What should a concrete contract or proposal look like?
This article is for consumers and contractors to assist them in Identifying a good improvement contract. A well-written contract is one of the best tools to facilitate communication regarding the terms of an agreement.
In a home improvement project, this helps the contractor and homeowner lay out the terms and expectations for creating accountability. But a good agreement contract is helpful for commercial construction as well.
Having a good contract doesn’t guarantee results but it sure is a good outline for communication.
Many states have different requirements for home improvement contracts depending on whether there are license requirements or Licensing boards.
Some states have different requirements for font sizes or disclosures. Whether required or not, It makes sense to lay out the terms to make sure the parties involved are on the same page.
In my opinion, if these items are not present, the contractor should be disqualified from winning the bid as it introduces unnecessary risk, poor communication and a sign of bad organization.
- Contractor Contact Information & Lic Number (if required) at Top.
- Purchaser Information
- Property or real estate Address of Project.
- Description of service
For homeowners or other consumers, you want descriptions laying out the details of the project.
- Description of materials and equipment used
Was there a promise to use a certain type of material or can the contractor use any grade of material?
- Contract Price
- Progress payment schedule with payments equally spread for work done.
High down payments are a red flag for the purchaser. In some states, it’s illegal to ask for more than 10% down. Lopsided progress payments where contractors are getting the lion share upfront can be a red flag.
In some cases that involve customer materials, its common for contractors to ask for special material deposits. Progress payment schedules should be fair to both parties. Giving too much upfront puts purchasers in a position on weakness.
On the other side, contractors should be quickly compensated at predetermined competition points to enable them to push forward.
Generally, you can get better terms from more established companies then smaller operations. Larger Contractors may have better terms with their vendors to front materials. More established contractors are more aware of their rights and are less paranoid or desperate regarding payments.
Choosing the best price from a less experienced contractor usually comes with added nonsense with regards to payment terms.
- Work schedule: Approximate start date and completion date and Access to project
- Purchasers acceptance and Signature agreement section.
- Lien notifications and other required disclosures. (check if you have state contractors licensing board requirement)
- In many cases, a contract may have a shop drawing or other supporting illustrations to communicate details.
In Conclusion, a detailed agreement is a cornerstone for communicating expectations of a project. It doesn’t mean that a contractor presenting a thorough agreement is grounds for hiring them, but if they don’t have one its definite grounds for not hiring them.