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DVS Hardscaper
09-20-2011, 12:47 PM
I like my contracts to be clean and crisp. I do not like my contracts to have hand written changes, strikes, etc.

My mindset is this - if for some reason litigation were to arise I do not want a piece of paper full of hand written changes, additions, strikes to be seen by a judge. I think it looks messy and unprofessional.

I had a client sign a proposal and mailed it to me. I never even looked at the proposal, just filed it away. Come to find out they HAND WROTE a statement on there as part of the job!

Ok, Ok! Now it's time to insert a line that says "any handwritten changes, alterations, strikes, erasures, yadda yadda yadda, are null & Void....."


Anyone else here have experiences with clients hand writing malarkey on your contracts and expecting them to be binding?

(also) Anyone have a statement saying "this proposal supersedes all prior communications..."??

SVA_Concrete
09-20-2011, 01:14 PM
Yes ours has both.... as well as a clause about changes by inspectors or red lines on stamped plans.

Often our contracts are signed before the plans are reviewed and approved.
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Patriot Services
09-20-2011, 01:59 PM
Time to call the customer and discuss his alteration of the contract. Especially if it affects the bottom line or design integrity. I personally witness all customer signatures on large jobs. Down payment is collected at same time so there is no "that's not my siganture" shenanagans.
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GroundOneMN
09-20-2011, 04:04 PM
Have that statement in there, however will accept a note or two as long as it is initialed by both client and rep.

Cam.at.Heritage
09-20-2011, 04:09 PM
Have that statement in there, however will accept a note or two as long as it is initialed by both client and rep.

Same thing, if my signature and the clients are not beside the change then it doesn't happen. If there are a lot of changes I will just type up a new one, 5 mins saves a lot of headaches in the long run.

PaperCutter
09-23-2011, 09:03 AM
My attorney calls it a "four corners clause." I can give you his info (he's just down in Tysons Corner), may not be bad to get a contract review.

Dr.NewEarth
09-23-2011, 11:55 AM
I type into the contract, the dates of previous communications and also keep them on file.

JoeyDipetro
09-25-2011, 09:51 AM
Time to call the customer and discuss his alteration of the contract. Especially if it affects the bottom line or design integrity. I personally witness all customer signatures on large jobs. Down payment is collected at same time so there is no "that's not my siganture" shenanagans.
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That's great. We go a step further and actually videotape our customer's signing our proposals as well as any change orders. You can never be too safe.:)

Bru75
09-25-2011, 10:34 AM
I make my clients put a drop of blood next to the signature. You can't go wrong with DNA evidence.
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JimLewis
09-26-2011, 11:00 PM
I agree with Patriot. 99% of the time, I am there in person to go over the contract and witness every signature. They don't sign the contract without me going over the entire thing in front of them, me handing them the pen, and me saying, "So if that's all acceptable, I need you to sign here." In other words, I lead them through the contract signing.

If anything comes up as I am going over the contract that they want changed or altered, I go back to my truck, make the change, hit the print button, and go back inside and go over the contract again. No surprises - ever.

There are situations, however, where I do end up emailing the contract and having them send it back to me. Sometimes it's just inevitable with my busy schedule and theirs. I will try everything to avoid that. But sometimes that's how it has to go down. For me, that accounts for about 1% of the time. And in that case, I have some firm rules that I mind when I do it. 1) The contract gets sent over in PDF form only, so they can't change anything. 2) My signature is not on the contract. I will send them back a copy with my signature only AFTER I've had a chance to receive the one they signed and check it over. 3) They have either already paid the deposit over the phone (by credit card) or they have included a deposit check with the contract in the mail. Otherwise, I'm not signing the contract.

The good thing is that if you haven't started work yet, then there's no problem. He added things AFTER you signed and that doesn't count. So you just need to make sure you're on the same page when the project begins. If it were me, I'd call him back and say that his handwritten changes aren't legal and that you need to revise it and get this new copy signed before you can begin work. If the changes are something that is going to cost extra, then you either increase the amount your charging or he removes the handwritten stipulations. Easy. If he doesn't want to do either, then I'd return his deposit and ask him to find someone else. Simple.