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View Full Version : Poll: Mowing contracts


LawnBrother
03-06-2006, 03:18 PM
Do you use contracts for residential mowing and maintenance?

nobagger
03-06-2006, 05:09 PM
ALWAYS! I will never do any work with out a contract. There are too many "what if's" when you don't use one IMO.

jtkplc
03-06-2006, 05:28 PM
I don't only because I'm fortunate enough to know the customer personally or through someone I know, so I'm not worried at all about needing a contract with them. In several cases, I feel that everything can be worked about because I knew them and they knew me before they became my customer.

If I get residential accounts that I don't know the people at all I would highly consider doing it, however.

TJLANDS
03-06-2006, 05:41 PM
I don't only because I'm fortunate enough to know the customer personally or through someone I know, so I'm not worried at all about needing a contract with them. In several cases, I feel that everything can be worked about because I knew them and they knew me before they became my customer. .
Everyone gets a contract. Much easier with everything in writing. I try to stay away from doing work for friends and family as much as possible always seems to cause friction. Just my opinion

LwnmwrMan22
03-06-2006, 06:56 PM
I've never had a contract, whether commercial or residential, except........

The two Wal-Marts I mow, I have to sign a Wal-Mart contract, and when I plowed 12 Taco Bells one year I had to sign a Taco Bell contract.

ZaK18
03-06-2006, 07:41 PM
All my customers have to sign a contract.

Splicer
03-06-2006, 08:16 PM
A true business will have a contract. Perfect example...Wal-Mart and Taco Bell.:hammerhead:

Killswitch
03-06-2006, 08:30 PM
Id feel like an idiot having some old lady sign a legal contract to get their lawn mowed and if I dont get paid I dont go back other than to "collect"

I do like to provide a list of services ordered for that year, and synopsis of what we discussed as far as concerns etc etc, but actually having someone sign a contract dictating things to the customer?

Maybe you guys with a gazillion customers and half dozen crews do that but Im on a more personal level with my people and all future people.

Now that I know Im not a "true business" anyone wanna buy a JD 757?

deereman
03-06-2006, 08:47 PM
How come you are trying to get rid of the Deere? :confused:

Livingreen
03-06-2006, 08:49 PM
I've got an older woman for a client, and she insists on having a contract (even though I have taken care of her grounds for 5 years). Her contract for May-Sept. is around 6,000, she wants to know what she is paying for;) , plus it erases any doubts as far as any extra services desired. Oh, and her husband is a prior 3-term governor for AK:usflag: . But this is the type of client that my company is geared towards. People who want and expect the best, and having a contract plays into promoting a professional service.

Livingreen
03-06-2006, 08:53 PM
Id feel like an idiot having some old lady sign a legal contract to get their lawn mowed and if I dont get paid I dont go back other than to "collect"

I do like to provide a list of services ordered for that year, and synopsis of what we discussed as far as concerns etc etc, but actually having someone sign a contract dictating things to the customer?

Maybe you guys with a gazillion customers and half dozen crews do that but Im on a more personal level with my people and all future people.

Now that I know Im not a "true business" anyone wanna buy a JD 757?
How about some specs on the 757?

LawnBrother
03-06-2006, 09:01 PM
I use service agreements for all new customers. (there are a few old customers that never had one and never will) It is short and clear and it does not lock anyone into service, but mainly states what work will be perfomed, when, and what will be charged, along with billing and payment rules. I suppose it would come in handy in court if it ever came to that, but mainly it just keeps things clear between us regarding the service.

Killswitch
03-06-2006, 09:29 PM
Guys! Im not selling the JD....lol

TJLANDS
03-06-2006, 09:31 PM
[QUOTE=Killswitch]Id feel like an idiot having some old lady sign a legal contract to get their lawn mowed and if I dont get paid I dont go back other than to "collect"

I do like to provide a list of services ordered for that year, and synopsis of what we discussed as far as concerns etc etc, but actually having someone sign a contract dictating things to the customer?
Maybe you guys with a gazillion customers and half dozen crews do that but I'm on a more personal level with my people and all future people.QUOTE]

OK on a more personal note, I know one landscaper that is a good friend of mine. He got in trouble because of one of his so called "personal" customers reported him for a sales tax problem. Basically he said he was charged sales tax for years and one day decided to report to the NJ Revenue service that he thought it was included in the price and so on....No contracts to back him up, no signatures
Yes he did get in big trouble, many fines...He has all contracts today.
Do not trust everybody. Did you ever ask your insurance agent about an accident on a customers property what would happen with no contract and no written permission to work there?

Killswitch
03-06-2006, 09:32 PM
I use service agreements for all new customers. (there are a few old customers that never had one and never will) It is short and clear and it does not lock anyone into service, but mainly states what work will be perfomed, when, and what will be charged, along with billing and payment rules. I suppose it would come in handy in court if it ever came to that, but mainly it just keeps things clear between us regarding the service.


I can get behind that and do the same thing for some customers. Just so they remember that application of fert in September they ordered six months prior.

Maybe we need to differentiate between service agreements and actual contracts.

There is a difference. Service agreements Im all in favor of.

LwnmwrMan22
03-06-2006, 09:34 PM
I can get behind that and do the same thing for some customers. Just so they remember that application of fert in September they ordered six months prior.

Maybe we need to differentiate between service agreements and actual contracts.

There is a difference. Service agreements Im all in favor of.

Correct... service agreements I have, contracts I do not have.

Killswitch
03-06-2006, 09:37 PM
Did you ever ask your insurance agent about an accident on a customers property what would happen with no contract and no written permission to work there?

No. Can you tell us?

LwnmwrMan22
03-06-2006, 09:37 PM
A true business will have a contract. Perfect example...Wal-Mart and Taco Bell.:hammerhead:

Soooo.... I guess I shouldn't have to pay in taxes, or have my license, or take the pesticide exam, or have trucks inspected, or any of the other since I'm not a true business....

I'm not a true business because I do things on a handshake????

Killswitch
03-06-2006, 09:39 PM
Good point. I'll ask my accountant.

TJLANDS
03-06-2006, 09:50 PM
Hey according to the poll taken there are more people that do not use contracts. So what do I know...
I was Just stating some facts and some questions, not trying to rattle any feathers.

sikagrass
03-06-2006, 11:33 PM
Im really suprised that so many others including me dont use contracts. I was under the impression it was the other way around. Some tell me to cut twice a month,none weekly, the rest just call when they need service. I do get contracts on the commercials though. Interesting poll.

nobagger
03-07-2006, 05:19 AM
Im really suprised that so many others including me dont use contracts. I was under the impression it was the other way around. Some tell me to cut twice a month,none weekly, the rest just call when they need service. I do get contracts on the commercials though. Interesting poll.
How can you run an effective business doing lawns at the spur of the moment? On call lawn care, you might be on to something.lol I guess if you don't worry about getting burned at some point then its less paperwork for you. But I don't care if they are 95 years old...."sign here please":)

naturescape
03-07-2006, 09:31 AM
Id feel like an idiot having some old lady sign a legal contract to get their lawn mowed and if I dont get paid I dont go back other than to "collect"

I do like to provide a list of services ordered for that year, and synopsis of what we discussed as far as concerns etc etc, but actually having someone sign a contract dictating things to the customer?

Maybe you guys with a gazillion customers and half dozen crews do that but Im on a more personal level with my people and all future people.

Now that I know Im not a "true business" anyone wanna buy a JD 757?

I've used contracts only for the past 5 years. I can tell you that no one is going to be offended if you ask them to sign one. I thought they might be....... They aren't, even little old ladies -- they know you need to have it in writing -- what services they want and that they intend to pay for them. It's just good business sense. Then I offer 8% off if they prepay by March 20, they like that too. I insist renters pay in advance too, whether monthly or yearly.

Anyone who DOESN'T want to sign a contract is someone you don't want for a customer, believe me. They ultimately don't intend on paying.

LwnmwrMan22
03-07-2006, 10:40 AM
I've used contracts only for the past 5 years. I can tell you that no one is going to be offended if you ask them to sign one. I thought they might be....... They aren't, even little old ladies -- they know you need to have it in writing -- what services they want and that they intend to pay for them. It's just good business sense. Then I offer 8% off if they prepay by March 20, they like that too. I insist renters pay in advance too, whether monthly or yearly.

Anyone who DOESN'T want to sign a contract is someone you don't want for a customer, believe me. They ultimately don't intend on paying.

I'm not completely sure about that. I do $100k gross working solo with a 24 week growing season here in MN. My only 2 accounts that I have contracts for, are 2 Wal-Marts, which come in at about $18k for the year between the two of them.

This means that the other $82k I do per year, give or take, is done without contracts. It's been this way for the last 17 years, I was stiffed one time.

The only time I got stiffed, was I was doing a residential that was hired by an insurance company, the guy got hit by someone, and the offending party was forced to pay for his house maintenance, since his back was broke.

Turns out the insurance took FOREVER, over a year to pay, and even then I settled at 70% to get what I could.

This was back when I was young, just starting out, and probably had gotten taken advantage of.

What I learned from that was, stay away from insurance deals.

I look at it this way.

If you're making someone sign a contract, ESPECIALLY if you're doing the maintenance per cut, for say, $35. Now, you mow for 3 or 4 weeks and don't get paid. Now the person is into you for $100.

Even if you have a contract, unless you're going to force the issue, and try to get paid for services not yet rendered (get paid for the rest of the year, even though you haven't mowed them yet) you still have to find a judge that's going to award you that money.

Now, say you're doing a LARGE residential, or commercial property that's $10-20k+ / year. Here's where you probably could use a contract, if the property doesn't require you to sign theirs.

IMO, you're better off getting the people to pay in advance, or like others on here and just charge a credit card (although that costs you money as well). I send out my bill for that months work on the first of that month.

If it's not paid by the 25th, I've got 5 or 6 days to get payment from them by calling or stopping at the office / house.

If it's not paid by the first of the next month, services are halted, as stipulated in my service agreement.

This way you aren't doing a full months work, THEN sending a bill, THEN waiting for it, AND possibly not getting paid until the end of the NEXT month, at which time you've got ANOTHER full months worth of expenses into this account and still haven't seen any money.

If you wait until the end of the month to bill, you've incurred all these expenses to work that entire month, and you're waiting another 10-30 days to get paid.

A contract isn't going to help you any in that situation.

The only time a contract will help you, is if you plan on taking your client to court to get paid. If the account is going to be worth enough to fight in court, then get the contract. If you're going to be stiffed out of $100 if the client doesn't pay, to me, that's not worth the effort to even go after.

By the time you take 1/2 day to go to court, get the judgment, and STILL have to fill MORE papers to even get paid... after all, just because you get a judgment, that doesn't mean the money automatically goes into your bank account.... you STILL have to track the person down to get the money, or file more papers, and pay more fees, which can all be recovered by the client, but you still have to put the time and money into it, and you still may not get paid.

I understand the principle of it all, but as a business man, practicality comes into play. I'm not going to sue someone over $100 when it's going to cost me $400 in my time working to collect the $100.

naturescape
03-07-2006, 10:51 AM
The only time a contract will help you, is if you plan on taking your client to court to get paid. If the account is going to be worth enough to fight in court, then get the contract. If you're going to be stiffed out of $100 if the client doesn't pay, to me, that's not worth the effort to even go after.

By the time you take 1/2 day to go to court, get the judgment, and STILL have to fill MORE papers to even get paid... after all, just because you get a judgment, that doesn't mean the money automatically goes into your bank account.... you STILL have to track the person down to get the money, or file more papers, and pay more fees, which can all be recovered by the client, but you still have to put the time and money into it, and you still may not get paid.

This is true, but the client knows that you can take him/her to court if need be to collect, if you have a contract. I haven't even had to think about court since going to contracts. Never had a problem that wasn't corrected in reasonable time.

firefightergw
03-07-2006, 11:40 AM
Use contracts for everyone!

impactlandscaping
03-07-2006, 11:41 AM
This is the last thing someone reads when signing our contracts...

" In the event of default, the client agrees to reimburse Impact Landscaping for all administrative fees, filing charges, and attorney fees in the event of an account going to collections or circuit court. All late fees and charges will be due in addition to a service fee of $ 75.00, plus court costs, directly and indirectly incurred while colllecting the unpaid account"

Makes people think twice:waving:

TJLANDS
03-07-2006, 12:29 PM
LwnmwrMan22,
one thing to add, collecting money can be a pain for someone that doesn't pay, that is until I started using a contractors lien. Very little cost involved and the money will find you as long as you had a written contract/agreement.
Its amazing how fast people will pay when they see that on their credit.

NEPSJay
03-07-2006, 12:36 PM
always use contracts... not using them is a recipe for disaster. Might take a while, but sooner or later it'll catch up w/ ya

LwnmwrMan22
03-07-2006, 12:46 PM
LwnmwrMan22,
one thing to add, collecting money can be a pain for someone that doesn't pay, that is until I started using a contractors lien. Very little cost involved and the money will find you as long as you had a written contract/agreement.
Its amazing how fast people will pay when they see that on their credit.

Correct, but a judgment does the same thing, it comes up on the credit report.

Problem with a lien, you don't get your money until a person sells the property.

If you've got someone that's going to live in that house for 30 years, it could be a while.

I've got a buddy that did some sewer work for a guy, the guy's into him for $3k because he fired my buddy, saying the job wasn't getting done fast enough.

My buddy has a lien on his property, but that's been 4 years now that he's still not seen the money.

Lawn-Scapes
03-07-2006, 01:43 PM
I've used contracts only for the past 5 years. I can tell you that no one is going to be offended if you ask them to sign one. I thought they might be....... They aren't, even little old ladies -- they know you need to have it in writing -- what services they want and that they intend to pay for them. It's just good business sense. Then I offer 8% off if they prepay by March 20, they like that too. I insist renters pay in advance too, whether monthly or yearly.

Anyone who DOESN'T want to sign a contract is someone you don't want for a customer, believe me. They ultimately don't intend on paying.

I use service agreements for all new customers. (there are a few old customers that never had one and never will) It is short and clear and it does not lock anyone into service, but mainly states what work will be perfomed, when, and what will be charged, along with billing and payment rules. I suppose it would come in handy in court if it ever came to that, but mainly it just keeps things clear between us regarding the service.

I use them...

Killswitch
03-07-2006, 01:44 PM
This is the last thing someone reads when signing our contracts...

" In the event of default, the client agrees to reimburse Impact Landscaping for all administrative fees, filing charges, and attorney fees in the event of an account going to collections or circuit court. All late fees and charges will be due in addition to a service fee of $ 75.00, plus court costs, directly and indirectly incurred while colllecting the unpaid account"

Makes people think twice:waving:

As a consumer if someone threatened me like that after or during trying to get work done and exchanege business Id tell them to go fly a kite.

Just because someone screwed you once or twice is not a good reason to be intimidating or threatening to people that I need to be successful.

Sorry.....

LwnmwrMan22
03-07-2006, 02:36 PM
Would this be considered a contract??? Or service agreement???

It's what I've always used.

Some people sign it, send it back, some people call me and say, "looks good, go ahead", some people say go ahead without even looking at the bid / service agreement.

February 4, 2005

Xxxxxxx,

Enclosed you will find the proposals for the lawn / property maintenance for the Xxxxxxxx located in Chisago City for the year 2005.

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, 2005 until October 31st, 2005. 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 Chisago City location is $xxx / month.

All pricing includes sales tax when applicable.

This will be my 17th 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 Xxxxxx
X x X Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx

LwnmwrMan22
03-07-2006, 02:40 PM
As a consumer if someone threatened me like that after or during trying to get work done and exchanege business Id tell them to go fly a kite.

Just because someone screwed you once or twice is not a good reason to be intimidating or threatening to people that I need to be successful.

Sorry.....

I don't see it as threatening. I do see it as something that goes without saying.

If I'm performing work for someone, and they don't like what I'm doing, I don't want to work for them. If they don't like the work I'm doing, I'm not going to continue to service their property, just because I have a contract.

If they aren't paying then they aren't going to get serviced anyways.

If someone wants some extra work done, that's outside of the scope of the contract, you guys that run contracts, do you then make them sign a new contract stating "XXXXXX company agrees to trim bushes in the amount of XXXXX"??? Or do you just have them sign a quote sheet??

impactlandscaping
03-07-2006, 05:20 PM
As a consumer if someone threatened me like that after or during trying to get work done and exchanege business Id tell them to go fly a kite.

Just because someone screwed you once or twice is not a good reason to be intimidating or threatening to people that I need to be successful.

Sorry.....

I don't see it as intimidating. It's black and white..simple..Nothing implied or suggested, it's there for them to read and comprehend before signing for service.Obviously you don't do large installs or multi location commercial sites. This paragraph is on ALL of our contracts, be it maint. / mow packages , installs, or hydroseeding.Like my grandfather used to say, CYA-Cover Your Azz.

impactlandscaping
03-07-2006, 05:23 PM
....If someone wants some extra work done, that's outside of the scope of the contract, you guys that run contracts, do you then make them sign a new contract stating "XXXXXX company agrees to trim bushes in the amount of XXXXX"??? Or do you just have them sign a quote sheet??


We issue a change of work order. It states the add on service or services to be done, and when and at what cost over and above the original contract.

ProStreetCamaro
03-07-2006, 07:41 PM
I am cracking up at all the people that use contracts or agreements. You honestly think a contract on a residential lawn means anything? Are you really going to take somebody to court and risk loosing over 1 residential lawn? Come on give me a break here. We actually use the "we require no contract because we feel neither I or you should be bound to a contract if either party is unhappy". You would be surprised how much people like that concept. We dont worry about our customers attempting to screw us over. In 20 years it has never happened 1 time and we never loose a customer because they are unhappy with our service. If we loose somebody its because there kid finally got old enough and they want to give him some responsability, they can no longer afford it for various reasons or they move away. So you all go right ahead and keep your measly contracts for residentials and make yourself feel like you are accomplishing something by locking somebody into a very weak contract.

naturescape
03-07-2006, 08:23 PM
I am cracking up at all the people that use contracts or agreements. You honestly think a contract on a residential lawn means anything? Are you really going to take somebody to court and risk loosing over 1 residential lawn? Come on give me a break here. We actually use the "we require no contract because we feel neither I or you should be bound to a contract if either party is unhappy". You would be surprised how much people like that concept. We dont worry about our customers attempting to screw us over. In 20 years it has never happened 1 time and we never loose a customer because they are unhappy with our service. If we loose somebody its because there kid finally got old enough and they want to give him some responsability, they can no longer afford it for various reasons or they move away. So you all go right ahead and keep your measly contracts for residentials and make yourself feel like you are accomplishing something by locking somebody into a very weak contract.

In 20 years, NOONE has ever been guilty of not paying you? Sure..........

I myself don't believe it. If it's true, than I'm happy for you.

LwnmwrMan22
03-07-2006, 08:54 PM
I am cracking up at all the people that use contracts or agreements. You honestly think a contract on a residential lawn means anything? Are you really going to take somebody to court and risk loosing over 1 residential lawn? Come on give me a break here. We actually use the "we require no contract because we feel neither I or you should be bound to a contract if either party is unhappy". You would be surprised how much people like that concept. We dont worry about our customers attempting to screw us over. In 20 years it has never happened 1 time and we never loose a customer because they are unhappy with our service. If we loose somebody its because there kid finally got old enough and they want to give him some responsability, they can no longer afford it for various reasons or they move away. So you all go right ahead and keep your measly contracts for residentials and make yourself feel like you are accomplishing something by locking somebody into a very weak contract.

That's my situation as well... only I've been stuck once, and I'm only going on year 18.

one man gang
03-07-2006, 08:59 PM
I am cracking up at all the people that use contracts or agreements. You honestly think a contract on a residential lawn means anything? Are you really going to take somebody to court and risk loosing over 1 residential lawn? Come on give me a break here. We actually use the "we require no contract because we feel neither I or you should be bound to a contract if either party is unhappy". You would be surprised how much people like that concept. We dont worry about our customers attempting to screw us over. In 20 years it has never happened 1 time and we never loose a customer because they are unhappy with our service. If we loose somebody its because there kid finally got old enough and they want to give him some responsability, they can no longer afford it for various reasons or they move away. So you all go right ahead and keep your measly contracts for residentials and make yourself feel like you are accomplishing something by locking somebody into a very weak contract.


Agreed, those residential contracts aren't worth the paper they're printed on. A dead beat is a dead beat weather he signs contract or not . I use the " no contract needed" rap and have gotten a lot of business because of it. Haven't been in the bus. 20 years and I'm still a small operation but I've never been burned yet. I do know that a lot of people tell me the resent the pressure to sign a contract. Just my opinion, not taking stabs at anyone I certainly understand why someone would want to use them

TJLANDS
03-07-2006, 09:41 PM
When I decided to really grow my company about 10-12 years ago I went to all contracts. I have as many as four full crews out 7 days a week. It would be tough to do without contracts to fall back on pricing etc. I could not have grown my company without them.
ProStreetCamaro Saying that it is wrong to use contracts for residential is just your opinion, For some of you it is fine. Obviously there is more than one way to run a successful lawn and landscape company. The reason we are here is to help others..right?
My vote is to use them, always. I believe it helps your business.

ozd12005
03-07-2006, 10:11 PM
Always good to have some sort of paperwork with a signature, must old people have never had contracts and get scared so I have make up a proposal sheet and tell them its a simple price agreement for my services

I remember when a verbal agreement with a handshake was good enough now it seems that wont go to far

one man gang
03-07-2006, 11:50 PM
When I decided to really grow my company about 10-12 years ago I went to all contracts. I have as many as four full crews out 7 days a week. It would be tough to do without contracts to fall back on pricing etc. I could not have grown my company without them.
ProStreetCamaro Saying that it is wrong to use contracts for residential is just your opinion, For some of you it is fine. Obviously there is more than one way to run a successful lawn and landscape company. The reason we are here is to help others..right?
My vote is to use them, always. I believe it helps your business.

Good point, what else did you do to grow fast? I want to crank it up this year.

lawnprosteveo
03-08-2006, 09:50 AM
I use more of a "service agreement". The whole reason I feel I need it is to let the customer know up front how I do things..

Such as "weekly mowing". Without this language in the agreement, I have found people will call two months into the summer and say "I want you to start coming every two weeks instead of weekly"...I also like to specifically state that I mulch, not bag. Without stating this I would here "I want you to start catching the grass".

I dont think people are out to screw me, but what they might feel is a reasonable request could cost me extra time and work for no more money.

naturescape
03-08-2006, 11:07 AM
I should mention that my customers can get out of my contract with only 7 days notice. So it simply ensures, in writing, they want the service up until that point. But it doesn't totally commit them.

I have only lost customers that signed due to them moving.

impactlandscaping
03-08-2006, 11:35 AM
We ask for a three day notice prior to the service date to cancel the agreement, with a written notice due within ten days for our records. We don't lock anyone into our contracts. Like Ray stated, for mowing and maint. it's a guarantee of service and expected payment for those services. We have never had a termination in 6 years, only people moving or relocating.

PerfiCut L&L
03-08-2006, 01:40 PM
ABSOLUTELY!!!! ALL CUSTOMERS GET CONTRACTS!!!! I learned my lesson last season.

Had a customer who paid for 1/2 the season up front but never paid for the remaining 1/2. Fortunately for me, I had a contract. After numerous phone calls, and letters, all unanswered, I filed a small claims suit against him. Included all records, and copy of contract.

2 weeks before the trial date, I received a check for the balance owed.

ALL CUSTOMERS GET CONTRACTS!

It may not be the answer to getting paid from all your customers, but atleast its something you can use in a court if needed. Word of mouth, good faith, and verbal agreements are worthless.

LwnmwrMan22
03-08-2006, 01:57 PM
ABSOLUTELY!!!! ALL CUSTOMERS GET CONTRACTS!!!! I learned my lesson last season.

Had a customer who paid for 1/2 the season up front but never paid for the remaining 1/2. Fortunately for me, I had a contract. After numerous phone calls, and letters, all unanswered, I filed a small claims suit against him. Included all records, and copy of contract.

2 weeks before the trial date, I received a check for the balance owed.

ALL CUSTOMERS GET CONTRACTS!

It may not be the answer to getting paid from all your customers, but atleast its something you can use in a court if needed. Word of mouth, good faith, and verbal agreements are worthless.


Again, I disagree.

If I had to go to court, there's a pattern of payment, and services rendered, and therefore an agreement for services.

Now I'm talking about maintenance issues, things that are repetitively performed for the same amount of money, so there is precedent set.

If the client didn't want the services performed, then why did he/she pay for them for 3 months already??

TJLANDS
03-08-2006, 04:13 PM
Good point, what else did you do to grow fast? I want to crank it up this year.
I became a True full service landscaping company. Full property maintenance
fertilizer, weed control, tree and shrub care, irrigation, design and installation, and snow services. Went after commercial work and advertised direct mail for residential.

TJLANDS
03-08-2006, 04:23 PM
Again, I disagree.

If I had to go to court, there's a pattern of payment, and services rendered, and therefore an agreement for services.

Now I'm talking about maintenance issues, things that are repetitively performed for the same amount of money, so there is precedent set.

If the client didn't want the services performed, then why did he/she pay for them for 3 months already??
Do you do pesticide applications without a contract?

one man gang
03-08-2006, 05:06 PM
I became a True full service landscaping company. Full property maintenance
fertilizer, weed control, tree and shrub care, irrigation, design and installation, and snow services. Went after commercial work and advertised direct mail for residential.


Thanks a lot.

LwnmwrMan22
03-08-2006, 05:09 PM
Do you do pesticide applications without a contract?

Post #33 is my service agreement that I use.

I suppose I should also state that I'm 95% commercial work, so .......

TJLANDS
03-08-2006, 05:34 PM
Sorry missed that, good post.
NJ DEP requires that we send out a form with all the pesticides and fertilizer applications and anything we might use on their property for the customers to read and send back with a signature. Residential and Commercial. Kind of a PITA. I also know that they were trying to get us to notify the neighbors also, imagine that..

LwnmwrMan22
03-08-2006, 09:33 PM
Sorry missed that, good post.
NJ DEP requires that we send out a form with all the pesticides and fertilizer applications and anything we might use on their property for the customers to read and send back with a signature. Residential and Commercial. Kind of a PITA. I also know that they were trying to get us to notify the neighbors also, imagine that..

Yep, we have to leave the notice too, and keep the records for 3 years.

LawnBrother
03-09-2006, 09:36 PM
Well I must say, I am really surprised by the results of this poll. I thought many more of us were using contracts or service agreements. I think that if everyone who agrees that our industry could stand a little more professionalism would have their customers sign something stating the terms of service, we could raise the bar and the industry as a whole would be better off.

houssien
03-12-2006, 07:41 PM
i never ask my customers to sign one