I often hear from contractors having problems with their customers. Many of these problems are because of the written contract they use for their jobs.
Many have a 1-3 page contract they use with their customers. That leaves a lot of things unsaid, and as sure as the sun comes up, the customer gloms onto something that is not in the contract. They then decide that the contractor owes them the item and it is not open for discussion. They have gone so far as to say if the contractor won’t “honor the contract”, they are going to sue.
Maybe during the sales call, the owner and the contractor talked about some particular item. They decide not to include it, normally because of price, and they go on with the job. The owner, often overwhelmed with all the details of putting a job together, later forgets that the item was dropped, and as sure as little green apples in the spring, somewhere during the job they remember the item and want to know why it hasn’t been installed.
You remind them of the conversation, and the “Ya Buts” start. Ya But you said blah blah, blah blah. I’m not going to pay you any more money until . . .
Gang, one, two or three page contracts do not work today. You have to write a contract that covers the job and specifies everything you are going to do or not going to do. If you don’t spell it out, it can cost you. Our Fast Track Proposal Writer software helps write a detailed remodeling or renovation contract quickly; it can also be used for new home building.
Here is reality: You can’t put the basics of a good contract, even in 10-pt type, on a 3 page contract. There just isn’t room. The language covering all aspects of a verbal change order requires almost 3/4’s of a sheet of paper. Many states are now requiring anywhere from 2 to 4 additional pages of legalese that must be supplied to the owner with your contract.
If I were writing a new home contract, using our Fast Track Proposal Writer software, it would take at least 45 pages, probably more. A remodeling job of $100K requires at least 35 pages. A smaller remodel job ($15-25K) would be 15 to 20 pages in length. The more detail, the better. C. Y. A. !
When you do something in your business that puts you at risk, like writing a skimpy contract, you not only put your company at risk, but your family, your home, your marriage and your health as well. That is a reality of life. I sincerely hope you will reconsider your approach to writing contracts before you face that customer or that job from hell.