If you’re determined to grow your business as a painting contractor, you need to learn how to make bulletproof contracts. While this may sound like something a lawyer should be doing for you, you should learn a bit about it yourself.
That can help you when you talk with a lawyer because you will know what is it that you want.
First of all, let’s start with mentioning that there is a written and verbal contract. A verbal contract is what you would call “a handshake contract.” Both of these contracts are legally binding, but it is always safer to create a written contract and have a solid proof with fewer chances for misunderstandings.
Let’s start with the basics:
Things to Know Before You Sign a Contract
When you consider creating and signing a contract, you should think about your status and the form of your contract. Let’s start with the form and all the reasons why you need a written contract, rather than a verbal one:
Verbal contracts are legal, but they are risky because it is difficult to prove that they even happened. If it is absolutely impossible to sign a real written contract, make sure you have at least something in writing.
This can include messages, emails, notes, SMS or any form of communication you used with your hirer when discussing the work that needs to be done.
There are situations in which you should not agree to do any work without a written contract. Here are some of them:
- Your hirer has some specific work in mind that requires special or unique material.
- The cost of the job is so high it can financially hurt or even ruin your business.
- You are not certain that the hirer has significant funds to pay for your work.
- The contract contains details that are obligatory, such as a specific date when the work should be done.
- There is an insurance company involved and they require a contract to be signed.
- There is information that needs to be kept confidential.
- There are some legal reasons why a contract is necessary.
Understand Your Status
When you perform a service, like house painting, for another business or a person, you are either a contractor or an employee. It is very important for you to know this difference because it reflects on your taxes and insurance among other things.
If you own a business, you are definitely an independent contractor. Here are a couple of things that make this distinction much clearer:
|Works for a business||Owns his own business|
|Hired to continually perform certain tasks in a certain way||Hired to complete a certain task or achieve a certain result|
|Usually works for only one employer||Can be hired by several hirers at the same time|
|Usually cannot subcontract somebody for their work||Can subcontract others to do the agreed work|
|All the tools and the materials needed for their work are supplied by the employer||Usually provides their own tools and materials for work.|
|Has sick leave and holidays||Doesn’t get sick leave or paid time off|
That is what you need to understand before you sign a contract. Now, let’s make sure you know how to recognise a good contract. If it has all these elements, it is a contract worth signing.
What Should Be Included in a Contract Agreement?
To understand all the elements of the contract, you should also be familiar with the terminology that is used in those contracts. Let’s explain both the terms and why they are important, at the same time.
The parties – This actually means your hirer and you. The contract should list both parties and their contact information. If you are hired by a business, the contract needs to contain the business information, as well. Both parties should list their names and put their signatures on the contract
Description of the work – This is where you need to be very careful. You need to agree on all the details with your hirer, before signing the contract. Every little detail needs to be ironed out and put into writing if you want your contract to be valid.
Payment – Agree about the price of the work and list it precisely in your contract. The contract also needs to contain the details about the timing and the manner of payment.
Indemnity and responsibility – Responsibility for your work should be regulated by the contract. It should regulate fixing defective or incomplete work. Indemnity is similar, but not the same. The contract regulates indemnity when it determines how the hirer is compensated if your work actually does some damage to their property.
Variations– Sometimes, the contract can be changed during the work. Let’s say you and your hirer agreed for you to paint their house red. In two days, they changed their mind and now want you to paint it orange. This is something that should be included in the contract. Therefore, your original contract should regulate how those variations are included.
Termination– The contract should determine how it can be terminated. It should also list the consequences for the contract termination. Also, the circumstances of contract termination should be taken into consideration.
Disputes– Your contract should anticipate how disputes are to be resolved. Sometimes, the contracts even list the court that would have jurisdiction over the dispute.
Subcontracting– Sometimes, when the contract covers a large amount of painting work, you may want to hire subcontractors. In that case, your contract should regulate this, as well. Your hirer would want to have some sort of insurance that the quality of the work won’t be affected by subcontracting.
Exclusivity– In some cases, the hirer wants the contractor to work only with them until the project is over. Let’s say that you are to paint the walls of an entire building and the deadline is a bit short. Your hirer may want to sign an exclusivity agreement so that they are your only client at the time.
Restraint– Let’s say that you are a subcontractor for your client. They are a big construction company and they want you to paint the building they are working on. The contract may restrict you from working directly with the investor that is your client’s client. This restraint may last longer than the work that you do.
Insurance– This is the part of the contract that regulates the obligation of both parties in terms of the insurance.
Your safest bet is to find a lawyer to create a good painting contract template that you can use for your painting contract work over and over again. When revising it, make sure it contains all these necessary elements.
With a solid contract all set up, it is time to find some contract work to use it on. That’s when you should list your business on Service Seeking. That puts you in the same place as all those people and businesses that need some painting work done.
Additionally, your correspondence is saved and you have some proof of making the deal and your hirer accepting your bid. However, Service Seeking does not provide legal protection between the parties.
Another good thing is that Service Seeking makes it much easier for people to pay for your services. They offer several payment methods and that’s great, especially if you don’t have the means to get paid by card.
Look into Service Seeking and see what it can do for your business.