Just 500 Words
While there is no magic in the precise word-count for your letter of intent, consultant appointment, collateral warranty or subcontract, you can and should write, understand and use 500-word contracts as they build trust, start projects quicker, manage client expectations, avoid disputes and so much more…
I believe you should start a project as you mean to go on – that means using a realistic contract strategy, and contracts that you can read, understand and use. Even if they are short, your contracts should make sense!
Why Letters of Intent?
In the last 20 years, I have read more letters of intent than I care to remember! I read them on Friday afternoons when the project team were itching to start work on Monday at 8am. I read them in the 100+ cases I studied for my peer-reviewed article in International Journal for Law in the Built Environment. I read them when creating my SCL paper D195, November 2016, on Can Letters of Intent Help You Avoid Lawyers? And I read a wide variety of current versions when preparing for my letter of intent workshops.
And what an dangerous bunch of words they turned out to be! As it says on our manifesto:
“We want your contracts to help you do business – by creating trusting, collaborative partnerships.”
How My Books Will Help You
Each book explains why I am challenging ‘received wisdom’ (aka centuries of practice) by creating short and simple contracts. Frankly, it’s because I have seen the mess created by longer contracts both when construction specialists try to read, understand and then use them – more often than not they simply shove them into a drawer and cross their fingers for luck. Making contracts easier to read, understand and use is also backed up by construction industry data, plain language studies and thousands of examples across industries and jurisdictions.
My second aim was to explain what you really really need in each contract, some challenging content and effective extras. For each of my contracts, I held a blank sheet of paper and added just enough to create the contents you need. I want you to get confident with your contracts, so I also explain what happens if you say nothing on each of those subjects (a zero-word contract!).
My third aim was to make sure you could write it yourself. Each of the content chapters includes sample text you can adopt, adapt or reflect on to develop a contract that suits your company, your project, and your client’s needs. It also contains case studies of those who have got it wrong to help you learn from their mistakes and not create your own.
As well as the book, you can get information, tips and techniques from these specially created online resources:
- Letter of Intent STAR Checklist (free)
- Letter of intent outline (download with optional donation to Woodland Trust)
- 3-part video series (paid) with bonus webinar
- A to Z of letters of intent (links to series of LinkedIn articles)
- 10 Point Scorecard so you can rate your letters of intent, and those you receive, against the advice in the book
- Letter of Intent Sense Checklist
- Sample appointments (download with optional donation to Woodland Trust)
- Consultant Appointment Sense Checklist