Is e-mail a legally binding contract?

Mitty87

LawnSite Silver Member
With covid having some effect on the economy, it seems like we aren't getting as many 10k plus jobs this year so far. We are getting mostly little 1-2k jobs that we might do 2 in a day. I have been looking into Docusign electronic contracts or other e-contracts, but with so many of these little jobs I have not been using a printed contact, spending an hour to deliver and have it signed, etc.

Can I e-mail our contract and ask them to respond that they agree to our terms? I have been researching this a little bit today, it seems where I am, BC Canada, that this should hold up well enough.

We have managed to do 300k each of the last 2 years with no unpaid bills, but should increase that amount by 50% this year and I am just waiting for our first unpaid bill since 3 years ago (one $300 job).

I am always think of ways to ensure we can get paid on time, but drawing up and delivering 2 contracts every night seems like a bad use of my time, even if we got stiffed on half of a $2000 job every month or two, its still not worth it.
 

jetson

LawnSite Member
With covid having some effect on the economy, it seems like we aren't getting as many 10k plus jobs this year so far. We are getting mostly little 1-2k jobs that we might do 2 in a day. I have been looking into Docusign electronic contracts or other e-contracts, but with so many of these little jobs I have not been using a printed contact, spending an hour to deliver and have it signed, etc.

Can I e-mail our contract and ask them to respond that they agree to our terms? I have been researching this a little bit today, it seems where I am, BC Canada, that this should hold up well enough.

We have managed to do 300k each of the last 2 years with no unpaid bills, but should increase that amount by 50% this year and I am just waiting for our first unpaid bill since 3 years ago (one $300 job).

I am always think of ways to ensure we can get paid on time, but drawing up and delivering 2 contracts every night seems like a bad use of my time, even if we got stiffed on half of a $2000 job every month or two, its still not worth it.
What are u using? Our QuickBooks estimates have all that info on them. U can send over for signatures. Also u can use doc-u sign for all that stuff. I get my agreements sign thru QuickBooks emails.
 
OP
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Mitty87

LawnSite Silver Member
What are u using? Our QuickBooks estimates have all that info on them. U can send over for signatures. Also u can use doc-u sign for all that stuff. I get my agreements sign thru QuickBooks emails.
I use QuickBooks self employed, I think it’s a basic one, maybe $22 a month Canadian. I didn’t know there was such an option. Do you have an upgraded version?
 

jetson

LawnSite Member
Yes. U have to upgrade to online. Or QuickBooks online. It’s a much better version of QB and it’s 12 dollars ish a month but it has all the forms you will need..
 

TPendagast

LawnSite Fanatic
With covid having some effect on the economy, it seems like we aren't getting as many 10k plus jobs this year so far. We are getting mostly little 1-2k jobs that we might do 2 in a day. I have been looking into Docusign electronic contracts or other e-contracts, but with so many of these little jobs I have not been using a printed contact, spending an hour to deliver and have it signed, etc.

Can I e-mail our contract and ask them to respond that they agree to our terms? I have been researching this a little bit today, it seems where I am, BC Canada, that this should hold up well enough.

We have managed to do 300k each of the last 2 years with no unpaid bills, but should increase that amount by 50% this year and I am just waiting for our first unpaid bill since 3 years ago (one $300 job).

I am always think of ways to ensure we can get paid on time, but drawing up and delivering 2 contracts every night seems like a bad use of my time, even if we got stiffed on half of a $2000 job every month or two, its still not worth it.
yoir state/Provence may vary on whats law and what’s not
Typically anything in writing can stand up in court, it’s just dependent on how easy/expensive it is to get out of it or make it stick - variable being your local laws.

with that being said
Sign up for and use docu sign
Email the contract
They sign it via docu sign and that’s all legal like any signed contract
I bought my house and my Harley using docu sign
We use it now at our business for the same purpose you’re looking for right now (started in March)
 

Dr.NewEarth

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Vancouver Canada
I'm also in British Columbia. There are now precedents in the B.C. Supreme Court, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada (also U.S., Britain, Quebec etc.) which have allowed e-mails as binding contracts.(I will not cite legal precedents.) Signed contracts via Faxes are also considered legal in Canada.
The contract itself has to meet all requirements of your legal jurisdiction. Terms should state that, " acceptance of this contract can be made via e-mail".
Keeping an electronic file of all correspondence with each client is necessary. (conversely, so is a paper trail) Have the client respond "yes, they agree to the contract and terms" in an e-mail, if you can.
You have to prove to the court that you've had a back and forth conversation and agreement.
Legal fees and court costs can not be recouped from the client in B.C., even if you win the case.
Caveat: don't rely on information found in social media or chat rooms. Be pro-active. Consult with a lawyer.
Do your own web search for information relevant to your jurisdiction's laws. Re: contracts, labour laws etc.
I've owned TerraNovaLandscapingBC.com since the last century (1996)
ALWAYS use a written contract for your services. A hand shake isn't worth the paper it's written on. Peace.
 

Dr.NewEarth

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Vancouver Canada
I'll add this for reference:

To protect yourself, there are a few things you should be sure to include in every contract.

•Parties to the contract. Include the legal names and addresses of all parties.

•Scope. A clear, detailed description of the goods or services to be provided. Due dates are normally included here. Be as clear as possible; as we explain below, this is the one most commonly disputed parts of a contract.

•Price and payment terms. Be sure to include not only the amount, but also when payment is due, the length of time the purchaser has to pay, and any interest charges that will be applied to late payments.

•Responsibilities. Try to anticipate what could go wrong. For example, missing a deadline can have consequences.

•Terms and conditions. This is where lawyers have a lot of fun. Typical things to include here are limitations of liability, terms for amending or terminating the contract, warranties and disclaimers.

•Signatures. You will want to include the signature, typed name, and title of each signatory as well as the date signed for each signatory.


Remember, the more precise the wording of a contract is, the less open it will be to interpretation and dispute.
 
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