3 Must-Have Contract Clauses

by Patrick D. McGuiness
12/3/2013

Winter is here, time to get some office work done!

We hope you have had a great year! Here is a little bit of information to make your contracts better.  If you haven't already, check out our new website  (www.zmattorneys.com) where we will continue to post great articles and advice for green industry businesses.

3 Must Have Contract Clauses

Now that winter is here and you have some time to catch up on administrative work, take the time to review your contracts. No matter what kind of business you operate, there are important elements that should be a part of every contract. Read on to find out what they are, and make sure you have your contract up to date.

1. An Attachments/Merger Clause: This clause lists any other documents which are intended to become a part of the contract being signed. Typically, it will list documents by title, date, or some other identifying information. A bid sheet, cost estimate, or proposal is often one of the documents being attached. Other commonly attached documents include project designs, plans, renderings, materials specifications, and warranty information. Attaching the right documents eliminates confusion and gets everyone 'on the same page'.

2. A Promotional Use Clause: As a part of your contract, make sure you get permission to take pictures and video of the project for use in future marketing materials. If you use promotional yard signs, you will want to mention those in the clause, and how long they will be left on site for. Better to get permission first as a part of your contract than to have the property owner sue you for using pictures of their property without prior permission.

3. Utilities Clause: If you will be doing any digging as a part of the project, your company is responsible for getting the public utilities marked at the jobsite. But what about the private utilities like the irrigation, invisible pet fencing, or privately run electric lines between a home and a detached garage? Make sure that the property owner knows they are responsible for marking the private utilities and will be responsible for any damages resulting from unmarked or mis-marked private utilities. 

About the author: Patrick D. McGuiness, a confessed "recovering landscape contractor", is an award-winning  consultant, speaker, author and attorney. He consults for a variety of green industry organizations on contracts, human resources and employment law. Contact him at pmcguiness@zmattorneys.com.