Portland Business Law Blog

Handling Outside Sales Commissions and Termination of Employment

Companies often use outside sales representatives to sell their products or services. These sales representatives can be employees or independent contractors. They are paid on commission, which rewards them financially based on what they sell. Working on commission can be a great way to set one's own schedule while having financial reward tied to performance. Using outside sales representatives is a great model for businesses as well - a business can reach many clients face-to-face and create a more personalized relationship with the business's customer base.

Problems can arise when a company and a sales representative part ways. Many employers know they must pay employees earned wages upon termination, but commissions for an outside sales representative present a more complicated question. How does a business handle commissions earned partially before termination and partially after termination? Should the business pay the representative the part of the commission earned prior to termination, and keep the rest? Failure to pay a sales representative his or her commission earned under a sales contract exposes businesses to significant liability.

Is it time to sell my business?

Starting and growing a business is like having that extra child-it's a lot of work and you pour yourself into it; if you're lucky you create something that can thrive on its own without you. Just like letting go of the reins with your kids, opportunities present themselves to do that with your business.

Entrepreneurs sell their businesses for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes getting to that next level requires working capital you just can't obtain on your own. Economic fluctuations can also drive your decision to sell your business. For example, you may have cornered the market with a particular product or service such that it makes sense to sell it with that dominant market position. Or you may learn about a competitor with a new technology who may erode your business's market share. Maybe you just want to spend more time with family or pursuing other hobbies. Whatever the reason, when deciding to sell your business, there are a lot of strategic considerations to make sure you recover the value you have built. There are significant risks when selling and numerous options. Here are some things to consider when you're thinking about selling your business:

Timber trespass: potential liability for 3x damages

Individuals and businesses can find themselves involved in a timber trespass claim in Oregon or Washington. Timber trespass arises when someone cuts trees or shrubs belonging to someone else. Sometimes timber trespass results from actual theft of commercial timber or the intentional killing of trees standing in the way of a neighbor’s scenic view, but, more often, it is the result of a dispute over who owns the property on which the timber sits. Regardless, few people realize how the risks presented by a timber trespass claim.

Disputes involving timber trespass can arise among neighbors, developers, contractors, landscapers, logging companies – really anyone who clears trees or shrubs could be running a risk of facing serious penalties. Business owners of all kinds in Oregon and Washington need to be aware of the laws regarding timber trespass. Mistakes in this regard can be extremely costly.

What Makes a Contract Binding?

Contracts are behind most business and commercial relationships. Without contracts, entering into any business relationship would be risky. A contract lays out the rights and responsibilities of each party involved and offers legal protection as well.

Contracts take many forms. They can be customized or boilerplate. They are usually in writing, but oral contracts may be enforceable as well. Contracts reflect the unique circumstances of the parties entering into a business relationship together.

Disclosures in real estate transactions: What you need to know.

Individuals who are selling a home often have questions about disclosure requirements. What information is a seller required to disclose when putting a house up for sale?

Different states have different disclosure requirements. In fact, many cities and counties have specific disclosure requirements. Before selling a home, it is important to research the requirements in your area.

Partnership Breakups: What To Keep In Mind As You Go Through One

Have you made the decision to end a business partnership? Your goal may be to get through the process as painlessly as possible.

However, the financial stakes can be very high. And the process can be difficult when partners have worked hard to grow a business together.

What to do when your business partner starts a competing business

A healthy business partnership is built on trust. A business can flourish when business partners trust and act in good faith toward each other.

A competitive spirit is generally a good quality in a business partner. But what happens when one partner takes that competition too far? What options are available when a business partner leaves to create a competing business?

Purchasing a Franchise: Legal Considerations

Purchasing a franchise can be very exciting. A franchise offers business owners a limited degree of independence and often a whole lot of support. For many, this is an alluring business model. For others, not so much.

Individuals looking to purchase a franchise should carefully consider the pros and cons of owning and operating a franchise. They should also thoroughly research each particular franchise to ensure that the programs and support are strong, and that the franchise has a good track record. (This franchisor checklist is a good place to start.)

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