A client agreement explains what you will do for the customer, when you’ll do it and for how much. It should also politely make clear what isn’t included. The more detail you include in writing, the better covered you will be if there are disputes later. These are the essential things to cover.
State how many days the job should take, and any start and finish dates that you have agreed with the client. Also include what access you will need to the property and when: if that access is cut back, it’s important to be clear that the job will take longer.
Include the total fee and a detailed breakdown so clients are clear about where the money is going: how much is material, labour, equipment hire, etc. Include any agreements about split payments – it’s always a good idea to get paid in instalments, or at least get some payment before you begin the job. Include details of any extra charges if payments are late, along with how much you should be paid if the client cancels a job before it’s finished. See ‘The importance of split invoicing’ for more.
Scope of work
A scope of work is a step-by-step guide to all the tasks the project will involve: preparation work, the areas to be decorated, the number of layers, the materials to be used and any cleaning. Also be clear on anything you’re not planning to cover, such as removing furniture. See ‘How to agree an accurate scope of work’ for more.
Colours and finish
The agreement should include the exact colour codes or names and the total area and surfaces to be covered, as agreed with the customer, including any specific finishes. Also make it clear whether the cost of the paint is included in the fee.
Are there any terms and conditions that you always include? Is it useful to insist on having a parking space or running water, electric sockets and a toilet? Don’t be afraid to add detail, but remember that this is a two-way agreement. Offering guarantees and details of your insurance policy can also help to make clients feel more comfortable.