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Protect yourself and get everything in writing!

Posted: Thursday, January 12th, 2023

Painters and decorators need to take greater steps to protect themselves from work disputes, warns the head of The Painting & Decorating Association.

Speaking on The Painting & Decorating Show PDA chief executive Neil Ogilvie, said that one of the most common mistakes made by tradespeople was agreeing work verbally, or “on the back of a cigarette packet”. If there are problems on the job there is no paper trail to show what has been agreed by both parties.

Ogilvie advised decorators to prepare detailed quotes, preferably on company letterhead, sign and date it, and send it to the client.

Make sure when you are doing the quotation it is on headed notepaper, you’ve signed it, you’ve dated it, and it is accepted,” explained Ogilvie.

“If you have both signed and dated it, then if problems arise at least, you have some clarity and cover,” he added.

With materials prices changing rapidly, Ogilvie recommended that painters and decorators should also double check the costs before sending over a quote to the client, particularly if a long period of time has passed since providing the initial quote and setting a date to start work.

Show host Joel Bardall prefers to provide clients with an estimate on the work, rather than a full quote, in part because it gives him greater flexibility to incorporate things like price increases into the final price.

Regardless of whether you’re getting the client to agree on a final quote or a price estimate, the key thing is to “always get it in writing”, said Ogilvie.

Neil Ogilvie returns next week to discuss snagging and difficult customers.

To listen to the full show, click below.

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