Essential Requirements Before Signing a Contract With a Tradesperson
Finding a reliable tradesman can be a long and laborious task, but when you’ve finally found someone you believe is the right person for the job, you then have to start the process of organising a contract that is suitable for both of you. Finalising a contract and being assured that you fully understand it is a crucial piece of being satisfied with your tradesman. There are a few rules that you should always follow before signing a contract.
First Things FirstWhen it comes to contracts, most tradesmen will have standard agreements written up that they hand out to customers and expect them to understand them. Most customers don’t want to feel stupid, and will sometimes commit their signature to a contract without fully understanding what it means.
This is one of the cardinal sins of arranging a contract with a tradesman. You should always ensure that your contract is specifically designed for the work you’re having carried out and also make sure it’s written in plain English. If there’s something on the contract you don’t understand, ask your tradesman about it. If you have access to a solicitor then ask them to have a look through the contract to ensure it’s all above board. This becomes particularly beneficial if you’re having a large project carried out or expect to be dealing with your tradesman for an extended period of time. Whatever the individual case may be, ensure you fully understand the contract, have it checked if possible and only then should you sign it to agree to the work being conducted.
Contract NecessitiesContracts are not only there to protect the tradesman, but also to ensure as much as possible the you as the customer are well looked after during any work being carried out. The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 outlines many of the legalities of a contract for you and a tradesman when you enter into one. A contract should always have all terms and conditions listed and where possible should specify dates and prices for the job. If it doesn’t have this listed, then it is law that it should be completed for a reasonable price and within a reasonable timeframe. The judgement of ‘reasonable’ is of course between yourself and the tradesman, therefore it’s always better to try and get times and dates added to the contract before you sign them. Any contract is a binding agreement that the work is completed with skill, care and of course using materials of a good quality. It is your right as a customer to ensure all of these specifications are adhered to on the contract and it may be your only course of recall should things go wrong.
Finalising the DealWhen you’re convinced that you’ve read all the terms of the contract and are happy to sign, you should consider one last aspect of the deal before finalising it. If your contract requires your signature to state that the work has been carried out successfully, don’t sign until you’re 100% sure that it has. If you have a leak when it rains, your heating doesn’t work when it’s cold, or something similar, wait until you’ve tested the work in those circumstances before signing off.
If you can add a grace period of six months to the contract then you will have the chance to ensure that your work has been completed to your high standard. Also, when it comes to money, never sign a contract that requires you to pay all your money up front. Discuss this with the tradesman and see if there are other options available to you. Most reliable tradesman won’t ask for payment until the work is finished, although some may ask for a deposit or progress payments. Whatever you decide on, ensure this is also in the contract and maintain a close eye on the schedule you’ve set out.Ultimately there are a number of inclusions that you should look for in any contract with a tradesman.
- Your full name and that of the tradesman or the tradesman’s firm
- All technical details, materials being used and any plans for work
- Start dates and completion dates for all work. Include any penalties for late completion
- Name of tradesman’s insurer and contact details
- Term stating that the site will be left tidy when the work is completed
- The opportunity for the tradesman to rectify any defective work or damages caused
- The option for either yourself or the builder to end the contract
- The total cost for all work to be completed and how this will be paid