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Although we have been in business for almost 40 years, these were done by hand until 10 to 15 years ago +-.
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Construction Joint Check Agreement Form
Joint Check Agreement form preview
Why you MUST use the Joint Check Agreement form
This form, when signed by you the general contractor (or owner if you're contracting directly with the subcontractors), your subcontractor, and their supplier(s), allows you to pay your subcontractor in a joint check made out to the subcontractor and the supplier.
The way it worked for us (as subcontractors, and this was prior to joint checks being common):
We would generate the joint check agreement and have our supplier sign it.
Then we would sign it and we'd send a copy to the general contractor. The general contractor would sign it and then send a copy back to us. We would then send a copy to our supplier. Everybody had a signed copy so there weren't any questions.
The amazing thing is when we were doing this, general contractors balked at cutting joint checks. They didn't want to do it, or they wanted to charge the subcontractor for every joint check they cut.
What they didn't realize was that the joint check agreement protected them as much as it protected the supplier.
(Now it's reversed. Now some subcontractors balk at joint checks. So, now that the general contractors are on board, or at least many of them, now the general contractor has to make it part of the contract that the subcontractor has to accept payment via a joint check made out to him and his supplier.)
The general contractor writes the check (usually for the entire payment on that particular invoice) to both the subcontractor and the supplier. The subcontractor will take the check to his supplier, endorse it, and hand it over.
The supplier will deposit the check and when it clears the issuer's bank, then the supplier will write a check for the difference back to the subcontractor.
Using the Joint Check Agreement along with the Lien Waiver/Release forms may help the general contractor (and Owner) to keep the property free of liens.
As a further step of protection, I always recommend that the general contractor or the Owner call the supplier and make sure that the supplier was indeed paid, EVEN if the supplier issues a waiver/release form through the subcontractor.
This is because we knew a general contractor that issued a joint check to the subcontractor and the supplier, the subcontractor forged the supplier's signature and deposited the check, and then the subcontractor split town.
It wasn't until a couple months later, when the supplier gave up trying to reach the subcontractor and called the general contractor direct, that it was discovered what the subcontractor had done.
By then it was too late. The general contractor had to pay the material bill again, this time straight to the supplier, to keep the supplier from putting a lien on the owner's property.
Unfortunately, more and more dishonest people are entering the world of contracting. Protect yourself and your company, and your customers, by using the joint check agreement.
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Joint Check Agreement
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