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Discussion Starter #1
Backround info:

I want to start doing my own sidejobs this summer, instead of working for other people on them. I've never been a part of the actual cutting of the deal, I just show up and get paid hourly. I would like to change that...

Now, the questions:

When you do a sidejob for yourself (IE, not affiliated with your company) do you write up contracts for the customers? I would assume so.

If yes, how complex do you make the contract? Im looking for some help in writing one up. Say, using a small sized deck or an addition trim-out for example.

Thanks for any help.
 

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PPro said:
Backround info:

I want to start doing my own sidejobs this summer, instead of working for other people on them. I've never been a part of the actual cutting of the deal, I just show up and get paid hourly. I would like to change that...

Now, the questions:

When you do a sidejob for yourself (IE, not affiliated with your company) do you write up contracts for the customers? I would assume so.

If yes, how complex do you make the contract? Im looking for some help in writing one up. Say, using a small sized deck or an addition trim-out for example.

Thanks for any help.
Never forget the contract in contractor, for jobs under $1000 i still use a carboncopy salesorder book.Anything larger i will write a contract short or long form depending on size of job. Would also suggest getting insurance,300k policy should be ok for sidejobs.
 

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PPro, Unfortunately, you have entered business and your contract will need to say as much. In most places, you will need to be licensed and insured. For some of your work, you may have to be able to pull permits.
You need to do some research in your area.
 

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First off make sure your current boss won't fir eyou for doing the side jobs. When you are doing work for a customer and not a boss, you are a business and must check permiting, licensing and insurance requirements. Don't forget to factor those costs into your estimates.

Second when I am doing repair work I detail what I am going to do, but not so detailed that I am writing a "how to" for the customer. For example here is a recent estimate:

We will remove and reinstall existing wood siding and trim with preprimed pine of equal size as indicated below:
-Aprox 50 linear foot of 1x8 fascia and crown molding at North of house.
-Aprox 15' of 1x8 baseboard at noorth of house.
-Aprox 100 square feet of 5" exposure 5/16 thick smooth siding at North wall, siding will be feathered where new joins old.
-Aprox 11' of verticle 2x6 at north of house.
-Aprox 1 of 1x8 fascia, 3/8 plywood soffit and crownmolding at south of house.
All joints where new siding and trim boards meet old will be caulked with paintable caulk.
Workmanship carries a one year warranty to remain intact.

Total price, due upon completion of work: $X,XXX.00


The problem with repair type work is it's easy for the customer to say "You said you'd include that on the south side of the house" if you proposal only says "Fix siding and fascia on house for $X,XXX.00"

Personally when ever possible I prefer to do repair work on T&M contracts at $150 for the first hour and $75 each additionl plus material costs at a 15% markup for delivery.
 

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I encourage my guys to do side jobs if they need a little extra dough, and even permit them to borrow equipment to assist them in this endeavor. Liability insurance and a contract is a must. A guy doing a "favor" on the side can still be screwed as hard as a person engaged in the business full time. Please, please don't do side work so cheaply that you sorely undercut full timers unless it's for a relative.
 

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mdshunk said:
I encourage my guys to do side jobs if they need a little extra dough, and even permit them to borrow equipment to assist them in this endeavor. Liability insurance and a contract is a must. A guy doing a "favor" on the side can still be screwed as hard as a person engaged in the business full time. Please, please don't do side work so cheaply that you sorely undercut full timers unless it's for a relative.
 

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You don't need no stinking contracts. You only need a contract when something goes wrong. The easiest way to do it is to only write contracts on the jobs you know that will end up being a problem...

... when you figure how to predict that let us all know.

Till then write a contract, even if it is only scratched on the side of a empty beer case and signed by both parties.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info guys.

I'd be doing the sidework for friends/relatives, and friends/relatives of theirs. The only thing around here I would need to pull a permit for would be decks, in which case I dont see myself doing too many of them.

I have a whole pile of info waiting for me at the township office today I have to go pick up and review. I'm sure that will give me everything I need to know.

Thanks again.
 

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PPro said:
Thanks for the info guys.

I'd be doing the sidework for friends/relatives, and friends/relatives of theirs. The only thing around here I would need to pull a permit for would be decks, in which case I dont see myself doing too many of them.

I have a whole pile of info waiting for me at the township office today I have to go pick up and review. I'm sure that will give me everything I need to know.

Thanks again.
From experience i can tell you doing work for friends/relatives is even more reason to have a contract.
 

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Thinking about this, it seems that every customer who has made even a little comment about the contract they are signing has had some sort of issue at some point along the way towards final payment. I had one super nut job who at presenting a contract to him he acted almost hurt that I would want him to sign a contract. With hindsite I am extremely glad that the cheap ass was on a contract because I have no doubt that from the way he ended up that there would have been even more trouble with him, especially with nothing in writing. He even went so far as to tell me that I should not be so misleading with charges such as (gasp) sales taxes! It sure was nice to be able to point to his contract and address his objection by reading a line next to his signature that said "Fees, permits and taxes not included in base price". Not wanting to admit he had no grounds to stand on he still insisted that it was too confusing and that nobody should be expected to read something like that! I ended up faxing him the Colorado sales tax rules in the end just to put it to bed.

Any customer who has hesitation about signing a contract is a customer that I would suspect of being a trouble maker and knows that signing a contract limits what they can get away with.
 

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Mike Finley said:
Thinking about this, it seems that every customer who has made even a little comment about the contract they are signing has had some sort of issue at some point along the way towards final payment. I had one super nut job who at presenting a contract to him he acted almost hurt that I would want him to sign a contract. With hindsite I am extremely glad that the cheap ass was on a contract because I have no doubt that from the way he ended up that there would have been even more trouble with him, especially with nothing in writing. He even went so far as to tell me that I should not be so misleading with charges such as (gasp) sales taxes! It sure was nice to be able to point to his contract and address his objection by reading a line next to his signature that said "Fees, permits and taxes not included in base price". Not wanting to admit he had no grounds to stand on he still insisted that it was too confusing and that nobody should be expected to read something like that! I ended up faxing him the Colorado sales tax rules in t on my contract.

Any customer who has hesitation about signing a contract is a customer that I would suspect of being a trouble maker and knows that signing a contract limits what they can get away with.
I have had a few customers who started writing in crossing out clauses in my contract. This promted me to send a letter stating i was to busy to take on thier job.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So generally just a carbon-copy workorder book is sufficient? Just be sure to include all the details of the deal?
 

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Those carbon copy books are usually just a blank template which require a lot of filling in especially when it comes to the legal mumbo jumbo... they're good enough to start but I recommend at some point having your own printed out.
 

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PPro, I just started out as well and was planning to find some preprinted carbon forms in one of the stationary stores or something like that. But I started doing some web searching and found all kinds of sample documents from vendors on-line who sell such things. So one way to go is to buy one of thier forms packages and then print them out. You can also make your own in Word or something. Just make sure your unique in design and wording so you are not plagurizing someone elses work please. It would out good as you can change wording if need be, can include a logo and can keep a few blank ones printed out to fill in on the spot.
Jon
 
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