The next part of our series on Due Diligence will discuss Employee Due Diligence.
Now if the business you are looking to buy does not have any employees then this may be a simple process, but it may not be as simple as you would think. For example, the business that you are looking to buy may not have any employees per se, but they may instead utilize independent contractors, which may in fact be more properly classified as employees. This could bring up some significant liability and operational concerns going forward, so you will want to have these relationships carefully scrutinized by yourself and a knowledgeable attorney. This way you will know what you are getting into with this business purchase.
Some of the documents you should be looking for are:
- Employment contracts
- Independent contractor agreements
- Non-Disclosure, Confidentiality, Intellectual Property and Non-Compete agreements
- Any employment or Human Resources policies or handbooks
- Documents showing any employee benefit plans such as (health insurance, retirement, bonuses, etc.)
All of these documents can bring up a variety of issues. You need to think about whether or not you want to continue using the same contractors and employees going forward. It may be a good idea for business continuity and transition, but it may also be a good time to make a change as well, especially if you have significant changes in mind or want to bring in key new staff of your own. The enforceability and terms of these agreements can have a substantial impact on the value and continuation of the business, and you need to be sure that you are getting a fair deal with the purchase.
Beyond the documents themselves, it may be a good idea to gauge employee feelings regarding an acquisition and possible change in management. If employees are not happy about such a large change, it could be a disaster in the making to take buy the business. Think carefully and don’t let the excitement of being an entrepreneur cloud your judgment. Trust experienced professional advisors to help you with deals of this significance.
If you need assistance with legal help and/or document drafting for your business sale, please contact the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.