Legally enforceable commercial janitorial contracts aren’t just about protection; they’re about clear communication.
As much as we hope every client interaction is easy and stress-free, sometimes we have to rely on our commercial janitorial contracts to resolve disputes. This isn’t to say your clients are out to get you. That’s rarely the case.
However, legally sound contracts can help us answer questions, define what we’ve agreed to, and set the parameters for doing business together.
There’s a saying that good fences make good neighbors. Contracts are like fences in that they let us do our work and build relationships while the “messy” stuff stays in the background keeping things running smoothly.
Contracts aren’t anything to fear, either. At their base, they simply establish the details of the relationship. In the case of commercial janitorial contracts, you are promising to do specific work for your client. In turn, your client promises to pay you a specified amount by a certain date. But what makes a contract legal or not?
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How to Ensure Your Commercial Janitorial Contracts are Solid
Let’s first look at the elements of commercial janitorial contracts – or any contract, really.
- An offer: For example, you offer to clean an office building five evenings per week in exchange for an amount of money the other party will pay you on the first of each month.
- An acceptance: The other party must agree to the offer.
- Agreement: Both parties must have time to consider the contract and agree to the terms.
- Contract expiration: Most contracts, including commercial janitorial contracts, have an expiration of some type. When included, you and the other party might agree that the contract can end with a 30-day written or verbal notice, 90 days from the start date, or whatever works for you both and is reasonable.
That is, of course, a very basic outline. There are a few other necessary factors for a legally valid contract.
- Parties need to be capable of entering into contracts. For example, both parties need to be legal adults in most cases. And they need to be able to comprehend and understand the agreement.
- There also needs to be a willingness to agree to the contract. In other words, you can’t force someone into a legal agreement, nor can someone force you into one.
- One other factor is that the contract needs to reference legal activities. It’s hard to imagine this would be a problem with commercial janitorial contracts, but it’s good to be aware. For example, your contract to clean the hidden lair of a supervillain might not be enforceable should they decide not to pay you.
Interestingly, a contract can be verbal and still be legally enforceable. However, the details of a verbal contract can be open to interpretation and dispute, should it come to that. Therefore, it’s best if your commercial janitorial contracts are in writing. Aside from that, your clients will likely expect you to have a written contract, as it seems more professional.
Now, before you worry that this is just more paperwork to deal with, there’s some good news. A large portion of your contract will already be detailed in your cleaning proposal.
Your proposal includes all the details of your responsibilities, such as how often you’ll clean a facility and what that includes. Whatever you and your client discuss in the walkthrough, such as whether or not you or the client will supply paper products, will already be in the bid and can slip right into your contract.
And since your bid is already detailed, your contract will specify everything from the frequency of cleaning, the spaces and surfaces to be cleaned, and your rates for that work. These are all the same details that help make your contract a reliable document.
Lastly is that you still need signatures. These may be handwritten or digital via a platform like DocuSign.
How can a contract help you
While commercial janitorial contracts might feel like something you’re “supposed” to do, they can also be very helpful. Even without the possibility of legal issues, contracts can make clear the expectations for both you and your clients.
Contracts detail the specifics of your agreement. And since they’re written down, you and your clients can look back at the contract for any questions, such as when invoices are due, what supplies you each need to provide for the work, start dates, or questions about holidays.
In other words, contracts aren’t just about protecting yourself in the event of legal action. They help define the relationship.
One last thing I’ll add is that everything you read here is just for information. But since contracts are legally binding, it’s worth consulting a professional lawyer with questions about your contracts. Once you have a template, you likely won’t need to consult with a lawyer again, and it will be money well spent.
If you’re ready to increase the professionalism of your cleaning operation through better organization, easy access to important data, unparalleled tracking, and more, schedule a call with JM today!