How to guarantee a percentage owed to referring business without given up partial ownership?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to guarantee a percentage owed to referring business without given up partial ownership?

I own an aquarium maintenance company. I am trying to contract with a local fish store to refer clients to us and in return we would give them 15% of what the client pays us. The owner is asking for partial ownership of my company in order to have legal access to our books to make sure that they are getting paid what they are owed. I want to avoid that at all cost. How do I guarantee them 15% they are owed, without given up partial ownership of my company to them?

Asked on October 12, 2018 under Business Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) You have a written referral agreement for the payment: if you violate it, they can sue you. The agreement can include that in the event they have to sue to enforce it, you will pay their legal fees, as a disincentive to you to try to cheat.
2) The contract can provide for access to your records or books (at least the relevant ones for this purpose), so they can verify, on proper notice (e.g. 10 days notice to review the records) what they should be getting.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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