CONTRACT DRAFTING – RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL DESIGN CONTRACTS
We offer customized contracts to meet the needs of your business. Just like no two designs are the same, no two contracts are the same.
We believe that residential client contracts that are written in plain English and are easy to understand. We work with designers to develop contracts that have a positive tone and are not confrontational. We also believe they should be concise, and we avoid “off the shelf” templates that are not practical for this industry. The contracts we develop with designers serve as the cornerstone for a positive designer – homeowner relationship.
Commercial design contracts should be more sophisticated than residential. These are “business to business” transactions and the stakes are higher. We draft contracts that protect designers from lost profits and other liability that distinguishes a commercial contract from a residential contract. We draft provisions to position designers in a positive cash flow position at all phases of a project regardless of delays and other challenges that arise.
CONTRACT NEGOTIATION AND STRATEGY
We help coach designers through negotiations. We also can negotiate on behalf of designers. We look at each business deal and determine the best strategy to achieve our client’s goals.
DELAYS, CHANGES AND OTHER CHALLENGES
We understand the nuances of the design industry and the challenges designers face when managing demanding clients and strong personalities. Our services include providing advice and counsel on the design and execution process, change order management, delays, extra work and other common issues.
We listen to the designer’s business process, problems they have faced, and goals they wish to achieve. After speaking with the design client we provide legal advice on how to ensure each step of the business process is managed properly, from initial design interview, to procurement, to execution and finally project closeout. We offer guidance on best practices to ensure that cash flow is maintained and that the homeowner’s expectations are met.
MANAGING SUBCONTRACTORS AND REFERRALS TO THIRD PARTIES
One unique aspect of the design industry is that designers do not always manage the contractors that are executing their design and vision. Often a homeowner enters into a contract directly with a contractor recommended by the designer. This can create potential liability for the designer even though designer is not a party to the contract between the homeowner and the contractor. We discuss the process with the designer and ensure that proper contract language is included in project contracts.
RIGHTS TO PHOTOGRAPH DESIGN WORK FOR PORTFOLIO AND SOCIAL MEDIA
We understand how important it is for a designer to have the right to photograph the end result of their hard work. While a designer is providing a services to a homeowner they are also building a portfolio, career and business. Photos are a must. Photos are part of the deal between the designer and the homeowner. Toward the end of a project is when disputes between a designer and homeowner tend to arise, and this is when the prospect of photos can be at risk. We recommend strong contract language around photo and permission is included in all contracts.
RIGHT TO TERMINATE
Interior designers provide personalized services to their clients, and the nature of the business breeds familiar relationships between the designer and the homeowner. Unfortunately sometimes these relationships become too familiar, and homeowner clients can become difficult, and unfortunately, rude and disrespectful to designers. We recommend contract language to allow a designer to terminate a contract in the event of a client’s uncomfortable or aggressive behavior.
MEDIATION AND DISPUTES
In the event of a dispute, we provide mediation, arbitration and litigation services to our designer clients. Generally we recommend that disputes between designers and homeowner clients be resolved by mediation and arbitration, so that they remain private and confidential. There are many reasons for this, including selectin a qualified mediator or arbitrator with design experience, and also to ensure the designer’s reputation is upheld and public court battles are avoided.