site, the best place to start is The Consultant Pack, which combines our two bestselling products into one discounted bundle.

Cheers,
Obie Fernandez

Isn't it dangerous to provide legal documents?

The sale of legal documentation templates is a well-established market. As long as the appropriate disclaimers are made then it is reasonably safe to provide this service. My customers can save significant amounts of hassle and money by using my templates as a starting point. They customize their document according to the annotations in the document, then they send the draft to their own attorney for review, discussion and approval. The cost savings from taking this approach instead of having your attorney write the document themselves can be huge, plus you end up with an end product that has been used successfully before in the context of software development, consulting and startups.

Introducing the Offer Letter Template

Hiring employees is exciting, especially when you're just starting out. An offer letter is a must-have document in your template library and the importance of having solid, proven wording cannot be overstated. 

Generally speaking, an offer letter lays down the terms of work and compensation that your company is offering to the prospective new hire. It includes basic details like the salary package, department, position, and vacation. The candidate gets a specified number of hours or days to review, responds with counter offers or alterations in terms, and sign, indicating acceptance and intention to join your company. The process of offer and acceptance are essential ingredients of a legally-binding contract.

An offer letter also gives prospective employees proof and confidence of a new job enough to leave their existing company and to not accept other offers. In addition, an offer letter can be upheld in a court of law with respect to the terms of conditions that both the employee and the employer have agreed to at the time of joining.

An offer letter is both a policy document and a legal contract. In the earliest stages of a startup company, before it has established HR policies and procedures and employee handbooks, the offer letter is often the only formal documentation establishing the duties and responsibilities of an employee.

When an employee signs an offer letter and returns it to you, he has accepted the terms of the job. Legally, you are bound to shoulder the compensation promised and the employee is bound to show up for work. Beyond daily duties, offer letters often contain additional provisions that protect the company from employees divulging trade secrets and other confidential information, as well as other harmful activities such as poaching and solicitation of clients.

My clear, comprehensive and full-featured 4-page offer letter template is for use with new hires. This template is fully annotated with my commentary and based on the offer letter wording that I have used many dozens of times over the last 5 years. In addition to the standard terms of employment that you would expect to find, I have included valuable, optional boilerplate paragraphs to cover:
  • Relocation expenses
  • Signing bonus
  • Equity grants
  • Phone/Travel expenses
  • Confidentiality and Invention Assignment
  • "Side Project" Exceptions
  • Non-compete Clause
Bundle includes Pages, MS Word and PDF formats.

Click here to purchase the offer letter bundle.

Steep Fees to Penalize Late Payment

If you have trouble getting your clients to pay on time, one recommended approach is to put serious penalties for late payment into your contract. For instance, this fellow named Samuel charges an eye-popping ten percent per week!

10% per week, every week, starting from the first day that the invoice is overdue. 
Check out the full blog post at http://blog.samuellevy.com/index.php?p=post&id=21

Late fees are critical. In some businesses the accounting department will manage debt by paying off vendors in the order of who charges the most interest. If you don't have a late fee, you get shuffled to the bottom of the pile and stay there. Accountants are generally hardwired to avoid penalties, so if they see there are penalties they'll pay before the penalty period (provided they have the money).

If your late fee is very high, such as the example cited, then they will simply pay the invoice and "forget" the late fee. Then you're left squabbling over the late fee, which is quite annoying. 

The author of the linked blog post lives in Australia, where laws on such matters are different than the USA. You should consult your own lawyer before implementing your late fee scheme, just to make sure you don't run afoul of local regulations. In general, anything that the client agrees to and signs in the contract should be fine, but better safe than sorry.

Why don't my templates have signature pages?

The main reason is that I've been using electronic signature service RightSignature.com almost exclusively for several years now. The benefits of electronic signatures are myriad. It's faster and easier to track and archive your executed documents. You can easily have more than 2 or 3 signers and you can tell the service to CC your lawyer and other interested parties automatically.

Retained Services Agreement Now Available

My RSA is now available. It includes key features such as minimum commitments.

RSA Coming Soon

Getting ready to start 2012 with a new product offering to complement my traditional MSA+SOW bundle. When you're working as an independent consultant or small agency on retainer, it's advantageous to use a Retained Services Agrement (RSA) contract instead of an MSA.