Haulage contracts are the bread and butter of every haulier, especially when it comes to major clients that seek to work with firms in the long term. This is why it is imperative that all documents, from brief one-time delivery contracts to long-term heavy haulage contracts, are written up flawlessly. Make sure to correct these common errors found in many ill formulated contracts out there:
No definition of terms and parties involved in the contract
There is a good reason why many formal contracts start out by defining the terms they use. Differentiating the pickup points from the destination points, the customer from the haulier, the transportation services offered from the transportation logistics needed to plan out the trip - all these things need to be clarified right at the very beginning to prevent anyone from misunderstanding any parts.
Ill-defined range of services subject to misinterpretation
Speaking of definition, you have to clearly outline the scope of your duties as the haulier in the haulage contracts. Make sure to define what you will be carrying and how you will carry it in order to make sure you are not overextending your services to areas not covered by the contract. Carrying heavy loads to the agreed upon warehouse is one thing, but handling return loads is an entirely different matter that needs to be clarified.
Using unnecessary adjectives and adverbs
Adjectives and adverbs may be very useful for marketing purposes, but they have no place in formal documents. The papers should contain quantifiable facts, not words that can be interpreted differently depending on the person reading them. If you must use adjectives, like "heavy" (in heavy loads), then you must define them in a measurable manner. In our previous example, you have to define the minimum and maximum weight limits to differentiate heavy from light loads.
Unfair charges and indemnity clauses
Always make competitive offers and be fair when it comes to your responsibilities should you fail to render the services outlined in your agreement. Clients will feel better knowing you will take measures when something unforeseen happens, so give them the assurance they need in the form of reimbursements should problems arise. And make sure to continually study the rates being offered by your competitors - you don't want to lose customers to other hauliers because they are making better offers than you.
Lack of negotiation and clarification
Remember that contracts are only set in stone once both parties agree to the terms involved. Everything is subject to change until that happens, so don't stonewall your clients when it comes to finalising the details. Present the document as is but listen well when they ask to modify a part. Make counteroffers or concessions as you see fit, but never rebuff them by saying you cannot change the terms.