Joint Check Agreements

What Are Joint Check Agreements?

No, it has nothing to do with twisting your arm while depositing a check at the bank, although I’m certain some may believe this to be true. A Joint Check Agreement is an agreement between multiple parties, allowing one party to make payment through a check issued to two or more payees. These types of agreements require the consent of multiple parties (i.e. the GC & the Sub or the Owner & the GC) and are often used as an additional tool in managing risk associated with construction credit.

What’s the benefit of a Joint Check Agreement?

The primary benefit of a joint check agreement is the additional security it can provide.

  • General Contractors like joint check agreements because they help to ensure the subcontractor will pay its suppliers with the appropriate funds (i.e. Circumvent robbing Peter to pay Paul).
  • Material Suppliers and other parties contracted with subcontractors like joint check agreements for added security on a potentially risky credit situation. (i.e. perhaps there is a lack of solid credit info on the general contractor)

What information should be included in a Joint Check Agreement?

Let’s break down the contents of a sample Joint Check Agreement provided by The Credit Research Foundation.

First, include the date of the agreement, the invoice(s)/purchase order(s) to be covered under the agreement, your company name & address as well as your customer’s name & address.

Date Purchase Order Number
Your Company Name Your Customer’s Name (Party 2)
Your Company Address Party 2 Address
Your Company City/State/Zip Party 2 City/State/Zip

Gentlemen:

YOUR COMPANY NAME has been requested by PARTY 2 to furnish certain (specify:  parts, components, etc.) on credit under purchase order number: ___________________ dated: ________________. The project is identified by PARTY 3 purchase order # __________________, dated: _________________.

Next, identify the authorized signors (the individual at each company that is permitted to execute this type of agreement) as well as the terms and conditions of the sale.

PARTY 2 and PARTY 3 understand and agree that: (1) the undersigned signors are authorized agents of said companies and are duly empowered to enter into and make a binding agreement on behalf of their respective companies; (2) YOUR COMPANY NAME standard terms and conditions of sale which appear on each of YOUR COMPANY NAME invoice and the application of credit shall govern all sales of goods and/or equipment from YOUR COMPANY NAME to PARTY 2 in accordance with its contract with PARTY 3.

Make sure to include wording that covers the materials/labor provided for the particular project. Including a specific project helps alleviate “robbing Peter to pay Paul” (i.e. monies paid are for that particular project).

Applicable only to the products furnished by YOUR COMPANY NAME and as a condition precedent to furnishing said materials for use and incorporation in the aforementioned project, YOUR COMPANY NAME requests that until it is paid in full, all payments made or to be made by PARTY 3 to PARTY 2 with respect to said project, be made payable by check or checks jointly payable to PARTY 2 and YOUR COMPANY NAME. It is understood that all payments shall be timely and in the form of an immediate and unconditional negotiable instrument. Upon issuance of a check by the PARTY 3, it shall be promptly endorsed by PARTY 2 and delivered to YOUR COMPANY NAME. It is understood that this is a continuing Agreement applicable to the original purchase order and the YOUR COMPANY NAME invoice(s) and to any subsequent billing related to this project only.

Identify what actions should be taken in the event one party fails to uphold their end of the agreement. Lastly, include language prohibiting the altering of said agreement and include spaces for all three parties to sign.

Should PARTY 2   refuse to endorse any joint check tendered by PARTY 3, then upon demand by YOUR COMPANY NAME, PARTY 3 agrees to issue a single party check payable to YOUR COMPANY NAME for the amount shown upon the unpaid invoice (s) relating to the goods/materials furnished to and used by  PARTY 2 under purchase order #: __________________________   dated: __________________.
Notwithstanding any additional contract terms that may now or hereafter exist between PARTY 2 and   PARTY 3, this agreement may not be altered or modified without the written consent of YOUR COMPANY NAME or its authorized representative.
This agreement will assist YOUR COMPANY NAME in fulfilling the requirements of PARTY 2 under its contract with   PARTY 3 and is for the mutual protection of each party. In no way should it be interpreted as casting doubt on the ability, integrity or credit worthiness of any interested party. Duly authorized signors should promptly execute this Agreement in the spaces provided below and upon completion, return this original Joint Check Agreement to YOUR COMPANY NAME. An acknowledgment will be mailed to you.

Your Company Name Party 2 Name            Party 3 Name           
By By By
Title Title Title

At-a-Glance: Joint Check Agreement Content Breakdown

  • The name and address of each party associated with the agreement
  • The name/address of the project to which the materials/labor are being supplied
  • The date the parties entered into the agreement
  • The credit terms
  • The steps to be taken, in the event the agreement is not upheld
  • Signatures of all parties involved

Although joint check agreements are an excellent tool for mitigating risk, there are potential pitfalls. Before entering into Joint Check Agreement, or any contractual agreement, it is always best to have legal counsel review the document & its terms.

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