Naperville Business Lawyer Recommends Preparing Winter Contracts Now

The signs of autumn are becontracts, winter service contracts, Naperville business law attorneyginning to spread around Northern Illinois. The leaves are starting their annual explosion into deep reds and fiery oranges, the temperatures are dropping, and pumpkin spice-flavored, well, everything, can be found on coffeehouse and restaurant menus again. Before long, winter will be knocking on the door, and when it does, your business must have a plan for snow and ice removal. Every year, it seems, business clients come to me with questions over liability for injuries in the snow and how to structure a service contract to protect owners’ interests. While the Chicago region may not get as much snow as other areas of the country, it is never too early to begin looking at ways to keep your customers and your company safe from the dangers of snow and ice.

Do It Yourself?

The first thing you need to decide is if you have the time, energy, or interest in providing your own snow removal services. To do so, you must be certain that you are able to safely and effectively keep your parking lots and walkways sufficiently clear to prevent accidents and injuries. You may need to purchase the necessary tools and supplies, including a snowblower or plow attachment, shovels, and salt. In addition, you will want to be sure that your ability to continue operating your business will not be seriously hampered, as the realized savings in snow removal may be lost in productivity.

Service Contracts

If you decide to hire a contractor, it is important to learn as much about your available options as possible. Ask friends, business associates, and family members regarding trustworthy, reliable contractors capable of meeting your needs. Then, a Naperville business contract attorney can help you develop contract that contains some very specific provisions, including:

  • The term of the contract. Use dates, not seasonal descriptions like “winter;”
  • Designated areas requiring attention, including walkways, steps, parking areas. Use diagrams if necessary;
  • The intended method of maintenance for each area. Some may require shoveling, while others need to be salted or plowed;
  • The conditions under which the contractor must provide services, such as certain amount of snow by 5am, for example;
  • A clause holding the contractor responsible for damage to your property caused by his or her negligence;
  • How communication between you and the contractor will be maintained, 24 hours a day if necessary;
  • A method of logging complaints with the contractor, as well as a method for contractor to advise you of potential problems;
  • A valid indemnification or hold-harmless clause;
  • The requirement for the contractor to be fully insured, and that his or her policy extends to the services he or she is providing you; and
  • The understanding that any subcontractor hired by the contractor must adhere to the same contractual provisions.

While preparing such contract may seem like a daunting prospect, the experienced Naperville business contract attorneys at the Gierach Law Firm can make it easy. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and let us help you draft a service contract that provides you the protection you deserve.


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