A contract is a 2-way promise. In the elevator maintenance world, the elevator company promises to maintain and repair your elevator, and you promise to pay them. What happens if one of you doesn’t hold up your end of the bargain? Well, contracts address that too. So dig your copy out of the file drawer and see what it says.
It likely contains a provision that says if you don’t pay, they can stop taking care of your elevator. That seems fair enough. But what about the other way around? What if the company taking care of your machine never comes? Or only does “touch and go” maintenance, where they’re in and out in 15 minutes, with most of the time spent chatting on their cell phone? What if they take days to respond to your service calls? I bet your contract is silent on that. Not so fair.
Every contract should contain a provision that lets either party terminate if the other party breaches the contract. Of course you should provide for notice first, to give the other party a chance to cure the breach. If your check was lost in the mail, you’d want a chance to replace the check before they cancelled, after all.
Here’s some sample language you should have in your maintenance agreement:
“If either party breaches any provision of this agreement and if such breach is not cured within thirty (30) days after receiving written notice from the other party specifying such breach in reasonable detail, the non-breaching party shall have the right to terminate this agreement by giving written notice thereof to the party in breach, which termination shall go into effect immediately on receipt.”
The ability to terminate an agreement needs to be a two way street and it needs to be addressed before you are locked into an agreement. So remember to always check the termination clause, ask for changes if needed, and shop for another company if they refuse to be reasonable.