Are you an electrician working as a contractor directly for clients, or a sub-contractor to a builder?
You need a Client Agreement between you and each client. This includes Terms and Conditions which set out the scope of your work and what you are responsible for to help strengthen your rights to be paid and to limit your liability.
If you are an employee or contractor, you need an Employment or Contractors Agreement which set out the work expected and the rights and obligations of each party.
Your Client Agreement comprises of your Quote and your legal Terms and Conditions. A well-drafted Client Agreement should include the following:
- Quote – a good template will have places for you to fill in client specific details. Once the client has signed the Quote, they have accepted the Quote together with the attached Terms and Conditions.
- Services – you should describe clearly the services that you will provide, and this will determine the scope of work that you are performing for your client.
- Fees – the Quote should include a description of your fees and this can be an hourly rate or fixed fee.
- Payment terms – this needs to be set out clearly to ensure that you are paid for your services. You need to decide whether you wish to be paid per invoice, paid in advance or paid at the completion of the service, and you need to clearly convey this to the client.
- Price variation – A common issue with electrical services is that more work is required than is originally quoted. Well drafted Terms and Conditions can help mitigate problems with payment and work scope. You can set out that you will discuss extra work with the client before it is performed, or if it is not practical to do so, that you will do the extra work required then invoice the client at your agreed hourly rate.
- Accessing underground locations – if the work requires you to access any underground locations, the client needs to tell you the exact location of any underground electrical services on the site, and also the location of underground gas, sewer, pumping, water, oil pipes and cable services. You can state that whilst all due care is taken, the client will indemnify you against any loss or damage that you cause or suffer, as a result of accessing the underground locations.
- Limitation of liability and disclaimers – you should list out what you will not be liable for. This may include any damage that is caused by factors beyond your control, the client’s own negligence or misuse, unauthorised modifications or repairs, and any damage that is caused by liquid, rust or corrosion.
- Consumer guarantees – whilst the Client Agreement is designed to protect you and your business, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) has mandatory consumer guarantees which apply to businesses which provide services. The ACL gives clients a right to a refund or replacement if there is a major failure with any service you provide and it is not possible to contract out of this.
Employment or Contractor’s Agreement
If you hire employees or contractors, it is important to have a written agreement which includes, among many other things, any Award, pay, safety, necessary qualifications and other requirements. You can also protect your business by adding a non-compete agreement , as a deterrent to clients poaching your staff or vice versa.
If you work as an electrician, you should speak to a lawyer and have a Client Agreement drafted. A well-drafted legal document can make a considerable difference to your business. Without a strong Client Agreement, you may face confusion, disputes, arguments about payment, and considerable liability. For more information, speak with one of LegalVision’s experienced business solicitors.
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