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Legal Issues of Running a Business

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 21 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Running A Business Legal Collectibles

Starting up your own collectibles or memorabilia business can be fraught with legal issues that many small business owners aren’t even aware of when they initially start out. One of the most important aspects of getting your business set up is that from the offset you are legally covered for all eventualities. Running a business can at times be financially and emotionally draining, so making sure your legal rights are in place and that you’re aware of them can remove some of the stress of starting out.

Health and Safety Compliance

One of the most crucial areas of a business that retailers must consider is that they are abiding by local health and safety laws. The Health & Safety act is in place not only to protect your customers, but also to safeguard you against any lawsuits or court actions against you. The UK Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the governing act for business owners in the UK and if you employ five or more staff members, you must have a written health and safety policy in place. Always ensure that you’ve trained your staff in health and safety duties and if possible display the health and safety law poster in the workplace. Many small businesses will ensure they have someone to advise them on how they can successfully meet their health and safety requirements in their business. You can seek advice from an external consultant if you wish, or simply use someone within your business who has this expertise already.

Different Types of Insurance When Running a Business

There is simply no way to avoid insurance when you’re looking to set up a small collectibles business. There are often optional insurances available, such as contents insurance and when you have stock that is valuable, as memorabilia often is, it’s advisable to take out contents insurance where possible. You will also need to take out certain types of insurance by law, in particular, Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance. This is the certificate you’ll often see displayed in businesses and it’s one of the most crucial legal areas that needs to be covered when you have your own business.

Employers’ Liability Insurance will protect your business against claims from any employees such as sickness of accident claims that they state have arisen from the workplace. You may also want to consider Public Liability Insurance as this will protect you against claims from the public. If you have people on your premises, you need to insure that if anything happens to them there, they aren’t able to sue you or claim against you. Public Liability Insurance will protect you in these cases and is well worth considering.

Choosing the Right Premises

If you’re going to have your collectibles and memorabilia business in a shop, it’s important to have the legal aspects of renting or owning in place before you get started. You will need to check with your local council or authority that the premises is legally able to be used for that type of business. Many councils limit the number of similarly themed businesses in their areas to try to promote growth, so check with them first. You’ll also need to comply with fire and building regulations as well as ensuring you’re entering into a lease agreement that you fully understand. Always check the small print for commercial leases and be aware of the rates you’ll be paying each month. Premises now are required by law to be accessible to disabled people, so seek advice from a specialist about how you can abide by these laws and make your business truly open to all.

Customer Rights and Changing Laws

Always make sure that your customers are fully aware of your terms and conditions and know them inside out yourself. Collectibles and memorabilia can be a tricky business at times. You need to verify authenticity of your products and in doing so, you are then passing on to your customer your seal of approval that your goods meet their expectation. Making sure that your customers know their rights of return or exchange can leave you on the right side of the law when it comes to any complaints. To keep your business running well and hopefully avoiding any legal issues, you should always keep up to date with the changes in the law also. Know your employment law and make sure that your insurance policies cover any law changes that take place.

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