We’re discussing the five most vital terms and conditions that you must have in your contract, whether it’s on your BOL or in a separate terms and conditions sheet that you must have it initialed, signed, and dated at the end so that there’s no confusions with your shipper and yourself of what you’re responsible for and what they’re responsible for.
And these specific five will prevent you from being scammed pretty much guaranteed.
Make sure you have these five.
We’re going to go over it and why the importance of each are.
Let’s get off with some preliminary rules:
First of all, when you’re talking about terms and conditions, you’ve got to make sure that your terms and conditions are signed.
You’ve got to make sure that they’re signed and dated by all parties involved. That includes yourself and your shipper.
How you’re going to do that is to send them out through DocuSign.
And if you don’t know how to use DocuSign, it’s very simple.
You just go make an account with DocuSign, you upload your documents.
Then when they get sent out with your email, the link for your DocuSign downloads, DocuSign will then take your shipper through the procedures of signing the documents by adopting a signature, et cetera, etcetera, giving them the waivers that they need to understand that by signing electronically, it is the same as signing in person and so on and so forth.
A good thing about DocuSign is that not only will the shipper be able to download their signed copies, but it will send to you their signed copy as well.
So you just have that in a DocuSign account and you can send that out whenever you want in your standard emails, et cetera.
You’ve got to have that set up.
You have to make sure that you, first of all, send out an email letting them know that your customer, your shipper, has got to sign some information before the move.
And this is key…
You can’t have them sign them the day of or at the time of the move because that doesn’t really give them the chance to read through and ask any questions.
Just out of courtesy’s sake, you got to give them the ability to sign the documents before the move.
So then set up your account with DocuSign.
Those are the basic rules.
Remember…you have to get it in writing and you have to get it sent through some sort of system like DocuSign.
Getting the Shipper to Sign the Docs
Secondly, when you’re doing your estimate and you’re booking the move for your business, one thing I would do is say, “Hey, look. Someone is going to give you a call from my office and we’re going to go over the paperwork and we’ll show you how to go. And we’re going to go over it on the phone with each other.”
Or you can do it by Zoom call or however you want, where they actually fill it out.
You can actually take them step by step through everything that they need to sign.
Like if you’re buying in real estate, there will be a transactional person who will take you through the documentation.
That’s something you should be able to set up or should set up, whether it’s yourself or somebody in your office.
That would be a really good item to add to make sure that the stuff gets signed in a timely manner before the event of the move.
Obviously, if you’re a small company, you don’t have to have it or you’re not going to be able to afford to have that but it’s definitely something that you should have.
Top 5 Terms and Conditions
So let’s get into the top five most vital terms and conditions that every contract should have and that will protect your business.
First Term and Condition
Number one, failure to pay equals no claims and three times the reimbursement plus legal fees, et cetera.
This is vital because we’re going to get those customers that are just not happy with our services.
It’s going to happen.
In those cases, we have to protect ourselves.
You don’t want to argue with the customer at all, you don’t want to make them feel bad, or you don’t want to invalidate them because that helps no one and it only helps their resolve to be an FU to you and not pay.
One thing to do that you might want to enjoy is putting this term into your terms and conditions.
That if there’s a failure to pay for whatever reasons, bounce check, insufficient funds, just unwillingness to pay, you are going to be charged three times the unpaid amount plus attorney fees, and legal fees, et cetera if it goes to that extreme.
Should you get a customer who refuses to pay, you’re like, “No problem, ma’am or sir. Look, if you don’t pay, then I’m going to have to escalate this to a legal responsibility to get you to pay and I’m going to Sue you for three times the amount that you are unpaid for so that I can recruit my losses plus any legal and attorney fees that might be resulted of such escalation of this terms.” And usually that’ll get them to change their mind.
Secondly, it’s got to be part of the all claims, any claims that they have are here by null and void until that is resolved.
So if they’re saying they’re refusing to pay because of damages for some reason, then all claims are null and void until the matter is resolved.
Let’s go to number two.
Second Term and Condition
Number two, misrepresentation of service results in additional costs.
I know that a lot of you guys do a lot of your estimates over the phone.
Inside your terms and conditions, yes, you should be sending terms and conditions even if you do an estimate over the phone, you should then make sure that they’re aware of this situation.
That if they have misrepresented, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it could result in additional costs.
You have to have that.
And you should have a published a la carte menu of those additional services and their costs.
If you don’t have that, then it becomes this nebulous thing of additional costs.
And then you could be considered or perceived as a moving scam.
So let’s just get it over with.
Go and get additional services and costs list made up.
You could do it right on your computer using Word, Microsoft Word, or Google Docs, or whatever you want.
Make it look pretty however you want, but you should have the service and its cost. Service, cost, service cost.
And just have two columns.
One with the service, one with the additional cost and be done with it and send it out with your estimates and so on and so forth.
But that should also be a term and condition within your contract.
All right. Let’s go to number three.
Third Term and Condition
Insurance will be at 60 cents per pound, per item, period, unless otherwise paid for, for valuation.
In your contract, in your terms and conditions it is automatically setting forth that the … you are only going to pay 60 per pound per item.
Because by law, if you do not have that and they don’t sign or initial it, then by law you are responsible for full valuation insurance.
This is a misunderstood or completely ignored rule in our industry where movers think that, “Oh, it’s 60 cents per pound. I’m only going to pay 60 cents per pound, per item.”
No. If they have not signed off saying that they want that insurance rate, it is automatically full valuation.
Here’s the kicker though…
If they don’t want to sign for the 60 cents per pound, then you can upcharge them for the full valuation insurance.
It’s totally okay.
Let them know, “Look, if you want a full valuation, it’s automatic, but I’m going to charge you an additional two, three, four, $500 or whatever that you’re going to be charging for unless you sign off on the 60 cents per pound, per item.”
Then that way that protects you and that gets you … If you ever got to go to court or you ever got to file a damage claim, you can say, “Look, you signed off on the 60 cents per pound, per item.
I have it in writing.
This is all you’re going to get.
Sorry that your stuff was damaged, but this is what you agreed to when we did this.”
You have to make sure and cover yourself when you’re doing that. And don’t get confused thinking that it’s an automatic thing because it’s not.
It’s against the law to just give them 60 cents per item if they did not sign for it.
So they got to sign off saying that’s what they want.
Fourth Term and Condition
Number four, you will not be responsible for any improperly packed items such as TVs, or pressboard, or pictures, et cetera, mirrors, whatever.
If it is not packaged professionally and properly, you will not be responsible for its damage.
TVs are the biggest example of this.
Flat screen TVs are horrible…
They get easily damaged quite easily.
If they’re not put in a professional packed box like it’s original packaging box or in a TV box that you have, you do not … you are not responsible for them.
And this includes mirrors, this includes paintings, and pictures, and so on and so forth because those need to be packaged in a very certain manner.
So as to be safe, when being transported and if the customer is doing their own packing and they pack it in just some sloppy box, then you’re not going to be responsible for its damaged items.
Also, within this, although I didn’t write it down, you’re not responsible for anything that you did not pack personally.
If you did not put it in one of your boxes, whatever it is, if you did not put it in your box and package it up, you are not responsible for the contents inside that box.
You don’t know how they packaged what they put in the box.
Maybe it’s a bunch of dishes and they just didn’t put any paper in it. And then through the jiggling and stuff, all the plates get broken or wine glasses, et cetera.
Well, you don’t know what’s in that box.
You don’t know how it’s done. It’s on the customer.
And you got to have yourself protected with that term and condition. Otherwise, it is on you.
Fifth Term and Condition
All right. Now, let’s get to number five.
The last one.
Claims must be within 30, 60, 90 days, whatever you decide, and must be paid in full before claim is accepted.
If there’s any damage claims, you’ve got to put within your terms and conditions that you will accept claims within 30, 60, or 90 days, whatever your terms are.
Maybe it’s only 30 days they have a chance to do it, maybe you give them 60 days, or maybe you get 90 days, or 120 days.
Whatever it is you got to give them, in writing, whatever that length is.
They Have Nine Months
By law, you must give them nine months.
Legally, they have nine months to make a claim.
A lot of you new movers think you can just not accept anything after 30 days.
And you technically can if you have it in writing, but by law, they have up to 90 days.
Sorry, nine months to make any kind of claim regarding their items.
Be aware of that.
Put that number inside your terms and conditions and they initial it afterwards.
And you must make it say that all bills must be paid in full before they can make any kind of damage claim because you’re not going to accept their damage claim if they’re not paid in full.
You’ve got to have that in writing.
It Must Be In Writing and Signed
It’s got to be in writing, it’s got to get signed and dated, the whole work.
For instance, if they fail to pay, then there’s no damage claim.
You are not given any kind of damage claims, period, none.
It’s not paid in full.
And if you have to take them to court and you’re going to charge them three times the unpaid amount, then guess what?
The damage claim cannot be done until they’re reconciled with however much they have to pay, whether it’s by legal means or by whatever the bill.
You must have this in there and you must have it initiated.
I recommend that all of these terms and conditions that I’ve laid out here all get initiated when in the terms and conditions.
So you might have a list of 20, 25 different terms and conditions.
You may want these specific five that are initialed outside of just regular being signed at the bottom of the document with its date.
Have these specific ones initialed.
So that this highlights the importance of these particular five different terms and conditions.
Just my recommendation.
You don’t have to do it, but I recommend that you do.
All right, guys.
Hopefully this is helpful for you.
And whether you’re a mover or some other idea, take these five different terms and conditions and apply them…
Adapt them to your particular business.
All right, guys.
I like you, I love you.
Go and do something great today.