Four Things to Know about Home Improvement Contracts

Most contractors know they must follow the guidelines of the Home Improvement Act if they want to get paid for all of their hard work. However, it is not just contractors that need to comply with the act. Different contracts may be appropriate for different situations, and there may be some (rare) situations that do not require a written contract. Our experience has shown that there are four different types of Home Improvement Contracts any company doing construction, repair, or restoration work should have ready before taking any job.

  1. Basic Home Improvement Contract.  This is your everyday contract for the jobs that you have been able to fully plan and discuss with the client.  This contract should contain the entire agreement between your business and the customer, including the dates for the project to begin and end, the contractor’s name, address and registration number, and signature lines for both you and the customer. 
  2. Change Order Contract.  While this contract may be the simplest, it is often the most important.  How often have you been in the middle of a job and when a home owner decides they want something different than what was in the original contract? This type of contract allows you and the homeowner to quickly change the original contract without having to draw up a whole big contract again. While this may seem simple and not necessary, we have seen many clients who have not used these and lost out on several thousands of dollars they should have been owed because of it.
  3. Emergency Mitigation Contract.  This is for those whose business is emergency cleanup and mitigation services.  Those who preform these services all know those times when they are called by a panicked homeowner who has a leak in their basement, a backed up septic tank, or a heating system failing when the temperature outside is close to zero degrees.  While the emergency nature of the call is obvious, you have no way of knowing the extent of the work you’ll have to preform, and the home owner surely would rather you get to work immediately without them having to sign a document, you need to have something in writing before you start or you could be on the hook for all the work for that job.
  4. Contracts with Businesses.  Contracts with businesses are peculiar because while an overview of the Home Improvement Act would suggest you don’t necessarily have to follow the prescriptions of the act when the customer is a business, this doesn’t hold true in all situations.  Contracts with business may not have to be as specific as contracts with individuals, but there are exceptions to every rule and if you are not careful, you could wind up without any way to recover what you are owed.

To make sure you are fully covered, it is best to have an attorney draft or review your existing contracts.

For assistance with any legal needs relating to drafting or revising your contracts, or any of your other business or estate planning needs, contact Fournier Legal Services for a consultation at or (860) 670-3535.