How digital contract templates provide improved house maintenance service

House maintenance workers who perform tasks based on information retrieved directly from the content of a digital contract have greater opportunities to do the right things
House maintenance workers perform a variety of tasks

How should digital contract templates for house maintenance services be designed to be able to enter into contracts completely digitally with customers?

House maintenance services is a very wide concept. It can include everything from gardening, crafts in apartments and villas or service on properties in tenant-owner associations. The industry provides services to individuals, companies, the state and the municipality.

The contracts you enter into with your customers should list what you agree on:

• WHAT to do? That is, which activities are to be performed. This also often includes an estimate of material consumption. An example is that an electrician installs a new socket in an apartment.

• WHEN should the work be performed? Sometimes the work has to be done on several different occasions. Are there conditions for the job to be performed? For example, the customer must remove furniture in their apartment.

• HOW much does it cost? Here you should also list any ROT / RUT deductions that the customer wants to use.

• WHAT conditions apply. For example, payment terms, guarantees and standard clauses.

What, when and how is different for each assignment and is of course essential information for your company to be able to plan and carry out the assignment. A contract system that supports industry-specific contract templates gives you the opportunity to easily extract relevant information from the contract completely automatically. For example, resource planning, work orders and invoicing documents. If you work in a larger business, you may have an IT system for just this. In that case, look at how a contract solution can exchange data with surrounding systems.

You will probably come a long way with the contract system's own reporting functions. Examples are invoicing reports, work orders and inspection protocols.

Below are some points to go through for those who work in the house maintenance service industry and who are considering using digital contracts.

What is a "digital contract template"?

You are probably already working with templates today. And of course, they are adapted for house maintenance services. Maybe the templates are spreadsheets or documents in the word processor. There may also be several different documents that need to be used together to be able to produce a contract document.

Another alternative is that you use a contract service where you can both create contract drafts based on templates and fill them in. If there are ready-made templates in the contract service that are adapted for house maintenance services, a lot is gained. We will touch on this later in the text.

It is also not uncommon for companies to combine the above so that contract drafts are produced in word processors or spreadsheets which are then handled further in a contract service.

All of these solutions use "digital contract templates".

Keep in mind that a "digital contract template" can mean different things depending on who you ask. A digital contract template must be able to be reused in a simple way for new contracts that are to be signed with customers. By copying - or cloning - a digital contract template, an exact copy is created that is used as a draft contract

Review and list what services you offer

Then compare your services with the templates the provider offers.

The details are important! Map the services you deliver via conversations with your employees and document. Go through the digital contract template in detail yourself - or get help from a supplier. How is information provided about the house maintenance services that the customer chooses?

• Does a standard template work, or does your service / product require customization of the template? Good templates provide broad support for different data. The easiest way to find the answer is to test the template. For the standard template to be relevant, it must be able to handle the "regular" orders. But what do you do with the exceptions - those that do not fit into the template?
• Do you have to enter the services manually or can you use ready-made lists where you instead select services from a list? Of course, the contract owner saves time if you can choose from a list. It is also easier if you want to make statistics on selected services to have a list of standardized choices of services.
• Templates are good because they are often prepared with all the information required. But just as important is to be able to easily delete - or hide information that is not interesting to customers. How is removal handled in the template?
• Compare your own services with those in the templates offered by the supplier. Make a list of which services are missing. How should these be added?
Make sure you see with your own eyes what different templates are offered and what information is collected for each.

Enter time and material for the assignment

When the contract manager collects information on which property maintenance is to be performed, it is important to be able to document the number of hours and material costs that exist for each task.
Specifying time and material costs is the basis for calculating a price in the contract

A typical assignment in house maintenance services includes both time and materials. By "time" is simply meant here how long a certain activity takes. An easy way is to enter this a number of hours. The "material" here refers to a cost for material that the customer must pay for.

• In the digital contract template, you should be able to make lists of activities, what time these take (in hours!) and any material costs associated with the activity.
• The activity can be performed on different occasions, there is a big difference between the hourly rate during a big weekend compared to a normal weekday. The contract template must be able to separate between these cases so that different hourly rates are used
• Time and material for one-time assignments and recurring assignments. It is a big difference to be able to specify in a single template, separately, the number of hours and material cost for both one-time assignments and recurring assignments. The customer receives a coherent picture of the entire assignment and receives one (1) contract document to sign. More about one-time assignments and recurring assignments later in the text
The digital contract template should support automatically calculating the price per activity and the totals. This earns you a lot of working time and you can be sure that the calculation will be correct.
The digital contract template "Private. Activities ROT/RUT with calculation" has support for entering information about time and material costs for various activities
Information for time and material costs
A digital contract template from Avtalsbanken with support for time & materials.

Do you offer house maintenance to consumers?

Flexible and at the same time correct handling of ROT and RUT deductions is important to have support for in the digital contract templates. This minimizes the risk of errors and misunderstandings that are cumbersome and time-consuming to rectify afterwards for both customer and supplier.

• In the template, you should be able to list exactly which different types of ROT and RUT deductions will be made and which subtotals are involved. Also, check if the list is included in the contract document that the customer receives.
• All types of ROT and RUT services are not approved by the Swedish Tax Agency. Is there support in the contract template for listing approved and non-approved ROT and RUT deductions, respectively? The customer can then immediately get a reliable figure on how large the RUT deduction will be.
• ROT / RUT deductions can be distributed between different people. It is not uncommon for customers to want to be able to make a distribution and thus several personal data must be collected in the template.
It is an advantage if you can make an automatic calculation of the ROT / RUT deductions in the digital contract template. This earns you both working hours and that you can be sure that the calculation will be correct - every time!

Do you offer one-time assignments, recurring assignments or both?

In the contract document, you often want to distinguish between the content of one-off assignments and recurring assignments. That is, the customer may want different activities to be carried out as one-time assignments and recurring assignments, respectively. It is also not uncommon for the customer to change while the contract is being reviewed and carved out.

• Recurring assignments are carried out regularly according to a certain frequency, eg monthly or quarterly. However, invoicing is often not done with the same frequency and the price calculation can be complex. The template should have the support to indicate all this information in a clear way so that the price calculation is facilitated.
• The template should support that both one-off assignments and recurring assignments can be specified in the same contract - so that they are described in one (1) contract document. Otherwise, you risk that the customer may sign several documents.
• For both one-time and recurring assignments, the contract template should be flexible enough to allow contract managers to make lists of the activities to be performed. These should also be listed in the contract document so that the customer can see what the agreement looked like. This reduces the risk of future misunderstandings and disputes.
It is a great advantage if you in the digital contract template can make an automatic calculation of subtotals for one-time assignments and recurring assignments.

Do you offer house maintenance to companies or organizations?

A customer company may want to buy a variety of different types of services, all of which may have different terms. For example, the purchase of gardening services has different conditions than the purchase of caretaker services. Many times the contracts are very extensive. It then also becomes more important to be able to document and keep track of a lot of details in the template.

• The template should support entering information about several different services so that everything ends up in one and the same contract document and that the customer thereby signs one (1) document. The alternative is that each service is described in its own contract document with associated signing, which can be perceived as cumbersome by customers.
• For large assignments, framework agreements are often used where calls for services can be made at any time. A digital contract template for call-off handling facilitates these cases and enables your company - and framework contract customer - to keep track of the call-offs that are made. In contract management, it is important that the call-offs can refer to the correct framework agreement so that contract administration becomes easier.
• Ensure that you have access to the digital contract template regardless of the type of device you are currently using and that you can always access the latest saved version. Not keeping track of which document version you worked on most recently can otherwise develop into an expensive story.
Team functions in Avtalsbanken enable people in a team to collaborate on agreements
Team features
For larger assignments and customers, several people may need to work with the contract. It must be possible to easily share the contract between different persons responsible for parts of the contract - or an entire team - of course with the correct document version.

Calculate the price of the services

Many companies have a company-wide spreadsheet where the actual calculation is done. How often is this document updated? Who updates the document and how do you ensure that the correct version is used when selling? If the contract template supports calculation, then verify how the template is linked to the price calculation. You want to be able to change prices and formulas in the calculation independent from the template, but at the same time regulate when the template will use the updated calculation.

• A good contract template must be prepared to be able to collect all the information and figures needed to be able to make a price calculation. It must also ensure that no information is forgotten, so-called data validation. One possible solution for calculation is to do it completely manually. However, there is still a risk that contract managers may fail to transfer information after an update of a value.
• In more advanced contract templates, in addition to the above, there is an automatic calculation of prices. Contract managers can then be sure that the correct information is used, that no information is forgotten and that the correct version of the calculation is used.
• Does the customer want monthly invoices, quarterly invoices or should invoicing take place at a different time interval? Are there one-time assignments to be invoiced? Make sure that the digital contract template clearly lists these details. This means that the customer - and the company - have the right expectations.
• A final part that is important for some companies is that you can subsequently follow which calculations have been made and who did the calculation. This is usually called an audit and means that information about calculations made is saved as transactions in an audit log.

Add general terms and conditions

It happens that templates also contain general terms and conditions. You should clarify to yourself which different general terms and conditions apply to the different services your company offers.

• The terms and conditions are part of the agreement and are often handled as an appendix. If you want to be able to provide the customer with one (1) contract document that contains terms and conditions, you should verify whether you can add terms and conditions to the contract template permanently, so that they do not have to be added manually at each contract occasion.
• Some companies use links to a web page listing terms and conditions. The problem with this is that at the same time as you update the terms on the web, a version issue arises. The contract is based on a specific version and it is the responsibility of both your company and the customer to keep track of this. It thus creates more problems than it solves.
Some industry associations offer templates and help with terms and conditions for contracts or contact a business lawyer for help and advice.

Make sure the contract document follows the correct digital workflow

Digital contracts that follow a workflow, guide users to perform the correct tasks for a specific type of agreement and this increases regulatory compliance within your company.
Digital contracts that follow a workflow make it easier to do the right thing

Many companies have business rules that must be followed before contracts can be sent to customers. These may be mandatory, internal audits that must be performed if a transaction exceeds a certain amount or that an approved credit report must have been carried out for the customer in question.

• A contract template with support for workflows means that certain checks can be made mandatory to carry out before a contract can be sent to a customer. Compulsory workflows ensure that sales of selected services comply with established business rules. It is also the case that if there are many people who have to follow a set of rules, there can easily be different interpretations of how the checks are done. In this case, it is a safer alternative to use mandatory workflows.
• The alternative of letting individual sellers keep track of the business rules that exist and the controls that must be carried out for different types of contracts is a little riskier. It is easy to forget or misunderstand. But at the same time, it is easier to get started without a mandatory workflow and for companies where inspections are unusual, you can save time by letting each salesperson do these themselves when needed.
• For some companies, it is important to be able to show an auditor afterwards that the business rules have been followed and that the controls are complete. The auditor should then be able to access an audit log that shows the checks that have been carried out.
Workflows also make it easier to be sure that contracts are handled correctly after contract acceptance. The handling of contracts is discussed later in the article.

Get contract acceptance from the customer

Regardless of which contract is handled, it is of course an advantage - almost a requirement today - that a completed contract document, preferably in PDF format, can be sent to the customer for e-signing after all checks have been completed. However, do not forget that signing on paper is still common.

• A person in a company who is to accept a contract may need access to other signing methods than a private person. Your salespeople certainly have information on how customers prefer to sign. Make sure that the digital contract template can control which signing methods are available.
• Regardless of which signing method is used, it is a requirement that the service used for signing can provide a reference to which contract version and contract template has been used. Otherwise, this easily becomes a time thief when follow-up is to be done.
Do you want to read more about the acceptance and signing of contracts and other documents?Show me more

Manage the contract after acceptance

Being able to handle the contract after the customer has accepted it is an essential part of making the business work efficiently. We do not go through in this article what effective contract management should look like, but leave it to a later article. However, we list below some parts that are important.

• Can meaningful reports be generated based on the content of the contract? An example is an invoicing report which contains detailed documentation.
• Is it possible to supplement contracts with new information? Examples add an appendix or a course certificate.
• Can you easily search and find a contract?
• Can the status of the contract be changed and is the transaction saved in an audit log?
Do you want to read more about modern contract management? Follow the link to the article 'How companies can replace the contract binder with digital contract management'.Show me more

How to get started

Companies often need to take several small steps on the road to efficient and effective digital contract management
Begin the journey towards digital contracts

With a walkthrough of the above points, you are well equipped to understand what is important to be able to use the right digital contract templates to improve your house maintenance service.

And maybe we have also contributed ideas on how you can develop the sales process with the right contract support?

Good luck - the next step is yours.

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