Descriptive Documents Should Be Well Prepared and Properly Distributed
Descriptive documents are items such as plans, job scopes, schedules and selections. These documents obviously are needed or generated before as well as throughout a project — particularly when there are changes or additional work orders.
Not only are these documents important as separate items to describe in detail the work that will be done, they are important to the entire project. As such, each must be well prepared and properly distributed. A drawing revision that is not distributed to everyone concerned or responsible might as well not have been done.
To ensure that they are distributed correctly, confirmation that they were received is a must.
Your Contract Should Be Clear and Straightforward
A proper contract must contain:
- An offer — the improvements to be completed in return for a sum of money
- The acceptance — the agreement by the client that they in fact do want the improvements for the cost stated
- The “consideration” or method of payment — such as a deposit, downpayment or even payment in advance
Keep the contract clear and straightforward.
Descriptive documents also can be included as part of the contract.
Proper Communication Is Key All Along the Paper Trail
It’s tough enough to get clients to read the documents, but impossible if you don’t deliver them. The better the communication and distribution, in general, the smoother the job goes, i.e., the happier the clients, the more profitable the job.
You also are not doing a good job of communication unless you are keeping permanent records. Yes, you can keep electronic records — provided you and the client agree. Otherwise, put everything on paper and distribute it. This will make the whole process easier to implement.
Good Paper Trails Tend to Be Brief
The most successful examples of good paper trails involve certain minimums, but tend to be brief. For example, use a job scope description for specifications, allowances and selection records. Use cross-referencing statements on change orders to tie them to the original contract so that the details don’t have to be repeated — or binding.
While all three types of documents contain elements of the other two, one single document — the job log — contains solid elements of all three. When prepared properly, the job log is very helpful, descriptive and, when needed, a huge bolster to contractual documents. Don’t leave home without it.
A paper trail normally will include six or seven different documents. Create a simple, but well-documented paper trail and the only thing that you and your client will need to say at the end of the job is, “Thank you.”
MM (Mike) Weiss, CGR, CGB, GMB, CAPS, president of Weiss & Company, is the immediate past president of the national Remodelors™ Council. Weiss tours the country teaching both CGR and CAPS courses to hundreds of professional remodelers a year. For more information, e-mail Weiss.
The NAHB University of Housing Offers Designation Programs and Other Courses
The NAHB University of Housing offers CAPS, CGR, CGB and a variety of other professional designation programs and business management courses that set builders and remodelers apart from the competition. To learn more about NAHB’s designation programs, visit www.nahb.org/designations. For a complete list of all current education offerings, click here.
Who Will Be the Next Remodelor™ of the Month?
The Remodelor™ of the Month (this link is accessible to Remodelors™ Council members only) award program is underway. Don't miss your opportunity to be named the Remodelor™ of the Month.
The program groups local councils from different states into designated months. There will be two “wild card” months that will allow the council’s members-at-large to participate in the program. A winner will be chosen each month and that winner will then be automatically included in the nominations for the Remodelor™ of the Year award.
This is a great opportunity for local councils and members to get involved and submit their “best of the best” members to compete with other councils. The national Remodelors™ Council will send out press releases and highlight each winner in ReNews, the Remodelors™ Council e-newsletter.
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