Job contract troubles will undoubtedly forever plague the contractor. But with some careful planning, he may reduce them considerable. The following points should be kept in mind. (1) Get it in writing. The contractor who depends on oral agreements is always loaded with contract troubles. No matter how small the job, the contract should be in writing. (2) Specify the materials to be used. Many legal tangles with regard to contracts have arisen over misunderstandings on this point. Materials should never be specified in general terms or left unspecified. If exact colors, grade and manufacturer's name are specified withing the contract, then this cause of possible dispute is avoided. (3) State payment terms explicitly. The contract will usually be held binding in court should an appearance there become necessary to enforce payment. However, a thorough understanding of terms by both parties usually prevents the necessity for legal action. (4) State time elements. Whenever possible, the date on which the job will be started should be stated. Exact completion dates are best avoided when possible since many elements outside the contractor's control may affect the work schedule. (5) Don't guarantee uncertain materials. If the customer insists on using inferior materials in order to hold costs down, by all means insert a clause in the contract stating that materials are specified by the customer and that the responsibility for their performance is his own. This will of course serve to discourage insistence on inferior materials. (6) Check in detail with the customer one more time. The contract in final form should be presented to the customer and every point clarified to him. Then give him a day or two before starting the job to re-read the contract and to come up with any last minute changes. It is easier to re-write the contract before the job itself is started than to make contract revisions or set up oral side agreements later. Also it is a good idea to remember to: (7) Define what is considered "extra" in advance; (8) spell out all details; (9) avoid any follow-up guarantees; (10) set time limits within the contract; (11) insert an "in case of dispute" clause; and finally (12) include liability disclaimers.