The instructions for projects completed by independent parties are known as a contract. Projects require proper timing, so your contract also serves as a schedule. Your contract schedule must list services, payments and a timeframe for each part of the project. Every detail of the agreement, along with contingency plans, must be included on the contract schedule to avoid confusion and protect you in case of litigation.
Make a list of all of the services to be performed under the contract. Detail every action to be taken at each step of the process. Be specific and include everything to avoid confusion.
Make a second list of payments to be made to the contractor. Specify which step must be accomplished before the next payment can be received. Include all labor and materials in your payment schedule to avoid confusion at this stage.
Arrange both lists into chronological order. Put the lists side by side, along with the date each one is expected to be accomplished. Include a grace period for each service and payment to cover any possible setback or delay.
Explain the contingency plans at every step. Provide specific details of what will happen if a step is partially completed, or skipped entirely.
Leave a space at the beginning of each line for both parties to initial when that line is read. This will insure that both parties review the document thoroughly.
Leave a space at the bottom of the contract schedule for both parties to sign and date. This will prove that everyone is aware of the entire document. Have witnesses on hand to countersign the document, as well as a notary.
Always have an attorney draft -- or at least review -- all legal documents you will sign, including contracts and schedules.