Snow Removal Contract

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Snow Removal Contract

A Brief Introduction About the Snow Removal Contract

A snow removal contract is a legally binding document drawn between a client (who could be an individual or a company) and a contractor. The document governs the snow ploughing/removal services rendered to the client and any disputes that might arise thereof. The contract includes terms that detail the payment, the scope of work, and other terms that might be critical to the transaction.

It is essential to enter into a snow removal contract before you avail or render snow plough services to avoid and resolve any possible disputes in a streamlined way. Having a contract makes it easier to prove the existence of a transaction in court and gives aggrieved parties a forum for the resolution of disputes. There are several other benefits to having a snow removal contract that is detailed in this article. There can be different kinds of snow removal contracts like commercial snow removal contracts and residential snow removal contracts.

Who Takes the Snow Removal Contract? – People Involved

You would need to enter into a snow removal contract in case:

  1. You are an individual or company looking to avail of the snow ploughing services of a contractor.
  2. You are an independent contractor looking to render their services to a client.

The contracting parties here are the client and the contractor.

Purpose of the Snow Removal Contract – Why Do You Need It?

The purpose of a snow removal contract is to:

  1. Ensure that all parties involved are aware of the terms of the transaction and acknowledge them.
  2. Establish a client-contractor relationship between the parties.
  3. Detail the terms of the payment, scope of work, liability, and insurance.
  4. Make legal recourse an option for dispute resolution, should any disputes arise.

Contents of the Snow Removal Contract – Inclusions

An effectively drafted snow removal contract must be detailed and include the following terms:

  1. Effective Date: This specifies the date on which the terms of the contract come into force and take effect. This is a standard yet important inclusion in all contracts.
  2. Parties to Contract: This clause identifies the parties that intend to contract. In this case, they are the client and the contractor. The names and addresses of all contracting parties must be mentioned clearly. Even a typographical error here could render the agreement void or unenforceable. Therefore, care must be exercised when drafting this clause in the agreement.
  3. Scope of Work: This clause details the specifics of the services that are expected from the contractor. Usually, snow ploughing services are required repetitively and frequently. Thus, it is ideal for entering into a contract wherein the contractor renders the services seasonally or as needed. Include the frequency of the services in this term. The contractor must comply with these terms to ensure performance. In the case of a snow removal contract, this term should include all the designated areas where the services are to be rendered. For example, you could specify that all driveways, roads, and parking areas must be ploughed and salted.
  4. Payment: This term specifies the payments to be made to the contractor and its breakdown. It should also cover the mode and the date of the payment. Ensure that all concerned parties are aware of the terms of the contract before finalizing anything. Hold discussions and negotiations in the presence of all relevant parties to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion.
  5. Performance:  This term provides that the contractor must do his best to render the required services to the client as per the provisions of the agreement. It ensures the quality of the services is up to standards and that they are promptly rendered whenever required.
  6. Independent Contractor: Independent Contractor clause specifies that the contractor is entering into the contract as an independent contractor, and therefore, he will be responsible entirely for the wages, benefits, taxes, and other liabilities concerning his employees.
  7. Assignment: The assignment clause requires the contractor to obtain the written consent of the client before rendering the services requested by the client.
  8. Insurance and Liabilities: This term will require the contractor to obtain an active commercial liability insurance policy for the duration he will service the client. The policy must name the client as an additionally insured party. Moreover, it must provide that a copy of the insurance policy be made available to the client. To that effect, the client must hold the contractor harmless against any losses or damage suffered, except in the cases of willful misconduct or gross negligence.
  9. Termination:  This clause specifies the circumstances under which the agreement may be terminated.
  10. Governing Jurisdiction: This clause specifies the jurisdiction that will govern any disputes that may arise out of the agreement.
  11. State-specific Laws: Include any clauses and terms that may be required for compliance with state-specific laws and legislations.

How to Draft the Snow Removal Contract?

The procedure to draft a snow removal contract:

  1. Mention the date on which the contract will come into force and take effect that is the effective date.
  2. Identify the contracting parties with their names and addresses.
  3. Establish the relationship between the parties.
  4. Detail the scope of work that is expected from the contractor. Each service must be specified separately and in a comprehensive manner. It must include all the details that the contractor is likely to follow, including the location and frequency of the services.
  5. A payment clause that will determine the amount, mode and method of payment of dues must be included. If the services are to be paid for in installments, include details of each installment as well.
  6. Include a performance clause to ensure quality work is delivered promptly.
  7. Ensure that a clause identifying the contractor as acting as an independent contractor is included.
  8. Including an assignment, the clause will make sure that the consent of the client is obtained before the services are rendered.
  9. Many states require that laborers and other workers be insured while on the job. For compliance, including a term in the contract that requires the contractor to obtain and maintain an active commercial liability insurance policy that lists the client as an additionally insured party.
  10. The agreement must state the name of the jurisdiction that will govern the document and any disputes that arise from it.
  11. Have the parties to the contract sign it to signify acceptance of terms.

Make sure that the agreement complies with local, state, and federal laws. Also, make the terms are simple, explicit, and void of ambiguity.

Negotiation Strategy

When negotiating the terms of the contract, care must be taken to ensure that the terms of the contract are framed such that they are mutually beneficial to the parties involved and should not unjustly enrich one party at the expense of the other. The terms must be framed fairly to ensure the smoothness of the transaction. Further, ensure that the terms of the contract are clear, concise, and free of ambiguity. This will allow the parties to have a sound understanding of the terms and conditions of the contract and reduce the chances of a dispute caused by disagreement.

Benefits & Drawbacks of the Snow Removal Contract

The benefits of having a snow removal contract:

  1. Provides the parties with a clear overview of the terms and conditions involved in the transaction, thereby avoiding ambiguity and miscommunication.
  2. Safeguards the interests of the parties.
  3. Ensures that the client and contractor fulfill their obligations to each other.
  4. Allows disputes to be resolved systematically, as per the established laws that are applicable.
  5. Gives legal transaction validity.

The drawbacks of having a snow removal contract:

  1. Legal costs of framing the agreement.
  2. Negotiations can be time-consuming.

What Happens in Case of Violation?

Since contracts are legally binding, a breach of its terms by any party would allow any aggrieved party to the contract to raise a dispute, which will be tended to in the manner as per the rules established by the law. There may be clauses in the agreement that could restrict the aggrieved parties from resorting to traditional methods of dispute resolution. Instead, the agreement could require the parties to engage in mediation, arbitration, or other alternative dispute resolution methods before going to court(1). Ideally, a dispute should be resolved amicably and internally among the parties, and going to court should be the last resort.

Snow removal contracts are used when a client intends to contract with a contractor to avail of snow ploughing services for commercial or residential premises. Governments and municipal authorities also often enter into such contracts when contracting with an independent contractor or snow ploughing companies to clear ice or snow from city limits. The use of such a contract will ensure that the client and contractor fulfill their obligations towards each other and give the legal transaction validity. You must enter into a snow ploughing contract if you plan on engaging the services of an independent contractor for removing snow.