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5 Major Types of Construction Contracts

Updated: Jul 13

types of construction contracts

Understanding Construction Contracts: The Bedrock of a Successful Construction Business

As an experienced contractor, you're well aware that success in the construction industry relies as much on your skill with paperwork as it does on your physical labor. One of the most vital components of this paperwork? Contracts.

Knowing how to navigate and select the ideal construction contract can significantly influence a project's profitability and seamless completion. With that in mind, let's delve into the five principal types of construction contracts you should be familiar with.

1. Lump Sum or Fixed Price Contracts

Lump sum contracts are relatively uncomplicated. They involve agreeing upon a total fixed price for a specific scope of work. These contracts offer financial certainty, which is a huge boon for construction business owners.

However, it's important to be wary of unforeseen costs that may arise during the project, as they could leave you shouldering extra expenses. Careful planning and accurate cost estimation are crucial for success in lump-sum contracts.

2. Cost Plus Contracts

Cost-plus contracts cover the actual costs, purchases, and other expenses directly related to the construction work. In addition to reimbursement for costs, these contracts provide additional compensation for the services provided, typically as a fixed amount or a percentage of the total cost.

Cost-plus contracts allow for more financial flexibility, but they require careful management to control costs and ensure a reasonable profit margin.

>> Learn more: What is Overhead Cost? Are You Spending Too Much?

3. Time and Material Contracts

When the scope of a project is uncertain, Time and Material (T&M) contracts are the best choice. These contracts bill the client for the time and materials required, allowing for greater flexibility.

However, the final bill can be unpredictable, requiring a high level of trust from the client.

>> Learn more: 6 Effective Strategies for Contractors to Promote Customer Trust

4. Unit Pricing Contracts

Most commonly used in public projects, unit pricing contracts charge based on a specific unit or measurement (for example, per cubic yard of concrete installed). This method is effective when work or project quantities are uncertain.

Unit pricing contracts are effective when the quantity of work or project elements is uncertain. They provide a clear and transparent way of determining costs and allow for easy adjustments when the scope of work changes.

5. Design and Build Contracts

This contract type combines design and construction into a single package. The contractor assumes the risk of estimating costs for both design and construction, which can streamline the project but might also increase risk.

Each contract type has its pros, cons, and ideal scenarios. But regardless of the contract you're working with, effective bookkeeping can be the deciding factor in a project's success.

That's where CCA comes in. As your reliable partner for bookkeeping services for construction companies, we understand the complexities of the construction industry. We ensure you have the right financial data at your fingertips to make informed decisions, no matter the contract type. This way, you can concentrate more on your area of expertise: constructing exceptional projects.

construction contract types and bookkeeping services

It's time to ask yourself: Are you choosing the correct contract for your projects? If you're uncertain, it may be time to reassess your strategy and consider how effective bookkeeping could assist in your decision-making process.


Are you aware of common mistakes in accounting for construction companies and how to avoid them? Or have you considered how QuickBooks could streamline your construction accounting? Our resources can guide you through these topics and more. So, let's reevaluate your approach and unlock the potential for success in your construction business.

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