Many handymen start their businesses by doing minor jobs for busy homeowners. But as your company begins to grow, you might find yourself taking on larger and more expensive projects. You might find that a verbal agreement or handshake is no longer enough to close a deal.
A handyman contract is an essential part of running a small business. Like insurance, a contract can help protect you on the job. It helps you clearly set expectations with your clients and demonstrates your professionalism.
Let’s take a closer look at how contracts can fit into your handyman business plan, what is typically included in one, and how to streamline your business by using a contract template.
Why do I need a handyman contract?
Asking a client to sign a contract for handyman services may seem like overkill. Isn’t a written estimate and a handshake good enough? While you might feel like you’re making things easier for yourself and your clients, you might be creating trouble down the road.
In many states, contracts are required by law before you can begin work. There may be specific items that you must include in your handyman contracts, depending on the laws in your area. It’s wise to look up the contractual obligations in your area to ensure you are compliant.
Even if contracts are not required in your state, you might consider using them anyway. A contract can help protect your handyman business by clearly setting expectations. It also details your obligations to the client—and their obligations to you. A contract can serve as evidence in court if a client refuses to pay or disputes the services you agreed to provide.
Contracts can also help you stay organized. For example, business contracts typically include start and end dates for projects. Once you sign the contract, you will be accountable for meeting those deadlines. This information can help you plan your work calendar to help ensure you will complete a customer’s work on time.
What is included in a basic handyman contract?
There are many elements that should be included in contracts. This includes basic information about each job as well as sections that you may be required by the law. Generally, your business agreements should include:
- Basic background info – Your business name and address, the customer’s name and address, and the dates when the contract begins and ends.
- A detailed description of the work to be done – Be as detailed as possible, listing all elements of the project. You should also include the materials you’ll need and their estimated costs. A disclaimer should be added to advise that the final cost may vary depending on the materials used and their actual price.
- Payment details – Along with the amount due, you should also specify when and how you will get paid. This includes deposits and installment dates, as well as a method of payment (i.e., cash, check, credit card, etc.).
- Work changes – This section would cover unforeseen costs, particularly if the client didn’t provide proper information in advance.
- Maintenance services – If a client will need ongoing maintenance, you can add a section that details these services. This might include specific tasks you will complete during an agreed amount of time.
- Resolving conflicts – You never want a job to end in dispute, but it may be wise to have a plan just in case. You and your client should agree on the legal jurisdiction where conflicts will be resolved.
- Insurance information – Details of your business insurance coverage, particularly general liability and workers’ compensation policies. You should also attach a certificate of insurance to the contract.
- Signatures – Lines for you and the client should be included, so you don’t forget to sign!
The above list is a guide and not a comprehensive list of what you should include in your handyman contracts. There may be additional information that must be included in your state. Your local and state government websites should have more details on what is required in your area.
Using a Handyman Contract Template
Creating a contract template may be necessary as you take on more clients. A template is a basic contract with sections you can customize to each project, such as client name, project length, and price.
A handyman contract template helps you streamline your admin tasks, so you can spend more time on other areas of your business. Contract templates:
- Save you time – Templates simplify the process of writing a contract. Simply fill in new customer or project details (like start and end dates, client name, project address etc.), and the rest is ready to go.
- Help you avoid mistakes – A template can help you avoid making mistakes when writing up a contract since you’re only changing specific parts each time.
- Keep things fair – Every client should be treated the same, regardless of how much they are spending. A contract template sets a minimum standard for all jobs you perform.
When to Ask for Help
Writing contracts can be complex work, especially as your business grows. Local laws and regulations can also complicate matters when it comes to drafting binding legal agreements. It may be worth it to ask for help with your handyman contracts.
Hiring a lawyer to assist with writing your first contracts could be beneficial, as they are experts in the area. They may be able to draft a handyman contract template to fit your needs and offer advice on special changes for non-standard projects. Alternatively, a lawyer could review a contract you’ve written in ensure that it can be legally enforced.
Protecting Your Small Business
A handyman contract could become an important part of running your business. This document helps protect you while you work and boosts your professional image. It might help you find new clients and meet the goals set in your handyman business plan.
Business insurance can also help protect your small handyman business. Compare policies with BizInsure today!