Contract Details Matter
Contract Details Matter
For Bulk Contracts, Get the Details Up Front
The most critical part of choosing a bulk provider is the contract. The details in the contract are the only way to ensure that you get everything you were promised by the salesperson. Focusing on the details upfront in the sales process is the only way to guarantee that your residents get the service and support they deserve. Below are some key items that are critical to ensure are disclosed up front in the sales process so that they are guaranteed to get into the contract.
Show Me: It is important to ask each provider for their contract template upfront. That will quickly and easily show you and your committee what “promises” are or are not in the contract. For example, a salesperson may promise good customer service, but if there isn’t a Service Level Agreement (SLA) then there is no contractual commitment to hold the company accountable. By getting the contract template upfront you can ensure that anything that is promised is either already included or is agreed to be added.
Hidden Fees & Increases: Some telecom vendors may include hidden fees that are not clearly explained in the negotiation. For example, several providers will showcase one bulk price and not clearly disclose that there are other fees, like a broadcast or TV surcharge. Or they will list an annual “rate increase” that provides them with unlimited wiggle room to add more fees or change the increase. Getting an honest and upfront guarantee on the rate, fees, and increases will prevent you from having to try to re-negotiate when it is too late.
Construction Details, Timelines & Penalties: Just like any construction project, there are multiple methods and ways to install a fiber-optic network. To ensure that your expectations match what the provider will install, it is critical to have a detailed Statement of Work (SOW) along with construction standards, 100% clear deadlines, and penalties for missed dates. Some providers will not commit to how they will build the network when it will be complete, and do not back up the deadlines with penalties. Protect yourself and ensure that these are all in the agreement and disclosed upfront.
Key Questions to Ask Providers Upfront: To make sure you and the providers are on the same page early in the process, it is important to get answers to the following questions as soon as possible.
- Please provide me with your contract template at the same time as your price.
- Please provide me with a plain and simple explanation of your proposed rates, inclusive of any additional fees, annual increases, and guarantees that those rates will not change.
- Please provide me with your Statement of Work for the network build, in-home installation, contractual timeline for the project, and penalties for being late.