The Master Painter Australia - April 2016 Vol. 1 - Page 40

THE MASTER PAINTER AUSTRALIA 040 4 Golden Rules To help you get paid In an ideal world, a hard day’s work earns an honest dollar. Unfortunately, there will be times in your career where the hard day’s work does not get you the honest dollar. Instead you get denials, refusal and excuses for non-payment. At the start of any job, you can rarely tell which customer will prove to be difficult when it comes time to pay your invoices. Our plain and simple advice is “get your records right on the front end to save you time and money on the back end”. You will inevitably come across the occasional client who simply refuses to pay you for a variety of reasons. The excuses are always the same and rarely have any justification. Simply put, if you have put in the labour, the material and the hours to produce the goods, you deserve to be paid. By ensuring your quotes, agreements and invoices are detailed and your files are well maintained, you will make it very hard for any customer to try and later dispute your entitlement to be paid. When all the evidence is plain to see in black and white, it gives the dishonest client nowhere to go. Chasing invoices is painful at the best of times and the thought of taking a client to court can seem like a daunting task; one you do not have time for. Below are the 4 Golden Rules to Record Keeping for the Legally Savvy Painter: If an unpaid invoice does rear its ugly head or if you receive a complaint about the quality of your work, take comfort in the fact that the Master Painters Association and the team at Turnbull Bowles Lawyers are just a phone call away. Help is at hand. As a valued member of the Master Painters Association, you have direct access to our firm of experienced lawyers who are ready to assist you. 1 2 Contract Essentials • When the project is big and complicated, make sure the description of the work and the scope is detailed. Give particular consideration to locations, number of rooms, measurements, quantities and materials. and statements of account. • It will also be a lot easier if you have notes to refresh your memory. Make a Written Record of all Telephone Calls • You may want to include a default interest clause in your Contract that allows you to charge default interest on the invoice amount if the client is late with paying the invoice. • This may be difficult to do on the run. However, if you keep a log book or even a simple diary in your work van or have easy access to e-mails, it will be helpful if you make a written note of any key conversations with your customer which take place, before, during or after a project. How often have you had to deal with a dispute on an invoice because there is a debate about who said what to who? • As well as your Contract, make sure Key Documents contain as much detail as possible. This will help shut down any arguments made or complaints about the description of the work and the scope as soon as they arise. Make sure you take the same approach to your quotes, invoices, variations • Be aware that these conversations may end up being classified as oral contracts or variations to written Contracts. If your dispute goes all the way to hearing, a dairy or log note made at the time of the conversation which you can show to the Court will be very good evidence. • Always make sure your customer signs and dates the Contract with you and is given a copy to keep. • If you have the time, follow up the conversation with an email to confirm what has been agreed. Again, if it is all there in black and white, it is very hard to dispute. 3 4 Keep a paper trail with your  client • Ensure all contracts, quotes, invoices, variations and Statements of Account are sent by e-mail so that there is no dispute as to whether the document was sent and when exactly it was sent. • Confirm arran