Hiring Professionals to Help My Business

One common issue that repeats itself in consultations at our law firm is that of the unlicensed professional.  More times than we are comfortable with, we will meet a potential client for an initial consultation, and we will hear the story of how they met and hired a professional for a large job and gave them a large sum of money, only to have the job remain, for the most part, incomplete.  After only a few minutes of research, we often times find that the professional had no license, or that the license has been suspended or taken away.  It always surprises us that successful, intelligent business owners would even consider giving any sum of money to a professional without first doing a thorough investigation of their business, but it seems as if their first instinct is to trust, which can unfortunately have very expensive consequences.  Before hiring any professional, ask yourself these 5 important questions:

  1. Is their business registered with the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations?  You can search any professional by name, or by business name to see when they registered their business.  You can also see what date they filed their annual reports, and if they are current with those filings.  It is important to know if a professional has been in business for many years, or if they just opened up 6 months ago.
  2. Are there any outstanding lawsuits or judgements against this person or business? You can check your local county records online (most courts have basic online records searches available), or go to your local courthouse to make this search.  Larger, older businesses might have a few lawsuits in their long history, but they should be settled or dismissed. Be wary of working with any professional who has judgements against them.  A judgement means that the court has found that this professional or their business owes another person money, and if they were to owe you money, you would have to wait until this judgment was satisfied before you would find any relief.  It also means that this professional didn’t make things right for his client.  That is not a good indicator that you will be a satisfied customer if you choose this professional.
  3. Is the service that you are hiring this professional for regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation? If so, then you can go to the Florida DBPR and verify the professional’s license.  You can also see if they are in good standing with the department.  There is a wealth of information online at myfloridalicense.com about which industries require licenses.
  4. Are they representing themselves as a member of a professional organization or association? Trade contractors, Doctors, Attorneys and other professionals usually belong to other associations that involve annual fees and other educational requirements be up to date.  A phone call or internet search of that organization will usually yield the ability to verify whether the professional has kept his or her membership and for how long it has been held and if there have been any disciplinary actions.
  5. Consider consulting legal counsel. As with any large decisions in your business or personal life, always consider consulting legal counsel.  Your attorney will know, based on which industry the professional is in, what kind of laws or regulations govern that professionals actions.  A competent attorney can also read over any contracts or proposals you have been given and help you determine the appropriate course of action based on your best interests and those of your business.

 

At Blount Law, we often see clients in our office when there is a crisis.  Unfortunately, as litigation attorneys, we are great at getting our clients out of those crisis situations that tend to arise in business.  But what many people fail to realize is that a great relationship with an attorney can help business owners avoid crisis, limit risk and increase profit.  Your attorney can be like a valuable partner in your business, saving you money and helping to relieve you from legal concerns that take you away from doing what you do best.  If you have questions about your business, call us at Blount Law today!  We’re here to help!

Share this on...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someone

Written by blountlaw