I bid on a job to change 253 fixtures in a office/warehouse. If I was to get the go ahead on a job such as this I was thinkin I should write up a contract stating the reqd work, price and payment terms and have the building owner sign it.Would this be normal practice?Would this help me if I had to sue for non payment? I was thinking of just adding this to the bottom of the quote sheet and having them sign off on it. I am unsure of the procedures but I want my company to look professional.
As has already been mentioned, you need a firm contract set out by a lawyer who knows the laws and procedures in your area.
If you want to get an some ideas as to what should be included, contact your local Contractors association and your local home builders association. Both of these associations should have sample contracts, usually for a small fee. They can then be used to create a sort of outline that you can then ask your lawyer to review.
This procedure does two things, it gets you mre familiar with what is needed in a good contract, as well as helps to possibly reduce the time spent by the lawyer drafting your contract.
Hope this info is helpful and definitely put together a solid proposal contract form. I use a contract/proposal for all large projects and deliver the proposal ready for approval on the first visit. This sets you apart from many of the competitors and can greatly improve your closing rate.
Like others have already stated, contract law is - for the most part - governed by state law. Therefore, contract law for each state may vary somewhat. However, most states' laws are based on English common law, and they also generally adopt codified laws based on the uniform code. As such, most states laws are generally the same (with notable exceptions such as Louisiana - which is based on French common law.)
The best bet is to hire an attorney who specializes in contracts - specifically, one with experience in construction contracts. However, if you can't afford an attorney right now, anything in writing is better than nothing in writing. Courts will even accept a handwritten note signed by both parties that is written in laymen's terms. So, I would suggest finding some templates online or buying a generic contract at your office supply store if you can't have a contract drawn up that meets your specific needs. Again, anything in writing is better than nothing in writing.