I'm just starting out in the taxidermy business,and I was wondering if it is custmary to have a contract between the business and customers,or,is a general policy good enough.Also if someone had a copy of each I could look over and/or modify.
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If you don't have one you're just opening yourself up for problems. Even people you know are going to take advantage of you and without the contract you stand to lose the shirt off your back. Every one has a different idea of what should be on a contract and you will have (I would think) allot of people come forward and offer there's to look at, I've redone mine probably a dozen times in the last 10 years and im redoing it again now. Take all anyone will offer and make your own using ideas from the others. Just make sure it says something about a 50% NON refundable deposit and how long you will store it after it is done and what you will and wont be responsible for i.e.; freezer failure, hide slippage due to prior handling, tannery problems, ect and these are only a few of the things it needs to mention. And one last note make it fair, offer (if something does happen) to bite the bullet and replace whatever it is and do it again, you might make a good customer, and friend but at the very least people will get a good image of you and your business and it SHOULD get you more customers.
One more thing Leave any measurements you take off the paper work. After all is said and done what with shrinkage and difference in form measurements and all, it is easy for people to get upset thinking they didnt get their mount back because it is a 1/2 inch shorter than what you wrote down. Keep the measurements on another form that you only use in the shop, after the mount is gone file it in another folder and keep it just incase you do have any problems later on.
Before anyone screams at me, a simple business class taught at the local college or high school will go a long ways in helping someone to organize and prosper....FREEDOM of choice, I guess.
Use three part NCR paper. Give the pink copy to the customer and you keep the white and yellow copy! divide the page into three parts: Top--Customer and specie info. Middle: instructions and Cost, etc. Bottom: All of the terms etc. On the front include the obvious Name, address, phones, specie, antler points, Instructions, total cost, deposit, balance due, etc..and other required information. Have them sign at the bottom agreeing to everything as printed and stated.
Lots of examples ----use the search button!
:::::::Use terminology such as below::::
CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE***AGREEMENT***TERMS***DEPOSIT
FEES***RUSH & PRIORITY WORK
At least a 50% deposit or more is required on all work. Some work may require the complete cost paid in advance before work will begin. Deposit is Non-refundable. All money in US funds. Balance due in "cash" on completion. --This means NO CHECKS or credit cards. Work left without at least a 50% deposit over five days is forfeited and will be disposed of. After notification of work completion, work not picked up within five days after completion along with monies paid, is forfeited. A $25.00 per day- per mount, storage fee will be charged after the five day grace period until the mount is disposed of and/or sold.
Any balance due and all applicable fees must be paid in full in cash money before finished work is released to customer. The customer agrees to pay any and all attorney fees, and/or civil or criminal litigation costs, other legal costs, fees, fines, collections and/or any other cost or expense associated with customer's work/specimen. Taxidermist and/or company will not be held responsible for theft, fire, flood, vandalism, tanning, hair slippage or any other loss or damage. Since the true condition of customer's goods is not known until all taxidermy services/work is completed, all taxidermy services/work is at the customer's own risk. We will work as fast as we can to process & finish your mount. Customer will be notified when the work is completed. The average completion time is from eight to twelve months. In rare situations up to eighteen months. Extra charge for rush, priority or specific date or time work! 100% extra charge or $500.00 fee (whichever is greater) to accommodate customer request, argument, excessive inquiry, any leading or misleading statement or disinformation, any attempted verbal coercion or manipulation on completion time, any complaint, threat or harassment concerning the completion of, or time required for any mount. A $500.00 fee will be charged for any third party involvement plus other fees and costs as stated above. The decision and discretion of the taxidermist is binding and absolute and shall apply in any situation, in any disagreements or conflicts and for any fee assessment. Prices subject to change or adjustment without notice. Crating, shipping, repair, form modification to fit short capes, and the replacement of skins & capes are extra. No Cash refunds for any reason. Unsatisfactory customer performance may be reported & listed with all credit bureaus, data banks, and collection agencies and additional action (s) may be taken.
Can you e-mail that to me? Seriously! I am a beginner and was just thinking about contracts. That is very impressive. I re-read this and it sounds like I'm not being sincere. Could you mail me a copy? I'll gladly pay you for your time. I don't really know all the legal jargon and big words sometimes confuse simple people. Please let me know.
Thanks for the advice!It will go a long way.(Kim, I copied your contract for reference.)
It is ok. Everything is due out in a book late this year or early next year. My book should be around five hundred pages long.......