You’ve vetted vendors, reviewed quotes and now you’re getting ready to sign on the dotted line. Before you do, it pays to take a closer look at what’s in that medical waste service contract. Unfortunately, many companies find themselves trapped in legally binding agreements that bring about nothing but fee increases and automatic renewals.
Here we break down how to properly review your medical waste contract to ensure you’re protected against hidden fees, poor service and lack of compliance.
1. Base Monthly Fee Increase
Some medical waste disposal companies automatically build in monthly increases to your contract, whether your monthly services increase or not. Those charges can add up quickly, and there’s usually no reason for them to be included. If you notice language around monthly increases while reviewing a contract, don’t hesitate to ask for more clarification to see if there’s a legitimate reason for them before signing.
2. Additional Pickup Fees
The best contracts have a fixed price for waste pickups, but some companies throw several variables into their contracts that affect how much you’ll end up paying for each pickup. For example, some vendors charge extra fees for pickups that exceed a certain weight. Others include a “fuel and energy surcharge” fee to account for rising fuel and energy costs. Some even include an additional fee just for picking up the waste they’re contracted to pick up. Make sure you understand all the fees tied to your pickups and calculate how much you could be paying per pickup before signing your contract. To make things easy, US Bio-Clean’s pricing is all-inclusive, meaning there are no additional charges or hidden fees.
3. Annual Price Increases
Many medical waste disposal companies require customers to sign multi-year contracts, which often include an automatic annual price increase, even if your services don’t increase year over year. Ask yourself how much you’ll be paying over the life of the contract. A lower first-year rate might not be worth it when you factor in the annual increases. Run the numbers to see how the full costs stack up.
4. Length of Agreement and Automatic Renewals
Speaking of multi-year contracts, your contract should explicitly state the length of the agreement. It should outline when the agreed-upon services will start and when they will end. Additionally, check for an automatic renewal clause. Some companies include this in their contracts and often provide a small window of time to opt out of the contract before it automatically renews.
5. Compliance Standards
If your facility fails to adhere to regulatory compliance measures — whether at the local, state or federal level — it can be a costly mistake to correct. That’s why you’ll want to make sure the medical waste company you partner with follows all compliance regulations from all authorities who regulate medical waste so you aren’t the one who ends up paying for it. And you’ll want to make sure your contract specifically spells out the compliance standards the company follows.
6. Opt-Out Clause
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to make sure your contract has an opt-out clause that allows you to break the contract if you become dissatisfied with any aspect of your partnership with the medical waste company. Even if the vendor seems perfect at the time you’re entering the partnership, things can change with little or no warning. The company may fall under new management, for example, and change the way it operates. Breaking a legally binding contract that does not have an opt-out clause can — and likely will — be an expensive and time-consuming process. The safer route is to confirm you have a legitimate way out before signing.