Types Of Contracts You Should Never Sign

When it comes to business, there are several types of contracts that you should approach with caution or potentially avoid signing. The specifics can depend on the industry, the size of your business, and your specific circumstances. There are certain contracts that it would be advisable not to sign, no matter what the business.

Different Types Of Agreements To Avoid In Business

  1. One-sided Agreements: Any contract that places all obligations, risks, and penalties on one party while the other party has no obligations or penalties should be examined very closely. Ensure that the responsibilities and benefits are balanced between all parties involved.
  2. Perpetual Contracts Or Contracts With Unclear Termination Clauses: Be wary of contracts that do not have a set end date or automatically renew without an easy option for termination. These can lock you into unfavorable terms indefinitely. If the contract does have a termination clause, make sure that it includes clear terms for termination by either party. Understanding how and when you can exit the agreement is crucial.
  3.  Unlimited Liability Clauses: Contracts that hold one party liable for total damages or losses should be avoided. Look for limitations of liability that are fair and match the nature of the services or goods provided.
  4. Non-compete Clauses: These can restrict your ability to work in your industry or start a new business within a specified geographical area and time period after leaving a job or selling a business. Pennsylvania, like many states, enforces non-compete agreements, but they must be reasonable in scope and duration.
  5. Vague or Incomplete Agreements: Contracts should clearly outline the services or products to be delivered, the compensation, the time frame, and the responsibilities of each party. Avoid contracts with vague terms or many blank spaces that could be filled in later.
  6. Contracts Requiring Personal Guarantees: If you are a business owner, signing a personal guarantee ties your personal assets to the business’s debts or liabilities, which can be dangerous, especially for startups or small businesses.

State-Specific Laws and Regulations In Pennsylvania

If you are doing business specifically in Pennsylvania, there are some considerations to keep in mind.  It is essential to be aware of or hire an attorney who is familiar with Pennsylvania’s own set of business regulations, taxes, and compliance requirements. For example, make sure that you are up to date on the state’s laws regarding business operations, such as sales tax, income tax, and employment laws. Besides state laws, local ordinances in the city or county where your business operates can also affect your business. Check for any local regulations that might apply to your business.

Before signing a lease or purchasing property for your business, ensure that the zoning laws in the area permit your type of business. Depending on the nature of your business, you may need specific licenses or permits to operate legally in Pennsylvania. Lastly, be sure to understand Pennsylvania’s employment laws, including those related to minimum wage, overtime, discrimination, and workplace safety.


It is advisable to seek legal advice before signing a business contract, especially if it involves significant risks or commitments. The law firm of Jones Gregg Creehan & Gerace can help you understand the implications of a contract and negotiate the most favorable terms that will protect your business’s interests. Contact our office for an initial consultation.