When you’re drawing up a contract for a construction project, you have to ensure that it protects your interests. This doesn’t have to be difficult, but you do need to include the important information so that you can enforce it if you have to down the road.
The minimum information that you should have in the contract include:
- Name, purpose and description of the project: The name and purpose won’t be very detailed; however, you should include everything you can in the description. By including as much as you can, you don’t leave much room for the client to claim that you promised other things. You will be bound by the scope of the project outlined in the contract.
- Schedule for the project: Include the start and projected finish date for the project. Remember to pad the completion date a bit so that things like inclement weather won’t mean that you miss the finish date that you tell the client. Most clients will be happy that a project ends early but they won’t want it to go past the expected date.
- Cost and payment information: Outline what costs the project estimate includes. Tell the client what they are responsible for paying on top of the estimated cost. You can also include the payment schedule in this section of the contract. Make sure that that you include a snippet about interest charges in case payments aren’t remitted on time.
- Make a note of the warranty and exclusions: Outline what type of warranty you provide on the work and mention anything that the warranty excludes. This sets the standard for client protections and often makes them feel like they’re getting a better deal.
When you write out a new construction contract, it’s a good idea to have your attorney review it. Don’t be surprised if clients want to review it with their attorney. While you write it to protect your company, the clients will ensure it also protects them.