There used to be a time when a hand shake sealed the deal; no more. In today’s economy, you need to put everything in writing. This protects not only you, but the other parties involved.

1. Create employment agreements. You want to clearly define the role any new employee will fill. You don’t want them guessing; they cannot be held accountable if they don’t know what is expected of them. What are their hours and days they will work? The agreement should address salary, potential bonuses or stock options.

2. Anytime you are working with a building/service contractor, you need to make sure you are getting what you are paying for and that is performed to your satisfaction. Clearly spell out all work; no detail is too small. For example, what is the thickness of the insulation I am getting? How often will the corners be vacuumed out? With any service contract, always include a start and finish date, the date on which the contract will renew and the way in which either party may terminate or change the relationship.

3. When dealing with a sales contract ensure that you are protected. What if the product arrives damaged? Can it be returned and if so who is responsible for the cost? Include a guaranteed date of delivery.

You want to assure both parties are satisfied. Clearly define your expectation and theirs. Once signed, you have only three business days to back out of any deal. If at any point, you have doubts or concerns, renegotiate your contract or cancel it all together. By getting all agreements in writing you can prevent a lot of unnecessary problems, and unnecessary costly legal actions.

Angella Luyk has been an RWN member for 10 years. She can be reached at This column is written by members of the Rochester Women’s Network (

Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on May 25th, 2015.