I sat through a legal presentation at the Martial Arts Super Show last week; and while we may all have a perception of the USA being, perhaps, the most litigious of all countries it struck me that the lawyer making the presentation was so right when he talked of protecting the martial arts business you have worked so hard to develop.
Two of the many things he discussed present reminders for all UK school owners:
1) Read all documents
This is particularly true when it comes to a lease. We, here at NEST, see many leases but so often when a dispute has arisen and it’s too late. Core issues of the inclusion of VAT on the rent (not applicable to all properties). Restrictions on parking, restriction on notices (including marketing in windows and outside) and access, as well as a complete mis-understanding of the tenant’s obligations for dilapidations. These are just a few of the issues that sometimes “sail past” without notice.
You should employ the services of a solicitor when entering into a lease and while he/she will advise you on the legal consequences and your obligations contained within the document, don’t just rely on this – always read the document carefully yourself so that you can have an informed discussion with your lawyer. Do not be passive in this process – your attention to detail could pay real dividends.
2) Document key activities and events
Know who was teaching every class and which students were there; also make notes of any issues that may arise with students or parents. If any complaints then arise about a past class your documented evidence of attendance and issue log could be vital for your insurance company or solicitor. Equally, lesson plans, safety protocols, risk analysis and child safety policies are examples of documentation you should have. But also remember that while policy documentation can provide vital evidence in any incident case, you need to ensure you do follow your own rules.