I talked to a contractor today from Tennessee, who has purchased contractor forms from us in the past. This contractor went out to get a home improvement contract (not one of ours by the way) signed by a customer getting new siding on their home. Mind you, the customer had already ACCEPTED the one page bid (this contractor form was ours) with EXACTLY 5 lines in the scope of work field.
The contractor made the appointment, sat down in front of both the husband and the wife at the kitchen table, opened up his briefcase and took out his computer generated home improvement contract and laid it in front of them. The homeowners took one look, quickly flipped through the document, and told the contractor the dreaded words, "we need a few days to look the contract over before we sign." Why? Because it was 8 pages long... not including the two pages for the attached, and required, notice of cancellation form! No wonder the couple hit the panic button.
Put yourself in the homeowners place. How can any contractor possibly justify an 8 page contract when the entire scope of the job took up ONLY 5 LINES? Everyone expects the length of your contract forms to be appropriate for the size and complexity of the work being done! Wouldn't you?
Even in California, the state that has more requirements on what has to be in a contractor form than any other, the California Home Improvement Contract we sell is only THREE PAGES. This contractor was from a state with almost NO law requirements and yet the contract form he gave them was 8 PAGES LONG. Geez, I've said it before and I'll say it again. What customer feels good about signing a contract for a simple home improvement job, that is LONGER THAN THE CONTRACT THEY SIGNED TO BUY THEIR ENTIRE HOUSE!
Does anyone out there remember what a contract form is supposed to look like? You know, a "good old" contract that is written on one page, front and back, with the signature line at the bottom of the FRONT page? Sorry, but that's the way your customers EXPECT the agreement to look like! Flop down a contract "book" in front of them, where they have to go through page after page just to find the spot to sign, says "LAWYER" not "CONTRACTOR", and the first emotion your customer usually feels is FEAR! BUZZZZZZ, there goes the panic button!
Don't kid yourself into believing that the length of your contract form doesn't matter to the average home owner. In my next post I'll tell you about what I found when this contractor from Tennessee faxed over a copy of this very same contract form....