I have started an online take away food ordering website and I am looking to write a contract between me and the restaurants that allow orders on my site.
I don't know how much legal stuff I need to put in or the best way to structure it.
The main points I need to get across is the percentage of payment I get when an order is made, how often payment is made to the restaurant and methods. As well as to include a section so that the restaurant needs to notify me of any changes to menu or contact details.
There are a few more niggly bits in but I was wondering if there are things that I definitely must include for this type of business. Please note I have no funding at all and cannot afford a lawyer at this time.
Any advice or template would be great thanks.
no funding at all and cannot afford a lawyer at this time.At the risk of being greatly annoying: Change that, now. Running a business is not risk-free. It is possible to generate legal liabilities for yourself, meaning it is possible to get yourself into great debt, destroy your credit rating, loose any property you own, etc.
Since you are trying to avoid using a lawyer for this contract, I'm guessing that maybe you haven't set up a proper company structure. A proper business structure, where the legal risks and tax issues are placed in an appropriate company type (LLC, S-Corp, C-corp, etc) is not optional, it is a requirement for protecting yourself and your loved ones. About the contract: To not use a lawyer for a business-2-business contract often ends up being fools gold, i.e. the potential losses can get much larger than the cost of the lawyer. This is true even if you're well sheltered by a company -- a badly written contract can get your company into unnecessary trouble. Again my advice is don't do this; maybe do some of the initial grunt work yourself (if possible), but have a good lawyer review the contract with a special eye towards completeness, i.e. "have you thought of everything".
It is hard work to find a cost-effective yet skilled small business lawyer, identifying what absolutely must be done and what can be postponed, and getting the most of the business relation. But you need to do these things, your you place yourself and/or your company at risk.
Big +1 to Jarie's suggestion to hook up with a entrepreneur / mentor community such as SCORE. If the chemistry is right these can sometimes offer an incredible amount of help for free.
Additionally, maybe you should consider taking consulting work on the side, or seeking outside investments, to improve your cashflow and get money for the necessities.
And you should always state which jurisdiction or jurisdictions you are interested in. Law is different in different places and therefore the wording of contracts has to vary too. In your case its probably your country or state (in the US) that's relevant, though if you are dealing across jurisdictional boundaries (in the US that's easily possible, say between NJ and NY) you probably need to make that clear too.
I'm a lawyer and I signed up to some of the e-lance type sites and gave them up after a while as being a useless waste of time because hardly anyone ever said where they were based. I'm a London based lawyer practising in England, so I'd only want work I'm qualified to do, but it was too much work extracting that information. So its important to headline that.