Monthly Archives: September 2011

MORE THAN A QUOTE- IT’S A CONTRACT

Don’t have a standard form contract? Perhaps it’s time to get one. We hope you’re not still scribbling your quote on the back of a business card.

Courtesy of Hardwood Flooring Magazine USA, here are some tips on what a good contract should contain. It’s not exhaustive, but should get you started. Yes,a it’s a US-based publication, the details are very relevant here.

1. Be Specific. Many of the problems on jobs result from poor communication, starting with the written agreement. While a contract doesn’t always have to be a novel, it helps to clearly define expectations. So, if your price is dependent on availability of particular materials, spell that out.

2. Get it in Writing. Homeowners, in particular, are notorious for changing their minds in the middle of jobs. While it might seem like a small thing to the homeowner …get the customer to sign off on a written change.

3. Payment Milestones.  Avoid fronting the materials expense for a customer, particularly if the materials used are special order items. (Ed’s note- as a distributor, we have the same difficulty. For some items, once we sell it to you, it’s very hard to take it back.)

4. (Legal) Rights. Liens are a subject unto themselves. Make sure your contract and any other required documents comply with the law where the work is being done. (Ed’s note: in Australia, this is ensuring that your contract does not conflict with the
Trade Practices Act)

5. Timing. Timing is often an issue, particularly where the work being done interferes with use of the property or is otherwise inconvenient to the owner. It’s a good idea to give a range of dates for project completion.

6. Warranties and Liability Limitations.
Your contract should spell out what warranties you will and will not provide.

7. Source of Payments. Sometimes the customer will delay payment simply because they do not have all the money available at the time your payment is due. Often the customer may be relying on lending or insurance funds to pay you- you may … want to have the lender or insurer agree to make payments to you directly.

8. Interest. If your customer is going to make you a lender, your customer should pay interest on that loan.

9. What Law and What Court. You may want all disputes heard in your location rather than your customer’s. If you are in a different state, you may want the court to
rule based upon the laws in your state. (Ed’s note: In Australia, you will need to specify that claims will likely be heard at Consumer affairs, e.g. VCAT in Victoria).

10. Included and Excluded Items. Often there will be a back-and-forth exchange of communications, both before and after the contract. You want to define which of those communications will be included in the contract, and to exclude all other communication, whether verbal or in writing.

While this is not an exhaustive list of all considerations
for a contract, addressing these ten items will go a long way in eliminating
common issues and disputes, and they will provide some protection when you do
have problems with your customer.

Full article with more details and tips is at Hardwood Flooring Magazine.

 

 

Lagler’s Virtual Horse Power

Just for a bit of fun…

Some of our regular customers may remember Tulla branch manager Patrick Atherton’s exploits in Superkart racing back in the late ‘Noughties.

Sadly, he had to give it away due to, among other things, a family member’s growing interest in horses. Horses, as you all know, are ridiculously more expensive that anything motorised. In fact they are more expensive than just about anything up to stuff owned by oil sheiks.

To satisfy his speed fix, Atherton now races in the worlds’ top online motorsport simulation, iRacing.

Iracing is an online service with a worldwide range of cars and tracks, all laser scanned to within millimetres of digital accuracy, with a fiendlishly difficult level of physics realism and competition.

One of the more popular marques in iRacing’s, um, stable, is the Aussie V8 Supercar. It now has a burgeoning weekly competition frequented by real-world V8 racers Shane Van Gisbergen, Scott McLaughlin, Dean Canto, Nick Percat, Tony D’Alberto, and others.  They reckon its the best form of training for their real-world stuff, not to mention cheaper, and less painful when you crash.

This online competition is officially sanctioned by V8 Supercars Australia.

In any case, it means that part-time rev-head and Lagler MD Cameron Luke finally gets to put his company name on a V8 Supercar. For somewhat less than it costs to own a horse.

That's Van Gisbergen behind (well, he was on a slow-down lap...)

 

 


The warmth of timber (even when its cold)

Even though we’ve been soaked in some unseasonal sunshine lately, the mornings have still been a little, well, crisp. For that matter, so have the afternoons and evenings.

As lovely as this is, there is a downside for floor sanding contractors, other than the increased urge to stop working and go to the beach;- the false sense of security. Timber does not retain cold temperatures like, say, concrete. But the irony here is that timber is, mostly, laid over concrete, or over mid air in the case of solid on joists and bearers. So it gets gold. Damn cold. And most timber floor coatings react adversley to cold.

Solvent based polys lose their viscosity and can leave lap marks. Water based/ Alkalyd coatings can crystallise and form crows feet.

We’ve harped on before about the importance of warming the place up before you coat. The problem is, ambient room temperature is not the issue. The issue is the temperature of the floor itself.

Take precautions which are over and above the minimum, such as have heating running over night before you coat. Heat up the tubs, especially waterbased, in a laundry trough for half and hour prior to coating.

There is no standard on correct floor temperature prior to coating, so we can’t say “don’t coat if it’s below X degrees”, as if that would offer any warranty against any problem. One trick is to take your shoes and socks off, walk on the floor in bare feet. If you instantly say “Dang, that’s cold…”, then it’s probably too cold to coat.

We couldn't find any archive pics of crows feet in floor coating, so my mum volunteered to show hers.