The idea of directing strong manage-ment focus on all phases of an alarm company’s paperwork should be receiving increasing attention ... and with good reason. As companies strive to attain long term financial stability, maintain an efficient operating posture, achieve a continuing posi-tive cash flow, limit liability and make the business a highly valuable asset, the need for well managed paperwork grows significantly. Management quickly should realize that paperwork is not just a stem for scheduling purposes or recording/reporting dates, but a highly predictive, proactive management tool. This is especially true with the primary document in the paperwork arena, the contract. Following are eight key tips on what protective language to use, as well as types of contracts and documents you will need, which will set you on the right course to a more efficiently run business.
1. Contracts Are Vital to Successful Management
Contracts serve a dominant role in the financial management of an alarm company and provide a number of key benefits. Long term provisions help you gain an accurate projection of your current and future financial position. While offering protection against fluctuating and inade-quate cash flow, these provisions also help potential lenders accurately assess your company’s credit worthiness.
2. Custom Design Contracts for Your Alarm Company
The preparation of any contract for an alarm company is tempered by a number of factors. First, the contract should be specifically designed for your alarm business and put together with the guidance of a consultant who specializes in this area of expertise. The contract should describe the account’s terms, such as: purchase, lease, service/maintenance, central station monitoring, or connection to an existing system. One generic contract will not fit all subscriber services.
3. Using Different Contract Types Covers All Bases
Alarm firms should utilize a purchase contract, lease contract, service and maintenance contract, and a central station monitoring contract. In theory, and in practice, a contract should be used for any customer who requests any type of service whether installation, monitoring, repair or maintenance.
4. Make All Clients Sign on the Dotted Line!
In determining charges for service con-tracts, alarm owners should base their prices on the size of the system, past history, location of the premises and the type of equipment installed. It is, of course, very important that customers sign your contracts.
5. Properly Filled Out Service Tickets Can Avoid Litigation
In addition to contracts the keystone of an alarm company’s paperwork a number of other subscriber documents are important, such as the service ticket. The service ticket is a crucial piece of paperwork that outlines the job. With the proper protective language, only one ticket is necessary for all the firm’s repair serv-ices. All of your employees, especially installation and service technicians, should be completely trained in filling out these tickets.
6. Completion, Acceptance Form Validates Finished Job
Another important document is the certificate of completion and acceptance. Be certain to incorporate details in the document, including the fact that the system is fully operational and has been tested. Also, make note of any operating and testing instructions that have been given to the client. Written documentation, as a general rule, should serve as a foun-dation for everything the company is doing for a customer. Remember, if it is not in writing, it does not exist.
7. Provide Guidelines for Operation, Maintenance
It’s critical to your company to provide customers with two main types of instruc-tion booklets: a basic guide on operation and maintenance of the system and a guide on interacting with and utilizing central monitoring station. The wording of these guides is ex-tremely important. Any person who reads them must be able to completely understand the instructions.
8. Handle Proposals, Promo Materials With Kid Gloves
All customer proposals and promotional materials are documents that must be carefully prepared. Any representations, terms and conditions of these proposals should be in complete concurrence with the final installation contracts. All repre-sentations made by your alarm company should be addressed in your contract.
Before you make any changes in the way you conduct your business, con-sult with your attorneys and/or profes-sional advisors.