Haulage contracts protect hauliers and clients alike and are especially useful for haulage firms that want to work with customers for the long-term. This is why all contracts must be thoughtfully constructed, from one-off deals to long-term heavy haulage contracts.
These common errors, however, often find their way into contracts and have the potential to turn off potential clients. Make sure to address them if you want to keep, instead of lose your customers:
Using Too Many Adjectives and Adverbs
Adjectives and adverbs are great for prose but not so much for haulage contracts. The contracts you draw up should contain hard facts, like the weight of haul loads, instead of simply describing them as heavy. If you want to use adjectives to save on space and make the contract more readable, then be sure to clarify them in specific clauses of the document. For example, you would have to outline in the contract that the term “heavy haul loads” will apply to cargo exceeding a fixed weight threshold.
Exploitative Fees and Lacking indemnity clauses
One of the first things that potential clients will look up in haulage contracts is the price of things. Make sure to offer rates that are slightly better than your competitors, otherwise your potential clients will simply walk out and look for others to transport their heavy haulage loads for them. The same also applies for indemnity clauses. Do not try to weasel your way out of everything. Offer to compensate clients when you are unable to uphold your end of the bargain and they will trust you enough to consider hiring you.
Vague and Poorly Defined Terms
It is extremely important to make sure that everything in the contract is crystal clear especially when it comes to terms and services that can be easily misunderstood. Be sure to clarify who the client is, what services you will provide, any contacts you will work with besides your client and the destinations your lorries will be heading out to. A good rule of thumb is that if you use a word frequently in haulage contracts, then include it in the list of terms to be defined.
Excessively Broad Range of Services
Terms are one thing but the scope of the services you provide is another. You need to be clear about the extent of haulage work you will be doing, from the nature of your cargo to any possible haulage return loads that your clients will need bringing back. An excessively broad range of services in haulage contracts will be open to misunderstanding, and you do not want to lose a customer because they feel that you are spreading yourself too thinly.
Rigid and unchangeable contracts
Both parties are bound to the measures outlined in a contract when it is signed, but not before. All the contents of the contract can be modified prior to signing, but you should not be too quick to shoot down a potential client if he or she suggests a change. Listen and take note of what they want. Make a counteroffer or concede if absolutely necessary. Better to be a little flexible and gain a customer than be stubborn and lose one.
Make sure to address these errors in advance and your haulage contracts will be more attractive to prospective haulage customers.