Creating Accurate Project Contracts

May 3, 2023

Designer Sharon Sherman, founder and principal of Thyme & Place Design in Wyckoff, N.J., talked to us on our From the Tap Podcast about what every designer needs to know about creating accurate project contracts aka letters of agreement, which is a very important topic these days!

She has spent years perfecting her own contracts and learning about necessary amendments as the whole project experience evolves. Accurate contracts help design professionals protect their business and details what is being done, where it is taking place and who is responsible for the various elements. Contracts or letters of agreement can also eliminate conflict during a project.

Sherman shared some anecdotes of issues on her past projects, which included a lost cat, a range that arrived way after project completion, damage to an expensive specimen tree on the property and a dog that ate screw caps during a job.

The ABCs of Accurate Project Contracts

The designer shared everything you need to consider when finalizing your contract, including writing things in basic language and understanding your state’s guidelines.

  • The What: This section references finish and product selections and the cost of those items.
  • The When: Sherman says much of this is dictated by the state in which you live, so do your research ahead of time. It’s good to have an attorney who is up to date on all this, and sticking to your project schedule with accurate completion dates for everything is a must.
  • The Where: In which room(s) is the project taking place? Where will materials be stored? Will there be facilities for the workers? All this and more is included in the “where.”
  • The How Much: Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle is including anything that has a dollar sign on it in your contract. Payment terms and conditions and much more should be included here.

Sherman also touched on a few miscellaneous items she also makes sure are in her letters of agreement, including permitting, insurance and the fact that you own the rights to your projects. To learn much more about creating accurate contracts/letters of agreement, listen to the podcast on SpotifyGoogle PodcastsApple PodcastsPandora and other outlets.