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Independent Contractor Agreement:  Terms To Include in Home Improvement Contracts

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Independent Contractor Agreement: Terms To Include in Home Improvement Contracts

Published: 30/03/2010 by Patsy Hamilton for

You can download a standard independent contractor agreement from the internet for free. Those forms give you something to start with, but you’ll need to make some changes.

People hire contractors for all kinds of jobs. The standard forms that you see on the internet work for businesses that use contractors to do their work instead of hiring an employee. They aren’t really applicable for home improvement projects.

You definitely need a written contract. You should attach a copy of the written estimate and refer to it in the contract. The more details you include at this point, the more legal protection you will have if something goes wrong in the future.

Here are some of the details, you’ll want to include.

Insurance—the contract should state that the contractors are responsible for any damage done to your property through their negligence, as well as any employee injuries. If the insurance details are not outlined, you could be sued in the event that someone falls off of your roof or slips on your sidewalk.

Subcontractors—companies often hire subcontractors to complete a portion of the job. Details about the kinds of subcontractors they may hire should be included in the independent contractor agreement. It should also be clearly stated that the company is responsible for paying the subcontractors and for verifying that they are licensed and insured.

Project details—although the written estimate may include the project details, they should be repeated in the contract. Include this information under a sub-heading titled “duties and compensation”. It might read something like this:

XYZ Company has agreed to build a deck for John Smith according to the plans attached here. The material to be used is natural wood decking, not composite. The price of materials has been estimated at ________ and the cost of labor at _________. The total estimate to complete the job is ________. XYZ Company has stated that the job will be completed by (insert date here).

An independent contractor agreement does not have to be complicated or filled with legalese to be valid. In addition to providing protection in case of a legal battle, the contract also serves to ensure that both parties have an understanding.

Misunderstandings happen. That’s a fact of life. The best way to avoid or prevent a misunderstanding is to put everything in writing.

The language that the independent contractor agreement is written in makes a difference. If you have hired an individual, rather than a company, you need to make sure that he or she is fluent in the language.

Find out if a translator is necessary. If you have any questions about whether or not the person understands the language in the contract, have a second document signed concerning your offer to have a translator present.

Everything else is pretty basic. The contractor’s address should be included, as well as your own. It should be signed, dated and witnessed. All parties should get a copy of the independent contractor agreement. Keep your copy in a safe place.

Patsy Hamilton is a home improvement journalist at for more great useful home improvement articles please visit:

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