Whether it’s better to have contracts or no contracts for pest control-related business is a question that does not have the most obvious answer. In short, it depends on a few different factors. Primarily the type of client and what kind of services they are seeking.
In this overview, we’ll look at the purposes of a contract, what types of clients a contract will work better for, and the details you should include in a contract if you are making one of your own to make it as appealing as possible.
The Purpose Of a Contract
Contracts have been in use for a long time, so you likely already have a sense of how one functions, but if you don’t, its primary function is to establish the rules and regulations for all parties included in a transaction or arrangement. For pest control work, be it long-term or short-term, there is always a chance for things to go amiss in one way or another.
Sometimes, a minor inconvenience can arise and make the work in question more challenging to complete in the time and manner initially agreed upon, and other times a major issue can derail the entire operation. In both instances, it pays to have some form of service agreement for the one providing the services and the one receiving the services, which is the purpose of a contract.
For pest control specifically, contracts are not always utilized because of the type of work. When it comes to shorter-term work specifically, clients often see little need for a contract because they need work done for one or two days rather than multiple days or weeks’ worth of work.
We’ll go into further detail on this particular element of pest control work later in the overview, but for now, let’s move on to what information a pest control contract should include.
Details To Include In a Contract
There are general pieces of information that every contact should have, and then is also information that pest control contracts specifically should have. We’ll cover both areas below.
The Services Being Offered
Before establishing anything, the services on offer are what you should focus your attention on first. You may find it necessary to tweak this section in small ways depending on the client, but It should remain mostly the same unless the services you offer change.
It’s important to note that the information in this section can have no vague language because you want clients to understand the nature of the services you’re offering easily. Some areas of a contract can stand to have a little technical jargon thrown in, but this is not one of those sections.
Cover all aspects of the services on offer, including what they entail, how you will carry them out, and what they will and will not cover. For example, if you’re treating a house for specific insects like roaches, termites, and spiders, specifying that information is vital. You can’t afford to say that you will “treat the premises for insects” because that is too general.
If you do that, a client can complain that you only treated the premises for roaches, termites, and spiders when you said you would treat the premises for an unspecified number of insects, and they will have the language in the contract to prove it.
The amount of compensation the party receiving the services will provide is another crucial point in any contract. You don’t want confusion surrounding when, where, and how the client is to deliver compensation for the provided services, so clearly state when they need to deliver the payment.
It can be before or after the completion of the services. Additionally, if you want a portion of the total payment provided to you in advance of providing the services, include that in the contract. And even consider highlighting it so that there is no chance of the client missing it.
Payments amounts are often the easiest things to get right in any contract, but if you don’t take the time to ensure they are clear, you’ll leave yourself open to potentially experiencing all manner of issues down the line. So, make it a point to go over this particular section of your contract numerous times to ensure its accuracy.
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Schedule/Timeline Of Work
Pest control work can often vary in how long it will take. Some jobs are short while others are lengthy, and having a timeline in place is something that can most certainly benefit you in numerous areas.
The most significant benefit to having a timeline in the contract is keeping all parties involved on the same page with the work timeline. The more detailed you are in this section, the better. For example, if you plan to complete a certain amount of work over a week, it helps to spell out what work the client can expect to have done each day during that week.
This will keep everyone’s expectations in check and reduce any complaints of specific services not getting done, so long as the service providers adhere to the schedule/timeline. To give yourself some breathing room as the service provider, include some conditions allowing you to adjust the schedule if something delays your ability to work.
Like highly inclement weather or other unexpected roadblocks of a similar nature. Hopefully, you won’t have to use these exceptions too often, but it’s better to have them in place nonetheless.
Having terms of cancellation in a contract is a must. Every pest control provider hopes that they will have no issues providing their services to clients, but their chances are slim to none if they partake in enough jobs. Eventually, a situation will arise where you will need to cancel the provision of services to a client for one or more reasons.
Having specific terms of cancellation you can point to in the contract makes it considerably easier to carry out these cancellations. When coming up with this section of the contract, defining these terms is something you will have to work out on your own. One of the most important things to include in this section is a cancellation fee.
Some clients will always take issue with cancellation fees because of their nature, and nothing you can do will change that. However, having one in place is a great way to keep you and your employees from potentially losing out on all compensation for an incomplete job. It’s a fine line to tread on, and the last thing you want is to have unreasonable cancellation terms, but you can’t always cater to a client in this situation.
Finally, don’t forget to have a spot for signatures. This is the most obvious thing to have in any contract, as you cannot have pest control agreements between multiple parties without signatures. So, ensure you get signatures from the proper people. That way, you know who to contact for any information regarding the contract.
What Clients a Contract Will Matter More To
With the specifics of the contract details out of the way, let’s briefly go over what clients a contract will matter to more. That way, you can know what to expect when you bring up the idea of a contract to specific clients.
Some pest control companies use contracts for every client they do business with, while some only elect to use contracts in situations that make the most sense. These situations generally include working for establishments that benefit from regular treatment against pests.
The most common examples of this are stores, restaurants, motels, hotels, and similar establishments. Places like these are more prone to having pests like bed bugs and termites gather at alarming rates, and due to having to undergo health inspections to remain in business, these places require regular treatment for pests.
A contract makes plenty of sense in these situations because the work is long-term. Compare that with going to a neighborhood and offering your pest control services to a homeowner who does not need long-term service. It’s still good to have a contract in this case, but it isn’t as common, so don’t let it surprise you if a homeowner prefers to have pest control without a contract.
Contracts can prove a touchy subject for both you as a service provider and your clients. The information in them is often confusing in at least one or more areas, no matter how hard you try to keep it simple and compact, but in the bigger picture, contracts are something every business needs.
Whether you are trying to scale your pest control business or looking to better serve your current clients, contracts make you stand out as a professional pest company, and many clients appreciate having some form of written documentation that they can refer to for clarification. Because of this, it is highly advisable to put a great deal of time and effort into crafting a contract for your own pest control business.
The more refinement it has, the better it will serve as a bridge of trust between you and your clients, and the more confident you can all feel in the relationship.