by John Michael Hivatal
I have been in the millwork industry for over 20 years. My background includes bench work (assembly and seat-of-the-pants construction), running CNCs and programming, running AutoCAD and programming, and project management.
I run two companies. JMHsoftware is the developer of Quick Draw, a suite of programs that run inside AutoCAD to help speed up the drafting process. Visit jmhsoftware.com for more info. JMH Drafting is a millwork drafting service that also works with Millwork Detail Services. Visit our website at millworkdetailservices.com.
Disclaimer: Any documents or advice provided by John Michael Hivatal and published at WOODWEB are for discussion purposes only and should not be viewed or taken as actual legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact a licensed professional.
Contracts in general
Someone once said, ďA contract is only as good as the intentions of the parties that sign it.Ē In this lawsuit-happy world, you only have to watch the news one night to see that this is very true.
A contract can range from a simple verbal agreement to a complex multi-page document. Verbal contracts are harder to dispute and require that you have a lot of credible witnesses on your side. People seem to get ďselective amnesiaĒ when the deal goes sour. Itís always best to lay out in writing exactly what is expected of both sides.
Larger companies deal in heavily-worded contracts to cover their corporate butts and can afford attorneys to decipher all of the legal mumbo-jumbo. This is usually not the case for smaller companies in our field. Contracts donít have to contain big, scary words that most of us donít understand. They can be written in laymanís terms, but are subject to various interpretations if they become a legal issue.
When asked to sign a contract, make sure you understand all of the stipulations before you sign it. If you don't understand it, have a professional look it over and explain it to you. When presenting a contract, make sure all parties understand fully what is contained in the document.
Below is a link to a sample contract that I put together to use with my subcontractors. Iím sure a lawyer would rip it apart - thatís a lawyer's job.
I used MS Word and created fields with dialog boxes to fill out the document. If you want to see how the macro works, open the document in Word.
Any text in < > will need to be replaced with your information.
Go to the Tools drop down menu, then Macro, then Macros.
Save the document as a .dot (Word template).
When you want to use it, open Word, go to File, select New, and choose it from the dialog box. Fill out the dialog boxes, then save it wherever you want.