A work order form is for recording required services, repairs, parts or materials used in any maintenance service project. These projects vary in size & scope from a simple landscaping clean up to a HVAC maintenance order in a multi-unit building. As the customer, you may find yourself reading the details of a contractors’ work order form for your leaky roof, electrical problem, car repair or home appliance repairs. The accuracy of this information is imperative because it could mean the difference between a successful project or losing revenue. When a contractor hands you a work order form will you know what it’s for?
Or perhaps you’re starting your own handyman services. Do you know all there is to know about business forms? Are you aware of all the details that make up a work order form?
Have no fear! We are here to help you navigate the complicated world of work order forms. The more you understand the clearer your responsibility as customer or contractor will be. The worse thing you could do is bluff your way through the process. The best course of action is to make sure you fully understand the legal document in front of you.
What is a work order form for and what does it do?
A work order, also known as job ticket, repair form or service form, is a written contract between a customer and a contractor authorizing said contractor to perform the duties listed therein. The form will clearly outline the scope of work a customer needs done which includes the cost for materials.
Sounds simple enough, right? Except there is so much more to a work order form. Lets continue by answering these important questions:
- What is the purpose of a work order?
- What information must be in a work order?
- How is a work order different from an invoice?
- Is a purchase order the same thing as work order?
- What are the different types of work orders?
- Who writes the work order?
- Who uses work orders?
- How do technicians use work orders?
- When do I pay a work order?
- What kind of templates are there?
What is the purpose of a Work Order Form?
A work order form creates a legally binding contract that must be adhered to once work begins. This is to protect both the client and the contractor. For example, without a contract a contractor could perform work that wasn’t agreed upon or a client could refuse to pay. Without proof of agreement, neither party would be able to come to a satisfactory solution.
Another purpose of a work order form is to schedule jobs. This way a customer will know when to expect the technician and the contractor’s office can schedule work accordingly.
Technicians also rely on work order forms to give them detailed instructions regarding the scope of the work. It’s basically the equivalent of Ikea instructions. Leave one detail out and the whole project will be unstable.
What information must a work order include?
Work order forms hold a lot of information that will be important to securing the job’s success and the customers satisfaction.
Let’s review all of the parts and why they are important.
This one is a given. But imagine what would happen if this very important information was left out? Or spelled incorrectly?
However, there are some work order forms that ask the customers name as well as the company name and job location. This happens if the person requesting the work is not at the location the job will be performed at. Another reason is so the technician knows who is in charge of overseeing the company’s project.
Location of the job.
As noted above, the location of the job is important because sometimes the person authorizing the work is not at the same location the work is being done. So the billing address may differ from the job location.
Occasions like this may arise when dealing with commercial properties. Commercial properties often have multiple office locations or warehouses. There’s also the chance that a home owner could own two homes and they’re requesting work being done on one. These are just two examples of why “job location” may be an important part of your work order form.
Authorization of Work
Every contract needs to specify who ordered the work and who is authorizing it. When a customer signs, they are saying they have the legal rights to request work to be done at this job location. This is one of the most important parts of the form for the contractor because it lets them know that the customer is putting their full weight behind the work order.
Technician performing the work
This is helpful for both the contractor’s office and the customer. If the customer has an issue or has a question about the job, they know who to ask for. And of course the office will have a record of who was working on what property or project. This is very helpful for returning calls.
When a returning customer requests a new project or even a repair on previous work, it’s helpful to send out the same technician that first worked on the property. That technician will be familiar with the property and any work that was done. This helps the process go smoother. There is also the added bonus of the client already being familiar with the technician and their work ethic.
Work Start & End Date
This is extremely important for the customer and contractor so that technicians can be scheduled when it is most convenient for both parties. A contractor should also give the customer an idea of when all work should be completed.
These dates should always be adhered to and as a customer you have every right to expect your contractors to make good on their word. If they don’t, you have a binding contract that will be your saving grace should you need to file any complaints. As a contractor, this will help you efficiently schedule your jobs.
Parts Needed or Description of Work
Depending on the type of work being done, a work order should have either one of these and sometimes even both. This section plays an essential role in helping customers understand what they’ve ordered.
If the job requires parts to be ordered then the work order should reflect this and the price for each part. This helps the customer understand the costs and the office to order parts accordingly.
The description of work describes in detail the job being performed. This can also be an extended explanation of what the parts are for or why they are being ordered.
Companies that take the time to explain their labor costs are companies worth hiring. Be weary of forms that only have labor costs located in the total box. Unless of course it’s made clear that labor cost is a flat charge.
The best practice for contractors is to be upfront about the amount of work the technicians do and what the hourly cost for the job is.
Terms & Conditions
This is the most important part of the work order. The terms and conditions covers both parties in case of a conflict. Customers should know how to read the terms and conditions and understand what legal rights they have. Contractor’s should always consult a lawyer to make sure that their terms and conditions will protect their business from a lawsuit.
Payment terms refer to when the customer is to pay the bill and what methods the customer can use to pay their bill. Some companies will even add a promissory note to the back of their forms which describes in detail how much money the customer is to pay, how they will pay it and to whom they’re paying the money to.
However, customers do not typically pay from the work order invoice. Once the work order is complete, the contracting company should issue an invoice. However, if you want to save time and money there are work order invoice forms that do both.
Warranties (if any)
Warranties should have their own section and must cover all aspects of the coverage. These include label, parts & travel time. Most repair companies will have their own term for label. These terms can be between 30 days to many year of free label. Some contractors offer a discounted rate after the first year. As for the parts, the warrant must stipulate if the replaced parts were used or new. Most of the new parts are covered under factory coverage. If parts used were refurbished or used, term of warranty can be set by the contractor.
Work Order Number
The work order number is a unique number given to each job. This number must also match the invoice sent to the customer so that they can make payment.
Wait, work orders and invoices are two different things? Yes they are and they have two completely different purposes!
How is a work order form different from an invoice?
A work order is a detailed description of work being performed. While an invoice is more of a bill.
Don’t invoices also include descriptions?
Yes, some invoices do. Once a job is completed, an invoice is drawn up. The invoice will have an overview of the job that was completed with final costs. Think of a work order as a “to do” list while an invoice is a formal notice of payment due upon completion.
Is a purchase order the same thing as a work order?
The only similarities these forms have is in their name.
A work order is a “to do” list requested by a client to a contractor. Remember, work order forms will have a list of parts, job description, labor costs and job location information.
A purchase order is a request to purchase goods from a supplier. Once the seller has that initial purchase order, a formal order is then drawn up by the seller and presented to the buyer for confirmation. This is an exchange of goods and not services. You can immediately tell the difference between the two forms when you see the “ship to” and “delivery schedule” boxes that are on all purchase orders.
Types of Work Orders
There are work orders for every type of work. Maintenance requests. Repairs. Estimates. Most order forms have the same central information only the work details may differ.
Repair Work Orders
These types of work orders are typically done by appliance repair companies, auto repair service centers, plumbing companies and other handyman services.
Repair work orders work just like the work orders described above but with the added distinction that the work will be completed on already installed equipment or structures. A repair form is easy to spot because the forms will include equipment vin, model or unit numbers under the customer information. Some repair forms may also have claim checks.
The forms also double as a maintenance requests.
Work Order Estimates
Work Order Estimates are used to price a job but no formal contract for work has been signed. This document will have the same elements described under “What Work Orders should include” but with the distinction that this is only an estimate. Companies will often include “work order” or “estimate” check boxes to denote the difference.
Additional Work Authorization Forms
The additional work authorization forms work the same as a standard work order only they allow for additional work to be added to a current job. There are projects that may become bigger than originally intended. Sometimes there are hidden defects that are only uncovered when technicians begin digging into the project. Often it might be new ideas the customers come up with or a change in budget. In these cases, additional work forms become necessary as they are formal agreements outlining changes to the original plan or additional repairs or materials needed.
Who writes up the Work Order Form?
Typically, the contractor or service supplier takes a request from a client and draws up a work order based on the client’s request. This request can be made over the phone or in person depending on what type of work is being done.
Work orders can also be drawn up onsite by a technician that is surveying the scope of the work.
Who Uses Work Orders?
Any business that renders repair work, installations, exchange of services will use a work order form. Those types of businesses include but are not limited to:
- HVAC -Heating Ventilation Air Condition contractors
- Auto repair centers & Body Shops
- Appliance repair contractors
- Repair Centers which can include anything from Jewelry to Automotive
- General Contractors or Handymen
- Communication Services
How do Technicians Use a Work Order Form?
Technicians arrive at the request of the customer. They will assess the job and fill out the work order form accordingly. The work order form comes in 2, 3, 4 or 5 parts. The top part will copy to the bottom layers. Forms have multiple parts so that the form only needs to be filled out once then given to the proper person.
But what are the extra copies for?
The company will designate which copy goes where. Every company has their own system for filing. For example. the technician will leave one copy with the customer. Upon returning to the office, the technician will turn in the remaining forms to the office who will then schedule the job. Typically, one part will return with the technician to the job. The remaining copy will be filed away in the office. Some companies will require extra copies to be sent to subcontractors.
When to Pay a Work Order Form
As mentioned above, typically, you do not issue payment from the work order. The work order is strictly a document that outlines the work being done.
There’s a number here that I have to pay. How do I pay it?
Most work orders will have a small line of print that says “this is not an invoice” or “do not pay from this work order”. If this line is missing, first ask your contractor when payment is expected. If you are the contractor and this line is missing, make sure that your next work order clearly states when payment is due.
There are times when companies try to cut down on costs and will issue a customer a work order and invoice in one. If this is the case, the customer will pay the technician upon completion of the job.
If that is not the case, the customer must check their mailbox. The physical one and the virtual one. The contractor will mail an invoice to pay and at that time the customer will either call in payment or send a check.
Wait, my job wasn’t completed to my satisfaction. What do I do?
Never pay the final invoice until the job is finished and done correctly. If an agreement can’t be reached then consult a lawyer on what your next step should be. Make sure to give your lawyer all of the paperwork associated with the project. There might be something in the legal terms that may help your case. Work orders are a godsend in these circumstances because you have a document that fully outlines all of the work that should have been done. That work was what was agreed upon and therefore should be carried out and completed on time and correctly.
What kind of Work Order Form Templates are there?
We’ve already discussed the different types of work orders but work orders come in many shapes, sizes and layouts. These work orders are often custom fit to the work flow of the business.
Small jobs will only require small forms. Businesses that only do small repairs should save their money and purchase smaller forms. The best thing about half-page forms is that they’re easy to hold and store. If you handle large jobs do not try to cram all the needed information into a 10 line form. It will make it harder for you to read as well as your client.
Going any smaller than a half-page won’t save you money because the same amount of paper will be used for printing. Therefore, we suggest you use the space wisely. If half-page is still too much for your workflow then perhaps expand the line space for more writing room.
Full page forms fill up the entire 8.5×11 page and gives you more room to breathe whether you’re a small business doing minor work or a large company doing full scale remodels. More line items can be added or as we mentioned above subtracted for more writing space. The font size on the full page forms tend to be a bit larger as there is more room. This is an added bonus and one many customers will appreciate.
Legal size refers to forms that are 8.5 x 14. This size can pack in every fine detail without making the form hard to read. Furthermore, if your company’s terms and conditions need to be included a legal size form is the way to go. Especially if your ToC is more than a page long. Or if you just need more lines for writing! Our contractor job estimate form is a good example of how large scale jobs may need the extra room. A customer doesn’t want to get out the magnifying glass to read your small print.
You might think this is a matter of preference but it’s actually an important distinction worth considering. If you don’t need as many lines but the repairs or materials you work with requires more writing space, a horizontal form is the way to go. This allows for wider description boxes, longer note areas and sometimes even larger print. Additionally, there are cases where companies may want more of a separation between the work performed and the details relevant only to the office. For example, our order form here has the materials and job description on the left while the payment, terms and warranties are on the right.
For jobs that use a lot of materials or include labor costs, vertical forms like our general work order invoice are able to utilize every inch of an 8.5×11 form. We tend to feel that have a lot to checkboxes or a large itemized list of charges, are better suited in for a vertical format. For example, our Pool Services Work Order Form would be impossible on a horizontal layout without making the massive checklist too small to read. Likewise, the Landscaping Work Order Form works well in a vertical layout because the columns fit together in a way that maximizes work flow and makes the most sense.
Where do you buy work order forms?
At Printit4Less.com we offer a wide range of custom printed Work Order Forms. All of our templates are completely customizable upon request. It’s imperative that your work orders work the way you work. Custom printed forms are the best way to get quality forms that match your business model. We work hard to bring the best business forms straight to your doorstep!
Categorised in: Business Forms 101
This post was written by Progressive Printing Team