Whether you are a subcontractor responsible for a large number of employees, or a self-employed bricklayer, it is worth paying close attention to the terms and conditions that are included in each and every one of your contracts. The terms and conditions of your contracts are representative of how you run your business, they either protect you from risk or subject you to it. Terms and conditions allow your business to run smoothly by defining the parameters of each job you are contracted to do. A clear set of terms and conditions will give you peace of mind because you’ll know exactly where you and your employees stand at all times, in every situation.
What are the most effective terms and conditions for protecting my bricklaying business?
Terms and conditions are vital in protecting you and your business from the unpredictable nature of people who hire you. It is rare to complete a job where everything has gone smoothly, and for a bricklayer, a change of plans can mean days, or even weeks, of work could be wasted. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance that as a bricklayer, you include terms and conditions in every contract to prevent you from being susceptible to changes of mind on the part of the people who require your services. The main way in which you can protect yourself and your employees from such changes of plans, is by inserting a clause into your terms and conditions that states that you should be reimbursed for all work done on the original plan.
Even if you are reimbursed, changes to the original plans can leave you in an extremely difficult situation. In many cases, the changes require you to do work which is unreasonable in light of what you originally agreed to. However, because you are already invested in the project, and have a contract with either the building company or owner of the property, it can be difficult to escape this situation without incurring financial loss or loss to your reputation. Terms and conditions are a way in which you can protect yourself from such a situation. By inserting a term into your contract that states that any change of plans would make the work subject to a new negotiation of the contract, you protect yourself from financial loss, and provide yourself with an easy and legally sound way out, if the change of plans is not to your liking.
What other terms and conditions should I include?
Weather: Weather is a consideration in the forefront of the mind of every bricklayer. It is an unfortunate reality of the job that sometimes you simply have to wait for the rain to stop before you can earn your money. Although you know this, the property owners may not. Therefore, you should always have terms and conditions in your contract relating to the weather. The most appropriate place to include this would be in the section where you agree upon a timeframe.
Safety: The safety of all workers should be protected in the terms and conditions of your business. This should be done through their employment contracts, and also included in all contracts you make for bricklaying. Terms that relate to workers’ safety might include things like the adequate provision of lighting if working indoors, or ensuring all scaffolding is erected before work commences if your employees are working from a height.
Do I need previous legal experience?
You do not need previous legal experience to write terms and conditions into contracts for your business. If you wish to attempt to do this yourself, further guidance can be found in LegalVision’s definitive guide to writing terms and conditions for your business here. Having said that, the reality is that the only way to be certain that your terms and conditions properly protect your business is to receive legal advice from a trained professional. In addition, legal advice will provide you with the added peace of mind of having someone trained in the legal profession, who has significant knowledge of your business and the way it operates. It is advisable that even if you write the terms and conditions of your business yourself, you receive legal advice on whether or not they would be valid in a court of law.
Whether you are starting a new bricklaying business, or looking to expand your existing bricklaying business, it is crucial that you put some thought into the terms and conditions you include in each and every one of your contracts. However, many business owners have neither the time, nor the legal knowledge, to create the comprehensive list of terms and conditions that they need for their business. In that case, the examples provided above should help you to gain an understanding of the areas in which your business needs to be protected, and allow you to create a scaffold of how to improve your business and protect it from liability. If you do feel that you need more assistance, contact Legal Vision for a fixed-fee quote.