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ACT Contractors Forms... From The Paper Side of Contracting.

Contractor Forms... Is it a book or a Home Improvement Contract?

Posted by Bill Baird on Tue, Oct 13, 2009 @ 20:10 PM

 

     You know that contractor from Tennessee I contractor form discussed in yesterdays blog post about the length of contractor forms, specifically, the length of your home improvement contract? Well he did end up faxing over a copy of the home improvement contract form he was using for re-siding a house... You know the one that was 8 PAGES long without the federal cancellation form! .... You know, the contract form that cost the contractor a $9000 re-siding job because the customer "needed to look it over" before signing and never called back?

     When I pulled the papers from the fax machine, I expected to see a generic, "try to do everything", contract form that was overly long and "scary" because it included much more than was necessary for home improvement work.  I was right... and I was wrong.

     What I saw was a wordprocessor based form, Get help with your contractors form selections.downloaded from the internet as a contract for all "construction and improvement projects" sold to a Licensed Tennessee Home Improvement Contractor, that had notices and terms from at least TWO other states! and... This same Tennessee Home Improvement Contract, was missing the Tennessee required notices.  It did not even have the the most basic TN notice... the notice giving contact information for the Tennessee Home Improvement Commission (THIC)! 

Why was this Home Improvement Contract 8 Pages Long?

 

  1. It had notices that the creator typed in from not just one, but two other states!

  2. Instead of using the correct, home improvement 3-day cancellation notice, a single, small paragraph, the creator incorrectly used a "recission" notice for the sale of merchandise that took up half a page by itself.

  3. It had a 3-day AND a (7-day) notice of cancellation form which the form creator included because, in their own words, the seven day notice is a "mandatory contract inclusion in many states". Guess what, the ONLY state that has a seven day notice to cancel is CALIFORNIA, so why add pages for that in an agreement for Tennessee or for any other state for that matter?

  4. It had long detailed provisions for things like setbacks, lot lines, excavation, hard earth, things that are completely unnecessary for most home improvement jobs and certainly not needed for re-siding a house.

  5. It was created in a wordprocessor program instead of a professional, page layout program... and wordprocessor forms are ALWAYS longer because wordprocessor programs are limited in what they can do.

  6. The layout of the contract was very "homegrown" and not well thought out. This is the difference between typing and "typesetting".  For example, things that should have been placed side by side were placed on their own line taking up twice the space. 

No wonder the homeowners panicked when they saw this thing.

    Be careful that the contractor forms you use meet your specific needs. Generic, "one size fits all" contractors forms can cost you much more than the forms themselves. Ask questions and look at samples before you decide on which form to use. And make sure your home improvement contract is not too long for the customer to "swallow" because it contains too much of the wrong "stuff" and too little of the right!

 

     Have you had an experience, good or bad, with the home improvement contract form you use for your business? Do long contracts matter to the average homeowner?  PLease leave your comments below so we can all learn!

Topics: home improvement contract, contractor forms, home improvement, contractor contracts, contractors forms

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