If you offer cleaning services, good legal documents can help you build a strong working relationship from the start, and demonstrate your commitment to high-quality service. Legal agreements set out the scope of the work you are to provide, the rights and obligations of each party, and disclaim and limit liability.

You and your clients

The key legal document between you and your clients is a Client Agreement. It is a legally binding contract. This is made up of:

  • Proposal: a proposal or quote which is tailored to each client; and
  • Terms and Conditions: your legal terms and conditions to protect your business interests, which are standard for each client.

The Client Agreement will cover a range of important issues, including the following:

  • Parties – you and your client’s details including the client company or business name, and also the address of each premise that you will be cleaning. The Client Agreement can be used over and over again for each client by changing the details of the client.
  • Cleaning services – clearly list out the services that your business will perform for the client. The more detail there is, the less likely that a misunderstanding or dispute will arise between you and your client.
  • Cleaning materials and products – it may be helpful to set out who will provide the materials and products, and who is responsible for maintaining the materials and products.
  • Period of work – will it be a one-off clean or will it be a regular clean for e.g. weekly or fortnightly?
  • Rates – set out the charge rates per hour of cleaning or per job, and also set out if there are any overtime charges for jobs which take longer than expected.
  • Fees and charges – think about whether or not you will have any additional fees or charges for providing cleaning materials and products, or if you have to travel further to the premises.
  • Payment terms – it is important to set out how payment will be made and what the invoice terms will be. Will you charge for each job in advance or on the day, or will you be sending periodic invoices to your regular clients?
  • Cancellations – set out what rights the client has to cancel your services and on what terms. You can request that if cleaning services are cancelled within 24 or 48 hours, that a cancellation fee will apply, or if your client wishes to cancel the entire cleaning contract, you may wish to stipulate a notice period.
  • Entering and exiting the premises – for all cleaning contracts, you should outline how access to the premises will be provided and if there are certain procedures to be followed when entering or exiting certain premises.
  • Complaints and refunds – you can protect your business by inserting a complaints clause. This clause can state that complaints will be fully investigated and that if you are at fault, you will arrange for your employees or contractors to do the job again or you may wish to offer a full refund.
  • Australian Consumer Law (ACL) requirements – a complaints procedure and refund policy is important because the ACL applies to you if you are providing services to a consumer. The ACL requires that you provide mandatory consumer guarantees, including a refund or re-doing the services, if the services were not performed to the required standard. This is why the scope of the services need to be clearly set out. 

You and your employees/contractors

If you have employees, you require an Employment Agreement. If you have contractors, you need a Contractors Agreement. Both agreements need to cover a variety of issues such as the standard of work required, term and termination, prohibited conduct, non-compete, and also any awards or minimum wages.

Website Terms of Use

If your business has a website, you need a Website Terms of Use. These apply to every website visitor, protect your website and limit your liability for your website. The Terms claim your copyright and intellectual property rights, and set out permissible and prohibited uses of your website, including that competitors cannot use your website information.

Privacy Policy

If you collect, use and disclose personal information from customers, including using the information for direct marketing, you need a Privacy Policy, to assist you to comply with the Privacy Act.  The Privacy Policy is between you and each person that you collect personal information from. It sets out what personal information your business collects, how this information is used, and under what circumstances the information will be disclosed to third parties.

To conclude

A strong Client Agreement can demonstrate your professional standards and commitment to quality. A good Employment or Contractors Agreement will help you maintain those standards and quality. These legal documents address a wide range of important issues and practicalities, and are designed to work together to protect and strengthen your business. To speak with a qualified contract solicitor, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755.

Ursula Hogben

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