Carpentry projects usually involve woodworking, building, cabinetmaking or other material construction. You might hire a carpenter for a new addition, a remodeling project, a deck project or handiwork within the home. Before hiring a professional you’ll want an estimate, bid or quote and by having both parties sign the quote, you’ll have a contract that lays out the parameters of the job. Contracts are legally binding.

Items to be included in the contract

Contracts should include all the necessary information to ensure that both parties know what is expected of them. In general, the contract shows an offer, an acceptance and must be legally binding. The following details should be included in the contract:

  • contractor’s full business name, address, phone number, license number and contact information
  • scope of project describing what work will be performed and by whom
  • description of the project in detail including color, materials, model numbers, sizes, etc.
  • payment schedule and expectation of deposit amounts or percentages
  • permit information like who will be obtaining and filing for them
  • projects may have a set of architectural drawings, to scale, attached to the contract
  • description of cleanup, removal of debris, what will be done with leftover materials
  • equipment rentals and payment of rentals
  • warranty information

Clauses and additional information

It’s not uncommon to add clauses or other details to the contract to account for things that may occur during the course of the project. Additional inclusions may include:

  • maintain building code standards
  • correct unstable surfaces
  • release of duties for improper or incomplete work without pay
  • return funds paid when released from a job
  • repair any damages during project progression
  • correct mistakes that do not pass inspection without pay
  • docking labor wage for tardiness or excessive delays

Making changes or canceling contracts

After signing you may need cause for canceling the contract. Read the fine print: you may be allowed to cancel after several day of signing. Be sure you read over your contract before signing and ask questions about what happens if you need to cancel due to scheduling issues, financial problems or change of mind.

When you need to make changes to a contract like adding on to the scope of the project or changing materials, a change work order should be issued and signed and the contract may need to be amended. Have the changes notarized and attached to the original contract.

A contract can be obtained in one of four ways. You can speak with an attorney to construct the contract, purchase a pre-fabricated option from an office supply store, use the contractor’s available contract or use a pre-fabricated contract that is available online. In any instance, make sure that you include as much detail as possible, within the local statutes of the law. You must maintain fair labor practices and all of the work must be completed safely, within code standards, and within the timeline given. You should always have a contract when a home improvement project is taking place in your home.

Top image credit: Renovation Design Group