Running a cleaning business can be extremely profitable and rewarding. The demand for cleaning services is ever-increasing, and profit margins can be high. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you have well-drafted legal contracts in place to protect your business. Contracts are important because they outline the expectations for both parties and protect both parties if expectations are not met. Contracts also lock in the price that your customers will pay for your services, which makes things easier to resolve if any disputes arise. This article outlines some of the key legal contracts your cleaning business needs.

Service Agreement

A service agreement is a legally binding document between:

  • you, as the service provider; and
  • your client, who is receiving the services. 

Having a service agreement between your business and your clients is crucial. This is because it ensures that all of the terms of the arrangement are clearly set out. Your service agreement mitigates any risks and, in the event of a future dispute, you can refer back to what is stated within it.

Services Provided

This section of the agreement will detail the services you will be providing to your client. You should specify the areas you will be cleaning, and the types of cleaning you will do. It is very important to ensure that you are very specific when determining the services you are providing in an agreement. In many cases, disputes arise because the scope of the work to be provided was not clear. The more detail you include in your agreement, the less likely a dispute will arise between your business and client.

For example, if you have a corporate client, you should outline whether you will be cleaning all the floors of their office or just the ones in the kitchen and bathrooms. You should also outline whether you will be cleaning any windows or walls.

Supply of Cleaning Products

To avoid any confusion, it is also helpful to set out who will be providing and maintaining the cleaning materials and products. The agreement should outline:

  • whether you will supply the cleaning products for your clients; or
  • if your clients have their own cleaning products they prefer you to use.

If you are responsible for providing and maintaining the cleaning products, you should factor this into the rates you charge.

Period of Work

Your service agreement should state whether you will be providing cleaning services on a:

  • one-off basis; or
  • regular basis.

If it is on a regular basis, this should detail how often you are to perform the cleaning services for and for what period of time you are engaged in this contract.

For example, a contract might set out that you will clean a premises one day per week and the contract term is for a period of 2 years. 

Entering and Exiting Premises

Your agreement should outline how your clients will provide you with access to the premises they need you to clean.

For example, the contract should outline whether you will be provided with keys or an access card to the building, or if someone with access to the building will let you in.

You should also be clear about whether there are specific procedures you need to follow when entering or exiting the premises.

For example, if you are cleaning an office space and accessing the premises after business hours, you may need to disable any alarms when entering and re-enable any alarms before leaving. 

You should detail all this information in your service agreement. 

Fees and Payment Terms

To ensure your business is successful and cash flow is well managed, your service agreement must state how much you charge your clients. You should include clauses relating to how overtime will be charged for jobs that take longer than initially expected, or are at unsociable hours.

You may also wish to charge additional fees for: 

  • providing and maintaining cleaning products; or
  • travel expenses.

Your agreement should set out how clients should pay you and the terms of the invoice. 

For example, you should consider whether you will:

  • charge for each job in advance;
  • require a deposit;
  • charge clients on the day of the job; or
  • invoice regular clients with a set period of time in which they must make payment.

Your agreement should also detail the number of days a client has to pay an invoice and what to do if payment is late. In some cases, you may want to include charging interest on payments that are not made within the set timeframe. 

Cancellations

Your service agreement should state when your clients can cancel your services and on what basis they may do so.

For example, you could outline that you will: 

  • request a cancellation fee; or 
  • refuse to refund a deposit if a client makes a cancellation within 24 or 48 hours of the job.

Termination 

Your Service Agreement should detail how clients can terminate the contract. 

For example, if you have a client that is locked in for a two-year term and they wish to terminate the contract before the end of that period, the service agreement should detail how and when they can do so.

You may choose for them not to be able to terminate for convenience. Or, you may require a notice period, such as a 30 day notice period, so you have time to find another regular client and manage cash flow.

Disputes

Your service agreement should have a dispute resolution clause which will detail how disputes are to be handled if one was to arise. This may require parties to attempt mediation before any disputes can be taken to court and can reduce the legal costs you will need to bear if you do end up in a dispute with your client.

Liability 

Your service agreement should limit your businesses liability to the fullest extent possible under the law. The agreement will clearly set out limitations on your liability, and this clause will limit whether someone can sue you for breaching your contract. It should also limit the amount of damages (i.e. compensation) you will be required to pay if you were in breach of your contract or if something was damaged whilst you were providing cleaning services. 

Why Is a Service Agreement So Important?

For all the above reasons, it is crucial that you have a contract in place between yourself and your clients. This way, all issues are detailed in one central document, and both parties are clear on how the arrangement is going to work. 

It provides less room for arguments or disputes about the work you will perform and the money the client will pay. How a client can terminate the contract or cancel work will also be clearly outlined, meaning you will not be left with clients cancelling on you at the last minute. 

If a dispute were to arise, your liability would be limited. This puts you at a lower risk, and the agreement will outline how that dispute is to be handled. Both parties will be clear on their rights and obligations under the agreement, and it makes for a smooth relationship going forward.

Employment or Contractor Agreement

If you engage any workers to assist you in providing your cleaning services to clients, it is important to have the appropriate agreement between your business and your workers. 

If your workers are employees, you must have an employment agreement in place. Similarly, if they are contractors, you must have a contractor agreement in place. You must correctly classify your workers as either employees or contractors to provide them with the appropriate entitlements. If you incorrectly classify your workers, you may be subject to fines and have to pay your workers entitlements on top of what you have already paid them.

Your employment and contractor agreements will outline the arrangement you have with your workers, including information on:

  • their expectations regarding work;
  • prohibited conduct;
  • payment;
  • termination; and
  • restraint of trade.

If You Use a Website to Promote Your Cleaning Business

Website Terms of Use

If you use a website to promote your cleaning services, you should have a website terms of use document published on your site. This legal document outlines how people can use your website. You can also use it to limit your legal responsibility from any issues that might arise from a visitor using your website. Website terms of use also address disclaimers related to the content you have published on your website.

For example, it will detail that you own all of the content you have posted on your website, including any photos you have taken of your cleaning work. This will prevent people from copying or using any of your content without your permission.

Privacy Policy

If you collect, use and disclose any personal information from your clients, having a privacy policy can assist with managing your legal risk. In certain circumstances, you may be legally required to have a privacy policy. If you collect personal information from your clients, a privacy policy will be necessary. Personal information may include your client’s:

  • name; 
  • phone number;
  • email address; and 
  • street address. 

Your privacy policy will outline: 

  • what personal information your business collects; 
  • how you use personal information;
  • under what circumstances you can disclose the information to third parties; and
  • your client’s rights regarding their personal information.

Key Takeaways

Running a cleaning business can be both challenging and incredibly rewarding. To ensure that your business is best protected, having well-drafted legal documents in place and understanding your legal requirements is important. If you need assistance with drafting any contracts for your cleaning business, contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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