A contractor without a contract is just a worker and his or her word. Even the most honest person would be hard-pressed to keep track of all the conversations that go into planning for the average project. That’s where a good contract comes in. Many conflicts can be avoided if both parties can simply consult the contract when there’s a misunderstanding on either side. Contracts can save you many headaches down the road.
Understanding Contracts & Getting Started
These tips, while just a starting point, will get you thinking about the most critical thing to have in hand before work starts. This is not a comprehensive guide to creating a contract, it is simply to make you aware of the importance. If you determine that having a contract is a good idea for your business, you should discuss the subject with a legal adviser.
The contract itself
A contract protects the parties involved when it comes to work. Just because you had a great conversation during the first meeting with your customer, and even though the work is only supposed to take two days, you’ll regret not having a contract when one of you forgets half of that great conversation and the work isn’t completed after two weeks.
A physical address
Job site location should be listed on the contract.
Have your license number written on your contract. A license may mean that you passed the required exams or that you have done the necessary paperwork and are playing by the rules.
Injuries and property damage can occur on any job site. Provide your customer with a Certificate of Insurance to show you are properly covered.
Scope of work
There are many details to get the job done right, so write everything down in the contract before work begins. This can be the best way to get everyone on the same page.
Duration of work
Though projects often take longer than predicted for many legitimate reasons — some caused by the client and some outside of your control — put the expected project duration in writing. The important thing is not that you show up every day, but that you finish the project on time. Having a timeline will help calm your customers nerves if progress hits a slow spot.
A good contract should include a list of exclusions. These might be related to the level of cleaning your customer should expect after the work is complete.
EPA lead safety certification
Contractors working on homes in the U.S. built before 1978 should be certified in lead-safe practices by the EPA. This is vital for the safety of you and your customer’s family.
While payment schedules can vary by the job, they should always be agreeable to both parties involved. State in your contract how payment should be made when the job is completed.
The standard warranty for work is one year from substantial completion.
These additional elements can also be included:
- Indemnification: The contractor promises to be responsible for any loss or damages incurred by the owner arising out of his or her work.
- Termination: When the buyer or contractor can terminate the contract.
- Inspection: Allows the owner to examine the work done by the contractor at any time during cleaning to see if it conforms to the contract terms.
Again, this article is not a comprehensive guide to making or implementing contracts in your business procedures. The information included in your contract might vary depending on your business, expectations, locations and more. If you decide to implement a written contract to your practice, consult a legal adviser to ensure you cover all of your bases and include the necessary information for your specific business. We have drafted a sample contract to help demonstrate what a contract might look like (see below). For more ways to protect your business, just call us at 1-800-878-3808. We have worked exclusively with mobile cleaning contractors for 40 years and we know what it takes to protect your business.
___________________, whose business address is____________________, hereby enters into this contract with__________________, whose address is , ________________ and who owns the property at_________________ on this day of____________________.
The Scope of the Work:
The power wash contractor will furnish all the labor, materials, and equipment necessary to complete the cleaning described below.
Contractor agrees to clean ______________________________________________________________________________.
All change orders must be in writing and signed by all the parties. The owners agree that changes resulting in the furnishing of additional labor or materials will be paid for prior to the commencement of the extra work. The owners agree that either of them may sign a change order, and that signature will be binding on both.
Before beginning the work, the contractor will furnish a certificate of that insurance to the property owner.
The property owner will allow free access to work areas for workers and vehicles. The contractor will make reasonable efforts to protect lawns, shrubs, and other vegetation.
Payments for the work will be due upon completion of the job.
Upon notification by the contractor of completion of the work, the owners and the contractor will inspect the work performed.
The contractor guarantees the work will meet trade standards of good workmanship.
We, the undersigned, have read and understood this entire contract, including documents attached by reference. We acknowledge that this document constitutes the entire agreement between the parties. This contract is not binding upon the contractor or the property owners until it is signed by all parties.
Dated:__________________ Signed: _______________________________