The above is a quote from the legendary oil well fire fighter, “Red” Adair and one taken to heart by the members of the Business Integrity Group, many of whom can recount tales of having to help clients who have tried dealing with less professional suppliers and advisers.

In the writer’s field, a couple of examples will suffice (hopefully) to illustrate why we regard dealing with a professional as an investment.

A few years ago I was asked by a company to act on its behalf when taking a lease. One initial obligation of any landlord in granting a lease is to show he has the legal title to the land the lease is being granted over, something so straight forward that it barely merits being classed as ‘Land Law 101’. For some reason the landlord was reluctant to comply with this requirement, anxious to finalise the grant of the lease, collect his rent and trotting out the familiar refrain of wanting to minimise costs and speed matters along without the need for such annoying people as solicitors. Fortunately for the prospective tenant, he had engaged a solicitor to act for him who insisted on seeing proof of title. The sight of the plan of the landlord’s property made for an interesting conversation, there being a gaping hole down the middle of the plot.

The consequences for the new tenant could have included being asked to take down any building erected on the ‘missing’ part of land, being fined for trespass on a person’s land and considerable disruption to his business. A charitable view would be that the landlord was not aware of this issue, possibly not having been represented on his original purchase; he would also have faced problems if the actual owner of the missing land had realised what had happened. Fortunately the tenant now has secure title to his business premises.

More by luck than judgment, another business client realised they had been trading for several years in a building which was in part built on land not owned by the landlord who had granted the lease. At any stage they could have been approached by the actual owner of this adjoining land and been told that their landlord had erected this building illegally, that part of it would therefore have to be taken down and removed. This issue only came to light when the tenants wished to assign their lease and move to larger premises and fortunately was therefore not detrimental to their business. Once again, solicitors appeared to delay matters but in fact what could have been a straight forward transaction was complicated by the parties previously not being properly represented.

Both clients spared potentially fatal disruption to their businesses, not a bad investment.