As business owners we spend so much time working on getting business we may lose track of the paperwork needed to protect ourselves when we do get a signed contract. Our contract is all we have in protecting ourselves should a matter go to court or arbitration. There have been recent legislative changes that require new language in our contracts. It indicates that pool contracts require Pool Recovery Fund information with the address to contact for homeowners. If you have not updated this, your contract may technically not be enforceable. You should consult an attorney to make sure you have a current, enforceable contract.
Another item we may overlook that has potential to cause problems is change orders. Even the smallest change by a customer should be done in writing. People tend to have convenient amnesia when it comes to what they told your guy in the field and what they say they told them later. This can cause major issues as the customer will refer back to the contract and there would not be any paper trail on changes made in the field. 99 times this may not be a problem but the one time it is can cost you lots of money with no recourse. I’m sure this has happened to many of us, including myself. I now have my superintendents carry iPads with the ability to write up an addendum onsite and have the customer sign the addendum right on the iPad and email it to the office to print. This saves time and money while protecting you at the same time.
Color sheets are another form that needs to be handled properly. How many times has someone called up and said that the tile or paver color is wrong or the wrong interior was installed because they didn’t remember what they picked months ago. A properly completed color sheet will protect you from this problem. Adding wording regarding variations of color in tile and pavers will also protect you from people claiming they didn’t know thin and thick pavers may not match perfectly.
In today’s very litigious world paper is necessary to protect ourselves from future problems and headaches; more importantly it will protect us from losing money.