In the last 8 weeks, guess what the number one cause of claims has been?
Not having a contract!
Despite this being frequently suggested, it appears very few Arborists and Foresters get a written contract drawn up between themselves and their customer.
Here is an example of a claim that could have been avoided had a contract been in place:
A tree was overhanging a very old fence that was almost falling down. The Arborist was concerned that even the slightest touch would cause the fence to collapse. The client apparently said
‘Don’t worry- I can see that and I won’t blame you – I am going to replace it anyway’.
Well, surprise surprise, during the course of the works the fence collapsed and….guess what? The client denies the conversation ever took place and wants the contractor to pay for a whole new fence.
This could so easily have been avoided had a contract been in place. Our advice is to NEVER do any work without terms being agreed in writing stipulating, amongst other things:
1/ The exact work to be done.
2/ A discharge of liability for named risks – in the above case it would have been the old fence.
3/ That the client has obtained all permissions for the work being undertaken – including from third parties – and as such indemnifies the contractor should a dispute arise.
4/ Payment terms.
5/ Any obstacles that should be avoided.
There are numerous other points you could include in a contract, so you must seek professional advice on the wording.
Without any hesitation I would STRONGLY recommend you never do a job without one – it could literally save your bacon!