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View Full Version : curious about % on contract


stumpjumper
07-06-2006, 09:18 PM
I realize i'm a new guy and a smalltimer compared to most of you, but after seeing so many questions answered with {what does your contract say?}, I'm curious. What percentage of your residential accounts are on contract?out of my 14 residentials i have 0 on contract. my only contract is my only comm. and its a great way to do business, wish all of them were. I have good customers who like my work but they look at you like your goofy when you start talking yearly contracts. I have yet to give an estimate, of which i've done 32 residential and 5 comm, so i'm not the cheapest, where the resi. had ever had a contract. I have had no trouble getting paid or with overgrown lawns, so its not been a problem so far, just curious about it.

MMLawn
07-06-2006, 09:39 PM
100%......No signed Contract.....No thank-you

stumpjumper
07-06-2006, 09:43 PM
Has it always been that way mm? To your knowledge is a contract the norm in your area for residentials? Is this something you worked into or did from the start?

Freddy_Kruger
07-06-2006, 09:46 PM
anyone know what a good length would be for a lawn contract in winnipeg? 6 months? may to sept?

MMLawn
07-06-2006, 09:53 PM
Has it always been that way mm? To your knowledge is a contract the norm in your area for residentials? Is this something you worked into or did from the start?

It has been our normal SOP for the past many years, not all 27 of them, but this was a different business 27 years ago too though. ALso keep in mind I am 90% commercial and have not accepted new residential clients in 2 years now as a) we are so busy and b) I plan to get completely out of the residetial maintenance end. When I do we will only do installs for residentials.

As to my area, I know that all of the fulltime professional LCO's that I know personally here require contracts......but there are also 100 mowjoes for every professional here that don't require squat....of course their "clients" are also the ones that you will see a total if about 5-6 different other MJ's cutting it through the year also because all that type of client wants is their grass cut as cheaply as possible. Those type of clients I would refuse anyway.

stumpjumper
07-07-2006, 08:09 AM
61 views and only 2 people reply, does that mean not that many have contracts? not trying to be a wise guy but as much as the subject of contracts come up i would have thought it would be of interest to many. when not a single one of my customers were interested it had me wondering:confused:

Shuter
07-07-2006, 09:06 AM
40 customers and no contracts. 6 years and never any problems.

Cracker Station
07-07-2006, 09:14 AM
Been thinking contracts myself. I am a newby getting "my ducks in a row" to go full time on a larger scale next year. I am learning this year and treading lightly and ingesting a lot of information from lawnsite. I am very excited about the prospects for next year and will all likelihood use "service agreements".

topsites
07-07-2006, 09:31 AM
Mine are all verbal, contracts are too make it or break it, surefire way to go out of business fast if you don't get it right...
I can change verbals anytime, but a contract, even in my 5th year I find it difficult to walk away from a money-loser when my signature is on paper, and I don't think I could've done it in my 1st or 2nd year.

cessnasovereign
07-07-2006, 09:57 AM
I don't require it but stronly suggest it and so far I've had really good luck at talking most of my customers into it. Next year though I plan to require it for any customer.

But for this year, if you don't have a contract, you have to pay per visit each and every time. I do not invoice them, it's just another way to annoy them and then tell them "You know I could just invoice you for the whole month with a service agreement".. Oh and I call mine service agreements, since some people are afraid of the word CONTRACT, though I include the word deep in the text of it, just in case it presents some legal problems with not having it.

grass-scapes
07-07-2006, 08:22 PM
I try very hard to get all new clients to sign up for yearly maintenance. Most do, a few do not. I will not turn them away without a contract, but as new clients come on with contracts, the non-contracts will be the first to go. I give higher prices to non-contract customers on things like shrub pruning, etc.

I have about 90 percent of my mowing customers on contract. I have a few Fert and squirt customers who understand that I will show up without notice and spray when the time comes. They must call or write to cancel.

Frontier-Lawn
07-07-2006, 09:35 PM
im running a add right now to get new clients 2 FREE MOWS with annual agreement. other wise they wont get the 2 free mows, 1 after each 6months

sildoc
07-07-2006, 09:46 PM
100%......No signed Contract.....No thank-you
Amen. Both Neighbors I have know for ever and still they are on contract. The way you put it is it not only protects me but it protects you also. Every thing is lined out, no ifs ands or BUTTS!

6'7 330
07-07-2006, 09:49 PM
25 years , all 25 we have used contracts for all work 100%, no contract, they can go get Joe Joe MowJoe, to provide services.All clients sign by the xxx and agree to all terms and conditions.

Surf'n'Turf
07-07-2006, 10:30 PM
you can't call yourself a 'contractor' when you don't use contracts :hammerhead:

Precision
07-07-2006, 11:12 PM
50 ish clients for my fullservice company.
100% on contract
NO contract - - no service
NO paid in advance - - no service

my basic service company has a 6 cut minimum and bills to a credit card the day following service.

David Haggerty
07-08-2006, 09:06 AM
No contracts. Customers shy away like I was offering them goat cheese or something.
But I'm not a businessman. I'm a sole proprietor. I think that gives me a little more flexibility. I'll take jobs no one else wants.

In the absence of contracts or service agreements I'm developing some company policies. Then by doing business with me the customer is agreeing to abide by my policies. I'll have them printed on the backs of the bills.
Having something written is better than just a verbal agreement or some understanding.

Dave

bigjeeping
07-08-2006, 09:20 AM
100+ resis and no contracts. Only one problem with not getting paid, but once I sent her a collection's letter via certified mail which threated her credit score she called the next day saying she'd put a check in the mail.

As I grow bigger, a.k.a. next year, I will probably put contracts into service for 100% of customers.

Likestomow
07-08-2006, 12:06 PM
A contract will not keep you from having to go to court to get your money.

A contract will allow you to add late fees, collection fees and attorney fees, but you will still have to go to court and even then you will still have to find a way to collect on a judgement.

A contract will clear up misunderstandings.

Very few people in my area want to pay over 12 months for 9 months of service.

stumpjumper
07-09-2006, 06:46 PM
thanks for the feedback guys.

Team-Green L&L
07-09-2006, 06:51 PM
We've always demanded a contract. Yes, demanded! The contract should not be presented as a negative thing to the signer. It should be written to insure that the buyer gets the product he wants for the cost agreed upon. It is for their sake and ours, not 1 way. If you do not keep up to your promised level of service, you can be penalized. All your asking for in return is payment for your work. Is that too much to ask?

stumpjumper
07-09-2006, 07:06 PM
No its certainly not too much to ask Team-Green, and maybe i'm the mowjoe people are talking about. I charge toward the higher end for this area and all my clients seem more than pleased with the work i do, maybe in the future a contract will be something that i can insist on,but i really have my doubts. I talked with a local lco with over 15 years in the business yesterday, he has 62 clients. 0% on contract.