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If you are running a commercial painting business, or are considering doing so, one of the most important steps to take is ensuring that you have a solid client agreement to set out your relationship with your client. Your client agreement should clearly explain what services you are providing and for what cost and contain clauses that exclude your liability. Your client agreement will ensure that you and your client are clear on what is being provided. Additionally, it will help to reduce the risk of disputes happening down the track. Not having a client agreement could expose you to costly, or at the very least inconvenient, complaints or disputes that you will need to deal with. This article will: 

  • explain why a client agreement is important when you run a painting business; and 
  • explore the most important clauses that your client agreement should contain. 

Why Do You Need a Client Agreement as a Painter?

A well-drafted client agreement will ensure that as few things go wrong as possible while providing painting services to your clients. Some examples of the sorts of things that can go wrong include that your:

  • client might provide you with incorrect information, such as the number of rooms that require painting, the colour they want their walls painted, or even their address;
  • expected timeframe for completing a job might be pushed out due to events outside of your control;
  • client might be delayed in paying you for your work;
  • client’s child might spill your paint on the carpet; and
  • client might insist that you use a certain type of paint to paint the exteriors when you know that this paint does not last well against the elements. Your client might come back to you in two years, requesting that you re-perform the work for free. 

Having clauses that address these possibilities will reduce the risk of each of these problems causing further issues. 

What Needs to be Included in a Client Agreement for a Painting Business?

Clear Scope of Work

Your client agreement should be set out in such a way that both parties very clearly understand exactly what services you are providing. For painting services, you might specify which rooms you will paint and in what colour. You might also agree on the timeframes and deadlines. However, your client agreement should contain clauses that deal with what happens where these timeframes are extended due to circumstances beyond your control. 

Your Client’s Obligations 

Even though you are providing the painting services, there are a number of things you might need from your client. For example:

  • permission to access to their premises, including any keys or access codes;
  • clear and prompt instructions on what to paint and in what colour;
  • permission to leave materials (such as paints, rollers and drop sheets) at the premises; and
  • permission to keep unused paint.

Price and Payment Terms

Your client agreement should clearly set out: 

  • how much you will charge for your services; and
  • whether your cost is calculated on an hourly rate or whether it is a fixed fee. 

Your agreement should also set out when and how payment is to be made. For example, will you charge a deposit upfront and the rest upon completion of the work? You should also address what you can do if your client fails to pay. For instance, you might pause providing the painting services and charge interest on overdue invoices. 

Having these things clearly spelled out in your client agreement will ensure that your client knows exactly when to pay and understands the consequences of not paying on time. 

Warranties

You might choose to specify: 

  • how long your paintwork will last;
  • how your client can request for you to rectify any defects; and
  • for how long you will offer a warranty. 

When you do offer a warranty, there is mandatory wording that is required. Therefore, it is best to ask a lawyer to prepare your client agreement as they will include the correct wording. 

Exclusions to Liability

As a service provider, there are certain guarantees that you cannot exclude under the contract. Services you provide to consumers must be (among other things):

  • provided with acceptable care and skill; 
  • fit for the purpose or give the results that you promised; and
  • delivered within a reasonable time.

However, in your client agreement, you will certainly want to exclude liability where possible, including for:

  • things outside of your control such as poor weather conditions;
  • information or materials provided by your client; 
  • your client’s actions; and 
  • any services provided by a third party.

Key Takeaways

While you might have a great relationship with many of your clients, there are a number of things that can go wrong when supplying your painting services. The risks of these things happening will only increase as your business grows. It is important to have a clear client agreement in place with your clients. This is so that you are on the same page as your client and limits the risk of disputes escalating down the track. For assistance preparing your client agreement so that you can carry on your painting work with confidence, contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a client agreement?

A client agreement should clearly explain what services you are providing, the cost of those services and should contain clauses that exclude your liability. It will ensure that you and your client are clear on what is being provided and reduce the risk of disputes happening down the track.

What warranties may be included in a client agreement?

You might choose to specify how long your paintwork will last, how your client can request for you to rectify any defects and for how long you will offer a warranty. 

What can I exclude liability for in my client agreement?

There are certain guarantees that you are not able to exclude liability for. However, you may be able to exclude liability for things outside of your control such as poor weather conditions, information or materials provided by your client, your client’s actions and any services provided by a third party.

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