Should You Sign Contracts With Business Name or Real Name?

1 min read

It’s simple: if you own a company, then you have to make sure that it’s your company, not you personally, is “signing” the contract. Otherwise, you can be personally liable with your own assets.

This rule applies even if your company is hired to perform personal services and you are the one performing them. For example, you are a programmer, a sole owner of an LLC. Somebody hired you to do some programming. The contract can say “LLC’s Owner will perform services under this Agreement.” However, it must still be clear that:

1) the LLC is the contracting party, not the owner. The LLC is responsible to dispatch its owner to do the actual services. Throughout the contract, avoid using your personal name, and
2)  the signature block shows that the LLC is a party to this contract, not the owner personally.

Always make sure that your authorization to sign as the owner, officer, director, agent or other capacity is clearly indicated adjacent to your name. E.g.,  “John Parker, President.”

The only time you should sign contract in your name is if you don’t have a company. In other words, you are a sole proprietor or a partner in a partnership.  That’s the case even if you registered a fictitious name (or a “doing business as” name) with the Secretary of State.

So, here are some examples of correct signatures:

Sole proprietorship:

______________________________
John Parker
Sole Proprietor

Sole proprietorship with a d/b/a:

______________________________
John Parker
Sole Proprietor
d/b/a the Tech Guy

General partnership with a d/b/a:
Parker and Smith
d/b/a the Tech Guys

By: ______________________________
John Parker
General Partner

Limited liability company:
APEX SOLUTIONS LLC

By: ______________________________
John Parker
Member

Limited liability company with a d/b/a:
APEX SOLUTIONS LLC
d/b/a the Tech Guy

By: ______________________________
John Parker
President

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