An Introduction to the Contract

How to Read & Understand a Construction Contract

When anyone in the construction industry hears the word, "Contract," they cringe. I am here to tell you that it does not have to be that way. It is possible to have a contract that is legally enforceable and easy to understand. In fact, in most contracts, there is a clause that states you read and understand the contract that you are signing. I have seen that line used more than once in a courtroom when a person claims they did not understand the contract that they signed. You should understand your contract so well that you can explain it to the person signing it without calling your attorney. If you can't do that, you need to find a new attorney.

In this blog series, we will break down all the essential elements of a construction contract. I will tell you what each section means, its purpose, and how to write it in plain English so that you and the party signing the contract understated precisely what it says. At the end of this blog series, you will know and understand every single part of a contract. You can always add sections that you think are important to your business or project, but in following the format I will provide in this series, you will understand how to write the essential pieces. If it sounds like too much work, you can always contact me to write your contract. I have flat rates for different types of construction contracts.

The first question I always get when it comes to contracts is, "Do I really need one?" In most situations, legally, you do not need to have a contract to get paid for your work. Practically, however, you should never do a project without one. The smaller the project, the more you need a contract. Your contract does not have to be anything elaborate. It simply needs to tell the other side what you are going to do, when you will do it, and how much you expect to be paid. People end up in disputes because they expect something different than what they actually get. The best way to stay out of disputes is to manage expectations, and you can effectively do that by building a clear, concise, and easy to understand contract. The irony is not lost on me, that as an attorney, I am telling you how to resolve a dispute as opposed to making one because attorneys make more money when there are disputes. But having run a family business in the construction industry and knowing how much attorneys cost and how harmful it is to those businesses to be in a legal dispute, I know that it is in your best interest to prevent disputes from ever happening. I am on a mission to do whatever I can to help these family construction businesses stay out of conflicts. So, if you want to stay out of disputes, you need a clearly written and easy to understand contract, and I will teach you how to do that.

These are the reasons you can and should have a clear and easy to understand contract, now let's dive into what I like to call the "guts" of a contract or all the necessary parts. We will start with all the general info that you should have in the next blog.

For more information on contracts From Karalynn, Check out "How to Spot Red Flags in Contracts" on our YouTube Channel

About Karalynn Cromeens:

Karalynn Cromeens is the Owner and Managing Partner of The Cromeens Law Firm, a full-service construction and business law firm, founded in 2006. Together, Karalynn and the firm are sparking change in the construction industry and are committed to continuing to pave the way for their clients by protecting them on the front-end. This results-driven, cost-effective, and personalized representation sets Karalynn apart from others in the industry. Going non-stop in the last 12 months, Karalynn published her first book, Quit Getting Screwed, Understand and Negotiating the Subcontract (which quickly became an Amazon bestseller in its first week), created The Subcontractor Institute (an educational platform teaching Subcontractors everything they need to know about their subcontracts), and launched the Quit Getting Screwed Podcast to bring free educational content to Contractors nationwide. Educating contractors to recognize and understand dangerous contract terms has become her mission.