The best way to handle project selections — and the price you charge for them — is to have all the products chosen prior to the start of the job.

However, there are areas that do not require pre-construction selections — paint colors, for example. For these types of selections, you should create a schedule for the client listing “due by” dates. You must determine and communicate the specific date to the homeowners, or the profitable flow of the job will be interrupted by the lack of a decision.

The date, as well as the pricing method for product selections, should be clearly identified and addressed in your contract. This should include language that gives you the right to stop the job if the client does not make the selection by that date, as well as language that specifies that the clients must pay you the amount of money that it costs you to stop the job, suspend work, and restart the job. Both you and your client should initial this section when you present the contract.

Consult a lawyer who specializes in construction law for the appropriate clause to put into your contract. It would also be prudent to ask the lawyer for suggestions to update your existing contract to meet any new laws in your state.

—Les Cunningham is president of Business Networks, a peer-review organization for the remodeling and insurance restoration industries. He can be reached at