by: John Paulin of Tailor Decks, Inc.
June 18, 2012 | I have been building decks in Atlanta for more than 20 years and have seen so many changes over the years. I can’t imagine starting my business today in this industry with all the changes and demands. It use to be so simple. No one was getting building permits, or even thought about it. Heck, I even remember selling projects and never having contracts. Could you imagine doing that today?!
Building permits and contracts are the most important part to any successful businesses nowadays. Pulling building permits and working with inspectors can be a pain at first, but once you push through it, it becomes habit and not so bad. I use to think contracts were insulting, and that two people should be able to work together with a hand shake. Well, that part may be true, but that is not what a contract is about.
A contract outlines the scope of work to be performed by the contractor and what the contractor expects from the purchaser. When I meet with the purchaser, there are so many different items discussed and so many different options, who could ever keep up with all of them? The more descriptive the contract is, the smoother the project runs. When a disagreement arises between the contractor and purchaser, the contract is there to fall back on.
My contract today is 8 pages long and is very descriptive. It outlines the scope of work, the payment schedule, the warranty, and discusses all unexpected items that may come up and cost involved. I have been working on my companies contract for over two years now and still adding an item here and there when something new comes up. I don’t know if it will ever be finished. For the first 17 years of Tailor Decks, my contract was only 1 page with an attachment which briefly described the work to be performed.
I was recently talking with some contractors that have been in the construction industry longer than I have, and they all felt the longer the contract is, the purchaser perceives the builder to be more professional. I think this has a lot of truth to it and I may be on the right path.
What do you think? Feel free to send comments or start discussions. I would love to hear from some fellow NADRA members.