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Contract know-how

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A thorough contract can prevent headaches down the road. Contracts should address factors such as pricing, invoice and delivery, according to Jan Schieffer, managing director of the Fabric Graphics Association. She notes that some smaller companies do all their work on a verbal contract, which could lead to problems. “I always tell them to get everything in writing.”

David King of MarketKing agrees. “Put everything in the purchase order because if it is not in writing and in one place, they are bound to make a mistake. People that send in orders over the phone are just asking for a disaster, and ones that send multiple emails with details on them are asking for trouble.”

It’s also a good idea to be clear on your payment policies. “We require 50-percent payment before we start doing anything, and the balance when we ship,” says Bruce Flora of Kiteman Productions. “Because of that, we seldom have problems collecting funds, and we have found that most people have no problem with that.”

Holly O’Dell is a freelance writer in Pine City, Minn., who specializes in interior design, residential construction and architecture.

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