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Key Legal Tips for Photographers

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Trellis believes in meeting your business where it is at and that includes providing free legal resources like checklists, guides, and more to help you better understand your business's legal needs and determine next steps. Check them out below.

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Explore Legal & Business
Resources Below.

Below are free resources available to help you and your business. Toggle between the categories and explore. Each resource is available as a downloadable document and includes key legal tips and considerations along with links to our related blogs and templates to help you get started.  Also sign up for our free resource newsletter (at bottom of page) to get them directly to your inbox every time a new one is released. 

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Employees & Independent Contractors

What Should be Included in an Employee Offer Letter?

The offer letter outlines the basic terms of employment without the implication of creating a binding contractual agreement for your new hire that can make it harder to terminate an employee down the road. Most offer letters should include a few key details, some of which are outlined in this resource.

General Business

So You Want To Be a Grant Writer...

A “grant” is a term for money received by an organization for a specific purpose. Grants can be awarded by foundations, charities, some charitable sectors of corporations, and various levels of government and agencies. To be awarded them, organizations have to go through a grant application process, and this is where professional grant writers can come in. Grant writers can be individuals or organizations, and they have a strategic and legal understanding of the necessary components to draft, submit, and ultimately receive successful grant applications. This resource is specific to Pennsylvania individual grant writers (which can be entities or individuals).

Agriculture & Farm Business

Farmer Off-Season Legal To Dos

As the days grow shorter and less productive outside, the winter months are a perfect time to put the
kettle on, gather around the kitchen table,… and get your farm business in order! While winter can be a
much-deserved respite, we encourage you to also work through this farmer’s off-season list of things to
get ready so you can have the administrative and legal stuff buttoned up before the sun comes out again.

LLCs & Other Entities

Forming a PA LLC

Forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your business can be a great option to protect your personal assets, have a structure for growth for your business, and have formal documentation if you want to apply for grants, loans, and other programs. PA LLCs do not have annual filing requirements and have multiple options for how to be taxed, which can allow the owner to choose the best option for them. If you have multiple owners, it is a great way to keep the business separate from each individual owner and provide a clear outline as to how the owners will make decisions and more.

Property and Leases

Key Terms in Commercial Leases

Finding the right location can be essential for any brick-and-mortar business, but a bad commercial lease can end up being costly, frustrating, and can harm the future of the business. Also, commercial leases don’t have a lot of the same protections as residential leases and so what’s in your lease is often what goes. Understanding your lease, negotiating key terms, and spending the time thoroughly examining and discussing the aspects of your space can help avoid these pitfalls and give your business a place to grow.

LLCs & Other Entities

Adding an LLC Member

As your business grows and develops, you may have considered adding new members (owners) to your limited liability company (LLC). This can be an exciting next step but has some important legal implications. The purpose of this resource is to provide you with some considerations that may arise as you add a new member to your LLC and key legal steps.

Pennsylvania Law

Having a Legally Legit
Home Improvement Contract

Pennsylvania passed the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) to protect people who pay others to do work on their homes, but these rules also help contractors and other home improvement workers (which includes more types of work than you think!), who want to be able to have a clear understanding around the work their doing, how and how much they’ll be paid for it, and what is expected between the homeowner and the contractor. This resource breaks down the key requirements needed for an enforceable home improvement contract.

Agriculture & Farm Business

CSA Terms & Conditions

One of the most important legal protections you can build for your CSA is its terms and conditions. You can use these terms as a printed contract or on your website when folks sign up for your farm’s CSA. In this resource, we outline four key provisions to have in your CSA terms and a link to our CSA terms template we have available!

General Business

Business Advertising 101

This resource covers important legal considerations when it comes to advertising your business, organization, fundraiser, or anything where you’re asking people to buy into the goods, services, and opportunities you offer. It's important to consider things like copyright, truth of advertising, and more!

Pennsylvania Law

PA Tip Wage Laws

New rules from Pennsylvania regarding tipped employees

went into effect on August 5, 2022 incorporating federal changes from 2021. It’s important that employers

who pay their workers via tips understand the changes that may affect them. This resource breaks down the key changes and considerations for employers with tipped employees.

Intellectual Property

Art Licensing Resource

If you create original art, like graphics, logos, animation, or photography, how can you sell your creations without actually giving away all your ownership of the art? Licensing provides a mechanism to allow for another’s use (and for you to be paid for it) without having to completely sell off your rights to it. A licensing agreement is an important contract to have between the artist and company utilizing the artist’s work in order to keep a record of the terms agreed upon between the two. This resource breaks down key considerations related to art licensing.

Online Sales & Digital Guidance

Legal Considerations for Social Media

For many small businesses, social media has become a near necessity. In a space that allows you to share so much – your story, your art, your products, your services – it’s important to understand the legal considerations around sharing, engaging, and posting to ensure your rights and the rights of others are protected.This resource includes a non-exhaustive to-do list of legal concepts, policies, and considerations.

Buying & Selling Businesses

Buttoning Up Your Business For Sale

Whether you plan to sell your business in the approaching future, or you want to be ready to accept that perfect offer, this resource features a checklist of items you can do right now to make sure your business is buttoned up for sale.What’s the point of buttoning up now? Well, even if you don’t ever intend to sell, it’s never a bad idea to get your house in order. This resource lays out some key ways to do so!

General Business

This vs That Legal Terms Explained

Legal jargon can be complicated. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between one thing and another. This trellis resource dives into the differences between a few commonly confusing legal terms in all different areas of the law.

Contracts

Wholesale/Recurring Order Terms

Unlike direct to customer sales where the biggest issues are shipping, returns, and defects, there are additional considerations that come with wholesale/recurring orders that can be crucial to establish in order to help your business be successful, protect you from costs and risks, and build positive relationships with customers. We break a few of them down here.

Contracts

Protections for No Contract

We know businesses don’t always use a detailed written contract. It’s ok. We get it. But there are still preventative steps you can take to ensure a smoother transaction and give you peace of mind. This resource outlines those steps to help your business.

Agriculture & Farm Business

Legal Worksheet for Farmers

This checklist includes our legal health checklist but customized for farmers and includes additional worksheet activities and next steps!

Intellectual Property

Social Media Tips and Protections

Many small business owners are running their own social media accounts on top of their other responsibilities. You’re not alone! We’ve put together some tips and tricks to help make social media feel more manageable and how to keep your intellectual property protected online.

Employees & Independent Contractors

Employee Handbook Refresh

It’s always a good idea to have an employee handbook – whether you have one or one hundred employees – because the employee handbook can communicate to your team what is expected of them (proactively) and clearly outline specific policies and procedures for addressing concerns and resolving issues. Here a few questions to ask yourself if you’re working to update your current employee handbook!

General Business

Checking In On Your Business

From business structure to contracts and industry-specific rules and regulations, we know sometimes being a small business owner can be a little overwhelming, and you don’t even know where to begin. Whether it’s the end of the year and you’re organizing everything together, or it’s the beginning of a new chapter for your business, this resource has a few quick tangible, actionable steps you can take right now, this very minute, for your business. Once you’ve done these, you can better understand your business goals, and be prepared for requests, filing requirements, and growth.

General Business

Working with an Attorney

A lot of people know legal help and documentation are important, and there are a lot of internet resources out there, but what if you’re looking for specific advice or want an attorney to help you navigate everything? This resource is here to clear the air, provide some tips and options, and help you determine the right next steps for your biz.

Online Sales & Digital Guidance

Understanding Privacy Policies

Privacy policies and cookie labels have become commonplace but it’s important for businesses to know if they need one, what it should include, and what laws they may need to consider. So, whether you’re a business with an intake form or sell products online it’s important to know the basic legal considerations for privacy policies. Luckily, we’re here to break them down for you!

Non-Profits

Operating a Strong Non Profit

Forming a nonprofit and applying for tax-exempt status can be a long process, full of anticipation. Receiving 501(c)(3) status for your nonprofit can be an exciting time, but with it comes a few things to think about and important next steps. This guide outlines a few things you should consider and refer back to as you operate a non-profit whether you just got your 501(c)(3) status or have been operating for several years.

Pennsylvania Law

Allegheny County Paid Sick
Leave Act

Allegheny County’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (Ordinance No. 15-21) is now in effect. It requires certain employers to provide paid time off to their employees when they are sick or need to take care of family members who are sick. The following is a general overview of the Ordinance and who it applies to. For more information, check out the county's website or its frequently asked questions page.

General Business

Resources For Small Businesses

From accounting to zoning, there are so many resources out there – people, software, organizations, and more – created just for helping small businesses get started and succeed. We’ve put together a list of potential resources created to help you begin, run, advertise, and grow your business, and thrive.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Toolbox

Intellectual property (IP) protects things we create. It’s an area of property law because there are ownership rights associated with all of them. Someone taking them – especially when they do it to make money – is a kind of theft. Whether you make art, build things, or run a consulting business, chances are you have some level of IP worth protecting. This resource outlines various tools you can employ to protect – and potentially enforce – your own intellectual property.

Buying & Selling Businesses

Buying a Business

No matter if you’re purchasing a thriving shop with a valuable list of clients or a hometown favorite that’s about to close its doors, businesses aren’t something you can just buy off the rack and pay for at the register. The process takes time and diligence. From your first offer through the closing of the sale, you’ll see many legal documents and sign many contracts along the way. This is also an area it’s really important to make sure you work with an attorney!

Agriculture & Farm Business

Farm Lease Dos and Don'ts

Leases for land are an excellent way for property owners and farmers alike to make use of great space. Most who work in farming are familiar with the leasing of land, and there are many types of land leases, but this resource identifies a few of the general considerations to include in them, including some things to think about before signing anything. It’s organized into do’s and don’ts for your farm lease, so know what to look out for and you can hit the ground running.

Intellectual Property

Understanding Different Types of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (or IP) refers to the property rights associated with creations – whether that’s art, graphics, inventions, and other intangibles. This resource breaks down the various types of IP to help you recognize the differences between them and better understand what types may be at play in different scenarios. This resource is a 10,000-foot view of a pretty complicated area of the law, so be sure to consult with an attorney if you have IP questions.

Property and Leases

Navigating Landlord-Tenant Relationships

In one way or another, you’ve come into contact with a rental space. Every now and again, there’s going to be a bump in the road or an issue that arises. With this in mind, there are certainly ways where you can help the relationship stay on track and be fruitful. It pays to be aware and communicative to make a relationship smoother. This resource has a few tips and tricks to remember, prepare for, and understand for landlords and tenants alike.

LLCs & Other Entities

Dissolving an LLC

When starting a business, you don’t think about the day you might need to close it, but unfortunately sometimes that day comes. So this resource is about the common steps needed to close a Limited Liability Company (a common form of business) in Pennsylvania.

General Business

End of Year Planning

Taking some time at the end of the year to review where your business is at, determine next steps, and make a to-do list can help your business grow and succeed (or get off the ground if you’re planning a new business!). To help you out we’ve outlined a few key considerations for end of year planning.

Contracts

Client Contracts 101

A client contract is a strong step toward a productive client relationship. A detailed client contract ensures you and a client are on the same page for the services, payment terms, ownership and termination. This resource is designed to give you tips and tricks for key components to a successful client contract!

General Business

Legal Health Checklist

The health of your business is just like your own health. So sometimes it’s good to do a check up and make sure everything is in good shape and work on the things that may not be. This checklist is designed to help you do just that!

Intellectual Property

6 Ways a Small Business Can Protect its Works under Copyright Law

Even if you don’t think your small business has anything to register as a copyright, you likely do.
Examples that we often see among clients are: podcast episodes, online resources or other
downloadable resources, a unique process (put it on paper!), your business’s logo, photographs
that are so unique that others will likely try to imitate it- the list goes on! To protect your small business’s copyrights, here are 6 proactive steps you can take.

General Business

Corporate Transparency Act - FAQs

New federal reporting requirements for many businesses went into effect on January 1, 2024, requiring disclosures of information related to owners, locations, and other company details. As expected, a complicated new law with obligations for small businesses is going to lead to some necessary questions. This list of FAQs can hopefully clear some confusion up.

LLCs & Other Entities

Planning for Partnership

Starting a business is an exciting time. You have a product or service, a plan to get customers, and maybe you have some co-founders. But before you form an entity or officially open for business, it is important to plan appropriately if you have more than one owner. We always say it is better to hash things out before money is involved. So, this resource is all about planning for your business partnership and the important questions to tackle ahead of opening.

Employees & Independent Contractors

Hiring Independent Contractors

Independent contractors can be a great way to provide valuable services for your business, but it is important to ensure the contractor is properly classified, your contract addresses important provisions, and you obtain the proper tax information. We break these considerations down in this resource.

Contracts

Steps After a Contract is Signed

The client contract solidifies the foundation in developing a productive client relationship by identifying the exchange of expectation between parties concerning scope of services to be provided and the terms in which to perform the scope of services. But after the contract is signed, it’s important to just file and forget it. So, this resource is about unpacking some basic next steps to consider after signing a client contract beyond the scope of services to be performed.

LLCs & Other Entities

Operating Your LLC Correctly to Protect Liability

You may have heard the phrase “piercing the corporate veil.” This expression refers to when someone is able to show that you haven’t operated your business as something separate from yourself and because of that they can come after your personal assets in addition to suing your business. Keeping your business operations, assets, and liabilities separate from yourself can help protect you personally from your role as a member of an LLC. This resource breaks down how to do just that!

General Business

Plain & Simple Legal Dictionary

We get questions all the time about what specific provisions mean in contracts or other legal language a person is hearing that they just don’t understand. All those weird words in contracts and business law do not have to be so complicated. Plain and simple is our little legalese dictionary where we break down complex legal terms into an understandable, digestible way.



Unlike other resources, this is a living document so come back often and see new terms added.

Agriculture & Farm Business

Legal Tips for a Farmer's Market Stand

If you have or are thinking of setting up a stand at a farmer's market it’s important to make sure you’re protecting your business, your products, and your people from potential liability and penalties for not operating legally. This resource breaks down some of the key legal considerations for your farmer's market stand so you can focus on your business and not liability!

Employees & Independent Contractors

Intro Guide to On-Boarding Employees

You’ve made it to a point in your business that you’re ready to hire some help. This can be simultaneously exciting and a bit nerve-wracking! This checklist contains a few things you’ll want to understand before casting that hiring net. Each of these considerations is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hiring staff and only meant to provide some key points.

Property and Leases

Opening a Brick & Mortar

From art galleries to spin studios, opening a brick-and-mortar location is an exciting step in every entrepreneur’s journey. But there is a lot of work before you flip that door sign to OPEN. This resource covers a few legal considerations to ensure everything is running rosy come grand opening.

Contracts

Key Contracts for Your Biz

​You’ve probably heard the expression “get it in writing” when it comes to agreements. And of course, we fully support that, but there are also so many kinds of contracts to get in writing. And for good reason as there are so many different kinds of relationships! This resource lists a few types of contracts in no particular order (okay, actually they’re in alphabetical order because we’re type A lawyers), and links to provide you with resources related to each.

Contracts

Understanding Waivers and Releases

If you’ve ever participated in an event, sport, activity, or even signed a contract you have probably seen language around liability waivers and/or a release. Waivers and releases are a common part of everyday business transactions. They can be helpful in helping customers make informed decisions, make
it clear who owns certain rights, and they can protect businesses and people from certain types of actions surrounding their line of work. This resource explains a few important details around, differences between, and offers some examples.

Industry Specific

Key Legal Tips for Photographers

Photographers have a special kind of talent to capture the world’s infinite beauty and some of our best moments in it! This resource has a few tips and tools to implement so you can better build your business as one that protects itself, its owner (you!), its subjects, and its clients.

Contracts

Covid-19 Waiver

COVID19 is now a known risk and as people want to engage in in-person activities, it is important they acknowledge that despite your business taking reasonable precautions, the risk is always there so long as COVID19 is active. Therefore, this waiver can be helpful for business providing these in-person activities such as catering, volunteer activities, group events, etc.

Contracts

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)

Businesses and individuals must do all they can to protect their confidential information/work. Here’s where the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) comes in! This resource breaks down what an NDA is, what it can protect, and how to use one.

Online Sales & Digital Guidance

What's Up With Web Sales?

More and more businesses are moving to online sales, or growing their online opportunities to reach more customers, to adapt their business, and to promote their brand. However, there are legal considerations for selling online. This resource outlines important tips for the protection of your online business!

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