Scope, Timing Ambiguity And Contracts - Business - Contractor Talk

Scope, Timing Ambiguity And Contracts

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Old 04-04-2019, 12:07 PM   #1
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Scope, Timing Ambiguity And Contracts

How do you handle ambiguity as to project scope and timing, while trying to the client into your schedule?

I'm finding a recurring scenario where I'm approached by a client for example a bathroom remodel (to make it easy). They pretty much know they want the remodel done and want to work with me. Because of the size and scope of the project, they don't have plans and haven't made product selections. I can give them an "estimate" based on what I think they want and experience with similar projects. I'll line item fixtures and materials as allowances for their budgeting purposes. Of course, the final design and material selections will have an impact on my installation labor and materials as well.

The other issue is that I'm starting to book out to the end of the year. My clients are often willing to wait for me. While I have the best intentions, the further out I book the more my actual timeline might slide. For example, I might say September and it could end up October, or if I'm lucky it might be August.

I would like to contractually lock the clients into using me, so there aren't any surprises (going with someone else, or dropping). Also, I know there are design decisions to be made and I like to be involved up front to make sure the pieces fit together, how it might impact scope and to ensure everything is ready for when I am.

My clients are willing to sign my contract. I'm just not sure how to handle "project start date" and scope. Do you just put in your best guess now, and then send a stream of change orders as information changes? Is there better language to help deal with ambiguity? Or is there a better interim contract that will lock in my schedule and help move through the design process?
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:11 PM   #2
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Re: Scope, Timing Ambiguity And Contracts

I give an estimated start date. Also state that contractor will adhere to schedule unless circumstances arise beyond the contractors control in which case I'd update the with plenty of notice. If start date hinges on special order items then I sometimes put x amount of weeks upon arrival of said materials, within reason.


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