I am not on my own yet, and i know this might be a stupid question, ive read a few book but still cant figure out do i make and print my own contract or do i get some already made template somewhere and only sign them (like in a lease case)
The best thing to do would be to get a lawyer to draw one up for you. I cobbled one together using bits and pieces from other documents I found online and on this forum's document sharing section. I'm booked for a year with trusted clients, then I'll be hiring someone to produce something a little more substantial.
What is your location and do you have consumer protection laws that require you to have a certain clause in your contract?
On the general note, its easy to make your own for any residential job... Include Both party names and job address, date of completion, scope of work, payment schedule, warranty, # of days the right to cancel contract for full refund, acceptance and signature.
The rest add what ever you like to add "clause" i.e HO must move furniture, keep dogs locked up, keep kids out, if house burns down its not your responsibility, etc you get the general idea.
If you bidding state and government jobs, you should have a lawyer draw one up. If you building a new home to be sold, you use standard Real Estate contracts.
1. Write your own, forget to add a bunch of clauses, and get bitten in the end when a problem arises.
2. Hire a construction attorney for a couple hundred dollars an hour to write one.
3. Buy one from AIA for $10-30.
You decide what the best business choice would be.
i took a few that other plumbing companies were using and combined them into a format that worked for me....i copied bits and pieces
i also have a full page i hand customers called 'who's responsible'....it lists where other trades end and where my job begins.....i found some of the other trades sometimes push off some of their work onto me and say its my job......like the sewer/water guy not putting a main valve where the water stubs into the house.....i define as many grey area's as possible
make your own...you dont need a lawyer....just Microsoft Word and a few hours
My contract is a constantly evolving document. As I buy another course at the school of hard knocks, I'll add language into the contract to prevent it from happening again
There are lines about identifying special flowers or bushes they want extra care for, a line that it is the owners responsibility to keep their pets from escaping
I've got a line in there about work being dusty and the owners responsibility to clean up afterwards or contract with me to do it. There is a line about removing wall items before they fall off the walls of adjoining rooms
Owners duty to keep their kids out of the work area etc
I'm all in favor of using an attorney when you need it, but if you're doing small jobs (as you must be if you're asking this question), all an attorney can do is take a couple grand and give you the boilerplate that you can already get from the AIA, or your local builders exchange, or similar sources. You do need to know what the requirements are in your state, which is why a local builders exchange or the like is a good source.
Then, over time, you edit the contract to include the issues that matter to you and your customers. That's how most people do it.
Absolutely, you should have a good basic contract, but more importantly, you should learn to qualify your customers, identify the bad apples and absolutely and without exception refuse to work with them, write a complete, clear, and unambiguous scope of work and payment schedule, communicate clearly, bend when you need to and stand firm when you should, and execute well. If you don't do all of those things, the best contract in the world won't protect you from the **** storm.
A good contract is a work of art .
I started with a 1 page, with very simple wording , and easy to read contract .
Then every time we had a problem on a job we added something .
30 year later, I don't even know what it said , but the lawyers and judges seam to like it . And yes its costs $$$ to get one.
Each business is somewhat unique .. but still a business like all others.
My point is that its important that you encompass the basic language that is important for all "businesses" - but also consider your business needs and your own skills and Taylor that contract to suite you.
We place "boiler plates" on our shop drawings - but believe me - every Millwork shop we deal with is slightly different in what they want & expect from their customers.
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