Develop a standard set of terms & conditions to include with any job proposal. Adding these terms will save precious time and minimize your liability. In addition, it will clear any misunderstandings while reducing your risk factors.
What do you include in your terms & conditions to amply express your expectations and avoid confusions? Let’s go over some tried and true points.
DON’T RELY ON VERBAL DISCUSSIONS
Verbal discussions and emails can get forgotten. Outline the scope of work in your landscape proposal. The days are gone when ‘he said, she said’ applies. Your project manager will not be privy to the previous discussion with the estimator. Spell it out in the proposal. Hence, the scope of work in the contract will be executed and not a previous verbal chat.
Outline in the terms & conditions the expiration date (depending on your plant availability and material costs, this could change within thirty days). Some clients might get a contract and then postpone for six months before making a decision. By then costs have risen. Make clear in the proposal that the computations are on current pricing. Unknown contingencies could be found and could cost more.
Inevitably, when starting on the property, a client will add additional work as an installation progresses. Make provisions for variations, or additions.
TERMS & CONDITIONS: PAYMENT AND ACCESS
Payment terms should state the time of deposit, the amount, and when all payments are due. Add non-refundable deposits for materials bought before an installation or for a suspension or cancellation of a contract.
Proper access to a landscaping site will affect the job proposal figures. Making sure the site is free and clear to work and not obstructed to stay on schedule. Avoiding these frustrations and help the client understand their responsibilities and your expectations. Utility access can also be included. Ensure proper responsibility for the safety of children, family members or pets while work is active.
A maintenance crew doesn’t like to show up to a job to find a yard full of dog excrement to maneuver around. Debris, such as this, may be a long term issue if doing annual maintenance. Keep this wording in your annual contracts.
Include instructions to the client on their responsibilities before the installation or maintenance. Instruct calling the local 811 Call Center before a dig. Ensure that the grounds are clear of toys and equipment.
After an install, make clients aware of the care and proper maintenance of the plant materials and what to expect. Include their responsibilities in the terms & conditions to ensure they understand.
TERMS & CONDITIONS: DELAYS
Mother Nature can play havoc or delays arise due to overscheduling. Make clear the penalties, adjustments made and how you operate with delays and disruptions.
Add the security of materials on site to the terms & conditions and to whom responsibility falls. Changing specific materials due to unavailability should be added as an option for the Contractor.
WARRANTIES & GUARANTEES
Contractors often include warranties of their work for healthy plants or proper landscape installation techniques if a license is involved. These warranties and guarantees can be used as a selling point when providing a job proposal.
Who doesn’t want to take a few pictures after a beautiful installation? Add to the document your rights to record, photograph and for marketing purposes.
This terms & conditions list is a good start to include in your landscape bid for a client. These terms will minimize your risk if something goes wrong. Clearing up any potential misunderstandings first can save angry confrontations and avoid bad reviews. If a client doesn’t get what they thought they were paying for, it isn’t good for your business. Avoid mismatched client expectations. After you have assembled your terms & conditions, have your personal attorney look them over for any loopholes. They will tailor the list to your specific needs.
If you don’t have time to come up with a list, call me, and I’ll help you out and get you up and running. [Note: All documents generated should be reviewed by your local city, county, and state law officials.]