I was raised by the greatest, silent and baby boomer generation! Still, in my early 40s, I was also lucky enough to have my great grandparents and grandparents around me to where I could remember them. Then my grandparents and baby boomer generations (parents and relatives) taught me the value of hard work. What they also taught me was that a handshake was a form of a valid contract. My how things have changed!!
My question before we start this post for you to read and consider. Do handshakes still mean something to you and your group? Or is it contracts that rule everything? The niceness of people is a great thing to have but nothing starts without something in writing and signatures.
I come from a structural engineering and general contracting (earthworks & real estate) world that is littered with contracts for everything you are required to do from a legal standpoint. For the most part after this, contracts are never talked about again, but they can be used as needed. Here is a shortlist of some things that should be covered in a basic contract;
There are a lot of times where contracts are needed. On larger projects a CCDC contract will cover everything you need, otherwise, you should have something in terms of writing for your product or service. No one likes to go back to contracts, but they help in times of need or litigation.
A handshake can get it done, still today, but they are very rare. It is difficult to trust others, especially in the form of hired help. Our gauge around deciding if a handshake covers the scope of work to be completed is through trust and multiple conversations. When you understand the intent of a person and have talked to many others around you about their history of staying true to their word, should you consider going off of a handshake deal? Our simplest way to say it is, proceed with caution!
When you are setting up contracts with others, you must be vividly aware of your systems and processes. You must know as a business that you can deliver on time, within budget, and with the proper quality that was asked for. We have witnessed too many times in our career when contractors sign agreements and then cannot do the work that they set out to do. It leaves the clients in a bad situation and it leaves the contractor in an even worse situation because then they are looking for a way out without losing a lot of money. The processes we talk about quite often are things such as;
Systems and Processes are so vitally important to everyone’s success, that a lot of companies do not put enough effort into them.
When you need help with any of these things, feel free to reach out to us at Future To Now Consulting to get the conversation started.