NO MORE HANDSHAKES
Back in the early days of our business, it was common for the BSC and customer to agree on the service to be done and the investment per month, then shake hands and the agreement was done. You're right, life was much simpler then but the times and our lives have changed.
Now we have to put in writing EVERYTHING to cover as many bases as possible. New laws and executive orders keep coming and I hope you are doing everything possible to protect yourself. While I can't, in this short space, cover all the items you should include in a service agreement, there are a couple I want to be sure you have in your agreement,
1. A "notice to cure" clause whereby the customer is required to give you a written 30 day notice to correct deficiencies BEFORE a termination letter is issued. "Stuff" does happen and this gives you the opportunity to "cure" the deficiency.
2. Spell out specifically what triggers price increases. With so many states in the USA raising their minimum wages it is critical that you have a clause (and formula) for computing the increase. There are other triggers as well such as insurance, workers compensation, supplies and equipment cost that can warrant an increase. Be sure you have the information documented and be able to show the customer how you arrived at the requested increase. I don't believe in an automatic annual increase because that creates an atmosphere of "bidding" every year and your responsibility is to provide quality customer satisfaction and not setting up an automatic mechanism that calls attention to the need for your customer to check pricing.
3. I suggest you put in a paragraph that outlines what happens in the event the customer "steals" your employees. Happens all the time. Don't get angry. Put a clause in your agreement that says if the customer hires one of your employees they will pay you a recruiting and training fee of a x % of the annual wages of that employee (I used 15%). Don't treat it as a penalty but rather a recruiting and training fee for if you had not recruited such excellent employees your customer would not be trying to hire them. Think of all the dollars you saved them in recruiting fees by hiring your employee.
There are several others which are important as well but space here does permit listing all of them. I do encourage you to purchase our DVD entitled "Key Items to Include in Your Customer Service Agreement". It is available on our web site at www.consultantsincleaning.com.
and includes those other important clauses and paragraphs to include. Once you are on our web site, just go to orders and scroll down to the DVD information to order. We'll both be glad you ordered. It is a very inexpensive way to get the items you need into an agreement.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT. We do not offer legal advice and you should always check with your attorney on any legal document you are considering.
NOTE: Look for an announcement soon on our upcoming webinar series.
Till next time.