PDA

View Full Version : Contract Question


Shawns Lawns
02-26-2006, 04:15 PM
Under what circumstances would you NOT want a contract if you are mostly doing lawn maintenance?

TURF DOCTOR
02-26-2006, 05:38 PM
P I T A Customer

Mr Budget
02-26-2006, 06:25 PM
P I T A Customer

Even with a PITA I would want a contract, just make sure your contract has a way for you to terminate it.:weightlifter:

Turfdude
02-26-2006, 06:41 PM
If it comes back w/ any modifications initialed by client that you do not agree to. Examples include change of paymet terms, change of mowing frequency, deletion of clean-up portion, etc.

Precision
02-26-2006, 08:07 PM
Under what circumstances would you NOT want a contract if you are mostly doing lawn maintenance?


Never.

contracts spell out the agreement. I will do this and you will pay that. spells out late fee policy, all the other stuff.

No contract no success in collections. Nothing to fall back on and say, Mr Jones your monthly payment does not include mulch or weed control that is why you have 3 foot weeds in your bed. that is your problem.

Shawns Lawns
02-27-2006, 05:11 PM
Never.

contracts spell out the agreement. I will do this and you will pay that. spells out late fee policy, all the other stuff.

No contract no success in collections. Nothing to fall back on and say, Mr Jones your monthly payment does not include mulch or weed control that is why you have 3 foot weeds in your bed. that is your problem.

What if it would put you out of business?:waving:

skurkp
02-27-2006, 05:20 PM
how is this going to put you out of business?

MarcSmith
02-27-2006, 05:21 PM
depends. do you want to be professional or be like the joes with the lawn boy sticking out of their trunk....A contract will not stop you from getting screwed, it will only help you get your money back when you do get screwed.

Point out to the coustomer that the contract, also protects them in regards to gauranteed pricing, it spells out exactly what you'll do and what you won't do...shows thatr that you are in it for th long huals and that you want to be there the whole season. Explain the out clauses, ect.

If ALL your coustomers are not willingto sign a contract for services rendered, then you must not have too many customers, or your customers don't belive in the work you can do. I had a few who did not want to sign, but they prepayed for the whole year....

Explain to the custoemrs you are trying to expand you business and you need to have some idea of the amount of income you can generate for equipment purchases, ect.

Shawns Lawns
02-27-2006, 05:28 PM
how is this going to put you out of business?

If you were in a location were contracts were not accepted by customers at all for lawn care servives.:waving: So if none of your customers were going to sign would you go out of business or would you work without a contract?

skurkp
02-27-2006, 05:33 PM
I don't have contracts for my residential work, only for my commercial work and they prefer a contract that way they can hold ME to it. On your homes just ask for a months deposit and explain that it will be applied to the last month of service for the season. This will cover your service for the month that you are in and if they don't pay after a short period stop service.

gqnine44
02-27-2006, 05:53 PM
If you were in a location were contracts were not accepted by customers at all for lawn care servives.:waving: So if none of your customers were going to sign would you go out of business or would you work without a contract?


You dont need a contract that locks the customer in for a whole year. I can see they may be hesitant to sign that in some areas. You need a "Service Agreement" that can be cancelled at any time by either party but insures that they know the rules and have agreed to pay for all services rendered.

LwnmwrMan22
02-27-2006, 06:06 PM
You dont need a contract that locks the customer in for a whole year. I can see they may be hesitant to sign that in some areas. You need a "Service Agreement" that can be cancelled at any time by either party but insures that they know the rules and have agreed to pay for all services rendered.

This is what I do.

I do 2 Wal-Marts, and I have to sign their contract in order to be paid.

Other than that, I've never had a "contract" in the last 17 years.

At the beginning of the year, I drop of the proposal for that upcoming year, which lists the services that I'll provide and the price per month that I'll receive for doing said services.

Some people sign it and send it back, some people just give me a call and say it looks okay, go ahead.

I've never had a problem in 17 years doing it this way, and I don't think I'll be changing anytime soon.

I do all commercial stuff now, except for 3 houses that are owned by owners of businesses that I already mow for.

Precision
02-27-2006, 06:21 PM
What if it would put you out of business?:waving:

there is no area in the country that is contract phobic. Now, there are people who are contract phobic and there are lawncare companies that no one should sign a contract with.

Like most everything else in business it is about presentation and who is doing the presenting.

I have had 2 maybe 3 people in the 3 years I have been in business not be willing to sign the contract. Mine demands payment in advance and a 30 day notice of cancelation on their end or I keep the advance payment.

Any contract of any kind can be voided for non-performance.

Now if you are a drunk reaking of liquour, pulling up in your beat down 1987 pick-up with more rust than metal, you park half in the driveway and half in the lawn, your 3 wheeled pushmower sticking out the back, you need the potential client to push start you so you can get the truck running to leave.
Then yeah, you'll have resistance to contracts.

If you try to tell clients that the contract is to protect you against their lousy stealing self, yeah you'll have resistance. If you explain that a contract /service agreement outlines services to be rendered, payment to be recieved and frequency of service so no one has any questions. What is the big deal?

Then again if you have dirt bag clients, sure most of them don't like them because it isn't if, but when they are gonna stiff you and the don't want any evidence against them.

skurkp
02-27-2006, 06:47 PM
You dont need a contract that locks the customer in for a whole year. I can see they may be hesitant to sign that in some areas. You need a "Service Agreement" that can be cancelled at any time by either party but insures that they know the rules and have agreed to pay for all services rendered.


I could not agree more. This is what I do and it makes everyone happy. I can get out and they can get out. If you don't have a full year just make it for the season. Explain to the customer that they can terminate with a 30 day written notice. Don't call it a contract they are SERVICE AGREEMENTS.

Shawns Lawns
02-27-2006, 08:22 PM
You dont need a contract that locks the customer in for a whole year. I can see they may be hesitant to sign that in some areas. You need a "Service Agreement" that can be cancelled at any time by either party but insures that they know the rules and have agreed to pay for all services rendered.
Damm thats a good point! :usflag: Nice imput Thanks

mike and jana
02-27-2006, 08:23 PM
Great thread! What we are doing is taking the number of cutsper year in my area(estimte of coarse) and multiply it by the cost per cut. divide that number by 12 and thats the monthly payment for a 12 month contract. Simple right? Well some people still ask why they are paying for all of Dec and Jan and Feb when there really isnt much going on. I expalin because they are not paying full price for their monthly service each month and that by the time the contar=ct period is up they have paid full price for what they received. Not a penny more. Its easier to budget each month for us and the customer! Anyone else using this? I have cancellation clauses too. If they cancel before the end of contract, they p[ay the diff between what they paid and what they would have paid if they had paid full price all along. Plus I charge a $35 cancellation fee unless they are moving along with a 30 day notice.

LawnMowerMan3875
03-02-2006, 03:06 PM
Could somebody please give me and everyone else an example of a Service Agreement?? With a lot of guys and gals out there starting up and getting advice, we could really use some examples.
My Email:
lawnmowerman3875@yahoo.com

JimLewis
03-03-2006, 02:40 AM
If you were in a location were contracts were not accepted by customers at all for lawn care servives.:waving: So if none of your customers were going to sign would you go out of business or would you work without a contract?

Exactly. I am with you on this one Shawn. In my area, most customers cringe when you mention a contract. And it definitely leads to most of them saying, "Thanks, anway. But we'll find someone else."

So for 10 years now I've operated my business without contracts. I have over 160 regular maintenance customers and over the years we've probably had over 400 maintenance customers. Each year a certain percentage cancel service for any number of reasons and a certain percentage start up service for the first time. So through this attrition, we've probably gone through 300-400 or more maintenance customers over the last 10 years. And in all that time I've never had a contract with any of my maintenance customers.

I give them a bid sheet that explains exactly what we will do, how often, etc. and it has a monthly rate at the bottom. They understand what we'll be doing and we understand what they'll be paying us. No need for a contract.

Have there been times where I had collection problems? Yes, in the beginning there were. But I found other ways to resolve those problems. And even the ones that were problems eventually got resolved with a little quick and persistent action on my part. I've almost always got paid for everything we did. And to this day we still never make anyone sign a contract.

So if you're looking for someone to tell you that it can be done without contracts, you found him. I have always done it that way and it has been working great.

LwnmwrMan22
03-03-2006, 09:34 AM
Here's how I word mine....

January 12, 2006

xxxx,

Enclosed you will find the proposals for the lawn / property maintenance for the xxxx locations in Forest Lake, Pine City and Lino Lakes for the 2006 season.

Spring Clean-Up will be completed by May 15th, weather permitting. Spring Clean-Up shall include dethatching all yards, removal of all foreign material from lawns, rock beds, bushes, sidewalks and steps. This does NOT include repairing sod damaged by the snow removal contractor. Fall Clean-Up will include raking and removal of all leaves from lawns, rock beds, sidewalks and steps.

Fertilizer applications will be done 3 times by a licensed applicator. Copies of the license are available upon request. The first application will be done before May 15th, the second before July 15th, and the third will be completed no later than September 30th.

Herbicide applications will be done twice. The first will be applied prior to the emergence of broadleaf weeds in early spring, usually before June 15th. The second will be done before September 15th. One application of pre-emergent weed control will be applied before May 15th, in prevention of unwanted grasses. Properties will be marked with flags when spraying has been completed.

Lawns will be mowed to maintain a well kept appearance, between a height of 2.5”- 4.5”. Mowing will be done weekly, on a specific date to be discussed at a later date. Also, lawns will be trimmed around all foundations, plantings, displays, and other objects in mowing areas. During this weekly mowing, all garbage will be picked up across entire property and disposed of off-site.

Also, weeds in rock beds, cracks of sidewalks, parking lots and any other location outside of the mowing area will be sprayed, any of which that are greater than 2” in height to be pulled and disposed of off-site.

Any other services, such as removing trees damaged be wind, etc., services not outlined in the bid, will be done at a rate of $75 / man hour plus the cost of supplies. All extra services will have a quote approved prior to any work that is to be done.

We the contractor, will contact the management, to discuss any concerns or problems either they or the mowing crew has noticed about the property, whether it is damage to the property or in taking care of the property. At this time the mowing crew should be notified of any problems that should be addressed during the next visit.

Billing will be over a period of six months, from May 1st, 2006 until October 31st, 2006. Invoices will be sent out the first of the month, and are due by the 20th of the month, unless prior arrangements are made.

The pricing for the Forest Lake location is $900 / month.
The pricing for the Pine City location is $1000 / month.
The pricing for the Lino Lakes location is $275 / month
Total monthly check from May through October would be $2175 / month

All pricing includes sales tax when applicable.

This will be my 18th year in the lawn care business. Copies of references, liability insurance, work comp., and a list of equipment to be used, along with any other information is available upon request. I would like to earn your business again, possibly meeting in person to discuss any problem areas.

Thanks again xxxx for the opportunity to place this bid, and feel free to call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Sincerely,


Jeremy Harris
J & H Outdoor Services

Without the blue type.

Some of my customers sign a copy of it and return it, 70% just say, looks good, go ahead, 15% don't even need a copy anymore, I've been doing them for 10-12 years and they just say "how much is it going to be??? Okay, we'll see you when the lawn's green".

LwnmwrMan22
03-03-2006, 09:44 AM
Here's one that includes snowplowing as well...


January 12, 2006

XXXX,

Enclosed you will find the proposals for the lawn / property maintenance for the xxxxx xxxxx located in Forest Lake for the year 2006-2007.

Spring Clean-Up will be completed by May 15th, weather permitting. Spring Clean-Up shall include dethatching all yards, removal of all foreign material from lawns, rock beds, bushes, sidewalks and steps. This does NOT include repairing sod damaged by the snow removal contractor. Fall Clean-Up will include raking and removal of all leaves from lawns, rock beds, sidewalks and steps.

Fertilizer applications will be done 3 times by a licensed applicator. Copies of the license are available upon request. The first application will be done before May 15th, the second before July 15th, and the third will be completed no later than September 30th.

Herbicide applications will be done twice. The first will be applied prior to the emergence of broadleaf weeds in early spring, usually before June 15th. The second will be done before September 15th. One application of pre-emergent weed control will be applied before May 15th, in prevention of unwanted grasses. Properties will be marked with flags when spraying has been completed.

Lawns will be mowed to maintain a well kept appearance, between a height of 2.5”- 4.5”. Mowing will be done weekly, on a specific date to be discussed at a later date. Also, lawns will be trimmed around all foundations, plantings, displays, and other objects in mowing areas. During this weekly mowing, all garbage will be picked up across entire property and disposed of off-site. Also, weeds in rock beds, cracks of sidewalks, parking lots and any other location outside of the mowing area will be sprayed, any of which that are greater than 2” in height to be pulled and disposed of off-site.

Snowplowing will be done when there has been an accumulation of 2” or more. In the event there is a 4+” snowfall, plowing will be every 2-3”, in an effort to keep the driveways passable. Sidewalks will be shoveled when the final plowing is done.

Any other services, such as removing trees damaged be wind, etc., services not outlined in the bid, will be done at a rate of $75 / man hour plus the cost of supplies. Any other SNOW services will be done at a rate of $75 / man hour, plus the cost of supplies. This includes, but not limited to, any plowing of snow under 2”, blowing or removal of snow piles, scraping slush from roads and or driveways when melting occurs, spreading sand and/or salt. All extra services will have a quote approved prior to any work that is to be done.

We the contractor, will contact the management, to discuss any concerns or problems either they or the mowing crew has noticed about the property, whether it is damage to the property or in taking care of the property. At this time the mowing crew should be notified of any problems that should be addressed during the next visit.

Billing will be over a period of twelve months, from May 1st, 2006 until April 30th, 2007. Invoices will be sent out the first of the month, and are due by the 20th of the month, unless prior arrangements are made.

The pricing for the Xxxxx Xxxxxx location is $240 / month.

All pricing includes sales tax when applicable.

This will be my 18th year in the lawn care business. Copies of references, liability insurance, work comp., and a list of equipment to be used, along with any other information is available upon request. I would like to earn your business again, possibly meeting in person to discuss any problem areas.

Thank you again for the opportunity to place this bid, and feel free to call me at
xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Sincerely,


Jeremy Harris
J & H Outdoor Services


This is a restaurant that has a grass area 15' x 20', and a parking lot that's perfectly rectangular, that'll hold 80 cars. Basically he's paying for the snowplowing in the summer time, or else it'd be hard to charge him $240 for mowing 300 sq'.

lawnman_scott
03-03-2006, 10:05 AM
there is no area in the country that is contract phobic. Mine demands payment in advance and a 30 day notice of cancelation on their end or I keep the advance payment.


You need to take a short drive and you cna find an area that is contract phobic. I charge in advance as well, but I do so to eliminate the need for a contract. If you get a new customer today that pays for march and signs a contract, then april 1 they pay for april, and may comes around and you dont get a check, what do you do? If you stop service, then what good did the contract do you? Advance payment is the key. Are you going to sue them for not giving notice, even if you performed no service that you werent paid for?