Latest News from BPCA

26 February 2020

Keep your contracts watertight

Business feature | PPC98 March 2020

On most of your jobs, you provide a quote, do the work to the best of your ability, the customer is happy and they pay you.

But, as we all know, not every job goes that smoothly.

Which? Trusted Traders gives us some top tips for making sure you don’t lose money because of a contract.

keep-your-contracts-watertight-which-trusted

At Which? Trusted Traders, we often hear complaints from customers and traders because a problem has cropped up and there hasn’t been a quote or contract in writing.

Even with a contract, sometimes problems can crop up during the job which can lead to disputes with the customer.

We asked Which? Trusted Traders complaint handlers for their advice to make sure your contract is as watertight as possible.

Here are their top three tips:

GET JOB CHANGES AGREED IN WRITING

Sometimes, you’ll have a contract in place and start work, but then a new issue crops up which needs additional work and expense.

It’s then essential to re-quote and get approval in writing, even if that means a delay in getting work done.

The danger of not re-quoting is that the customer often doesn’t realise that the job is going to be more expensive, and gets a shock when presented with the final bill.

ENSURE THE CUSTOMER READS T&Cs

If you use terms and conditions, make sure the customer reads them before you start work.

Before they sign the contract, ask your customer to confirm in an email that:

  • They fully understand your T&Cs
  • They agree to them.

In this way, the customer shouldn’t get any surprises during or after the job that could lead to a dispute.

TAKE BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS

Take a few moments before and after the job to get some snaps of the work on your mobile phone.

Email the pictures to the customer at the start and end of the job and get a confirmation in writing that they’re happy with the results.

This ensures that you can prove the contract was fulfilled to the customer’s satisfaction.

As a bonus, you might also be able to use the pictures to show off your skills on your website and social media channels.

Protect yourself by always following procedure

As our complaints handlers know, the best protection for you and your customers is to have everything clearly laid out in writing, and stick to it.

Always make sure that you:

  • Have a signed contract in place before starting work
  • Re-quote if anything changes during the job, and get written agreement from the customer before continuing work
  • Get the customer to read and agree to your terms and conditions before the job starts
  • Use photographs to record that the contract was fulfilled
  • Keep a record of all these communications with your customer.
MEMBERS ONLY: Join Which? Trusted Traders and save

If you’re a BPCA member, you’ll receive 50% off your first six months’ membership with Which? Trusted Traders.

All Trusted Traders have a dedicated account manager to advise them on avoiding and handling customer complaints, as well as access to our alternative dispute-resolution service if needed.

trustedtraders.which.co.uk

0117 456 6061

Source: PPC98

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