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lsylvain
06-12-2007, 09:39 PM
hey everyone I just finished typing this contract up. rip it apart and tell me what I missed or should take out. this contract is for mowing only.

d&rlawncare
06-12-2007, 10:00 PM
hey everyone I just finished typing this contract up. rip it apart and tell me what I missed or should take out. this contract is for mowing only.

I would remove the edging as part of the standard service. If I signed that contract I would want you to edge every visit. JMO

kevinlane
06-12-2007, 10:05 PM
I like it, good work. However, isn't there something you can say about arbitration? I've signed contracts before and they always have an arbitration clause, so they can't sue you and stuff. I don't know too much about it, but my brother in law is a lawyer I might ask him, next time I see him. But I think your contract covers everything else. GJ

MOWEMJEFF
06-12-2007, 10:08 PM
Ya no edging, I'd leave that word out of the whole contract. And at the very end you spelt the word contract CONTACT

lsylvain
06-12-2007, 10:53 PM
Ya no edging, I'd leave that word out of the whole contract. And at the very end you spelt the word contract CONTACT

hey thanks for the advice. Especailly the CONTACT part. i must have missed that one anyway because i just found out that in FL you can't use the word Contract, you have to use Agrement.

As far as edging goes it is pretty much a standard every visit service here. Because the trimmers can't cut through it good enough on the sidewalks.

Stillwater
06-13-2007, 03:18 AM
hey everyone I just finished typing this contract up. rip it apart and tell me what I missed or should take out. this contract is for mowing only.


Ah, Dude..

1) You refer to yourself as 2 different entities, pick one and use the term for the entire contract.

2) don't refer to yourself as... we-mow then switch to contractor,

3) To wordy,,, make it clear cut and dry... delete any and all references to edging

4) you are vague on billing date

5) Loose the damage section, you are responsible for any damage you create, and that is what insurance is for.

6) You have a typo in the Items Obstructing Service section

7) You are giving the customer a long time to pay change net 20 to net 10

8) in the included services section does not match the mowing edging trimming section they have to match.

lawnman_scott
06-13-2007, 05:55 AM
How many pages is that contract when typed? If its more than one there should be a place at the bottom to initial each page.

lsylvain
06-13-2007, 07:27 AM
How many pages is that contract when typed? If its more than one there should be a place at the bottom to initial each page.


Good idea didn't think about that.

lsylvain
06-13-2007, 07:54 AM
Ah, Dude..

1) You refer to yourself as 2 different entities, pick one and use the term for the entire contract.

2) don't refer to yourself as... we-mow then switch to contractor,

3) To wordy,,, make it clear cut and dry... delete any and all references to edging

4) you are vague on billing date

5) Loose the damage section, you are responsible for any damage you create, and that is what insurance is for.

6) You have a typo in the Items Obstructing Service section

7) You are giving the customer a long time to pay change net 20 to net 10

8) in the included services section does not match the mowing edging trimming section they have to match.

3. I don't understand why everyone wants me to take out edgeing? You guys must be the guys mowing the properties that I get the "my current guy is lazy and doesn't edge enough and my lawn looks like crap." calls all the time. It is faster to edge the sidewalks than it is to trim and I edge every property i service at every visit.

4. I wrote the billing section to be a little vauge. I want the payments due on the 10th, so I am giving them basically 24 to 26 days to pay their bill if I get them printed by the 14th. However, I also put the 20 days part in there gving me a 4-6 day window to get into the office and get the bills printed and mailed.

6. where is the typo? I've read that section 20 times and can't find it.

8. What do you mean the two sections are different? The first section mowing, trimming.... defines mowing trimming.... and the second Included Services states that there are no other services offered in reltaion to the contract. ie. I don't take out the trash, I don't, pick weeds, I don't fert, I don't do anything but mow, trim, edge, blow.

Thanks for all the tips.


Thanks for the advice. also where is the typo in

LawnSharks
06-13-2007, 08:54 AM
One typo is the word Below, you've got it spelled "bellow grade" in the damages section. I agree with you 100% about the edging. If you don't edge every trip here, you lose, because the guy's house next door is always edged and if you don't it sticks out like a sore thumb. Contract looks great. I would add an arbitration clause though. Good luck!!!

lsylvain
06-13-2007, 10:10 AM
One typo is the word Below, you've got it spelled "bellow grade" in the damages section. I agree with you 100% about the edging. If you don't edge every trip here, you lose, because the guy's house next door is always edged and if you don't it sticks out like a sore thumb. Contract looks great. I would add an arbitration clause though. Good luck!!!

Thanks,

I always do that with below and bellow. I type to dang fast and of course that is one of the words that is actually a word when you screw up. thanks lol

I stated to add an arbitration clause but I wasn't smart enough to type one up so I'm snooping around looking for something I can copy and paste.

thanks for all the help.

Grits
06-13-2007, 10:27 AM
(copied from contract):. In the event that We-Mow Bradenton cannot mow due to a chemical application and client has not notified We-Mow Bradenton of the application, the service we be rescheduled to be performed at We-Mow Bradentonís convenience or the next scheduled service day for the property.(end copy)

I think you meant will.

MOWEMJEFF
06-13-2007, 10:56 AM
I start at the corner of the property and trim along every driveway, sidewalk, and obstacle. Edging is like twice a year and the trimming keeps it at bay and if you have to turn the trimmer sideways once in a while and clean it up a little. If I spent that much time on every property I would be losing money, you must have some high end clients, but edging every week seems excesive, maybe say once a month.

lawnmaniac883
06-13-2007, 11:11 AM
Read that entire thing over again, I counted 10 typos, mispelled words...

lsylvain
06-13-2007, 12:21 PM
(copied from contract):. In the event that We-Mow Bradenton cannot mow due to a chemical application and client has not notified We-Mow Bradenton of the application, the service we be rescheduled to be performed at We-Mow Bradentonís convenience or the next scheduled service day for the property.(end copy)

I think you meant will.

Thanks!

I have read this thing 20 times and have not caught anything on my own. I guess I just know what I am saying and what it is supposed to say to I miss stuff. Thus the reason for the posting.

lsylvain
06-13-2007, 12:28 PM
I start at the corner of the property and trim along every driveway, sidewalk, and obstacle. Edging is like twice a year and the trimming keeps it at bay and if you have to turn the trimmer sideways once in a while and clean it up a little. If I spent that much time on every property I would be losing money, you must have some high end clients, but edging every week seems excesive, maybe say once a month.

How does it take you longer to walk with an edger than it does to walk with a trimmer? You are walking down the sidewalk with a trimmer, I am walking down the sidewalk with an edger.... There is maybe 30 seconds of extra work on my part since I may have to pull the cord on two machines instead of one. If the property is laid out right I can get away without using the trimmer at all and just edge around everything.

Stillwater
06-13-2007, 12:36 PM
Ok I will be more clear
So you intentionally left payment terms vague? ah...excuse my bluntness but that is stupid. It is not wise to be vague when writing a contract especially when it comes to the payment terms. Being vague leaves the contract open to interpretation, contracts should stand on their own "That Is Why They Are Called Contracts" their should be no room for customer interpretation. Be specific and clear. other wise you should just say pay me whenever.

Included Services:

Mowing, Edging, String Trimming, and Blowing off hard surfaces are the only services provided under this contract. Other services desired by client will be agreed upon separately with We-Mow Bradenton with a separate contact, either written or verbal.

this does not match the scope of work you state you will perform weekly in the section above it. ""called mowing edging trimming"". Yes these do have to match if they dont the dam contract contradicts itself.

Shorten the contract to 1 page only

lurch
06-13-2007, 01:24 PM
Included Services:

Mowing, Edging, String Trimming, and Blowing off hard surfaces are the only services provided under this contract. Other services desired by client will be agreed upon separately with We-Mow Bradenton with a separate contact, either written or verbal.

this does not match the scope of work you state you will perform weekly in the section above it. ""called mowing edging trimming"". Yes these do have to match if they dont the dam contract contradicts itself.

Shorten the contract to 1 page only

i honestly do now understand what you're telling the guy....he's simply letting them know that mowing, edging, trimming, and blowing is all he offers. BUT...if they want more just ask....they'll have to agree upon a new contract but so what....

you're pretty rude

Stillwater
06-13-2007, 01:58 PM
i honestly do now understand what you're telling the guy....he's simply letting them know that mowing, edging, trimming, and blowing is all he offers. BUT...if they want more just ask....they'll have to agree upon a new contract but so what....

you're pretty rude

Lurch
1) you need to read the entire contract again, this time with some retention, Then you will see. I am surprised you don't see what I am pointing out.

2) Please try not to be so sensivitive, The guy wants a good contract he wants it torn apart that is his request. He is a smart guy to ask for help in this manner and frankly you are not helping him by being sensivitive and sugar coated for him.

The guy does not want sugar coated sweet smelling input he wants input he can use to better his contract and business and that willingness is what makes a good business man.

lsylvain
06-13-2007, 03:02 PM
Ok I will be more clear
So you intentionally left payment terms vague? ah...excuse my bluntness but that is stupid. It is not wise to be vague when writing a contract especially when it comes to the payment terms. Being vague leaves the contract open to interpretation, contracts should stand on their own "That Is Why They Are Called Contracts" their should be no room for customer interpretation. Be specific and clear. other wise you should just say pay me whenever.

Included Services:

Mowing, Edging, String Trimming, and Blowing off hard surfaces are the only services provided under this contract. Other services desired by client will be agreed upon separately with We-Mow Bradenton with a separate contact, either written or verbal.

this does not match the scope of work you state you will perform weekly in the section above it. ""called mowing edging trimming"". Yes these do have to match if they dont the dam contract contradicts itself.

Shorten the contract to 1 page only

I'm still not seing the contradiction? I don't have the contract in front of me right now so I can't re-read it.

How would you word it I guess would be a better aproach? it must.

1. Tell the customer that the only service they get is Mow, Trim, Edge, Blow. This is my "out clause" for the assumers. I don't take out the trash, I don't pull weeds, i don't fert, I don't do windows, I don't clean out gutters, I don't clean leaves out of mulch beds, I don't drive your kid to school. I show up, I mow I get the hell out of there and move on to the next one and that is it.

2. Lay out what a lawn mowing consists of.

3. State that I will come to their property every week April to November, and every other week December to March or as needed.

4. I descide if a property needs to be mowed upon my arrival. It is up to my professional judgement as to whether mow the property or not.

5. Whether or not I mow has no bearing on the monthly charge. They are charged a flat monthly rate for service. Just as you pay comcast $89.00 a month for TV whether you watch TV 24-7 or you never turn the thing on. I'm getting paid for being there and neither customer or myself should be injurded because of forces outside our control.

I don't see how your bill is due by the 10th of every month or 20 days from the date of the statement. This enables me to have a set billing date, but it also gives the customer the leighway on payment if I am late getting their bills out. This is how the international real estate company I do the books for does their contract billing. Are you perhaps just not happy with the length of time they are getting to pay their bill? I think net 10 day invoices are just rude especailly when you are talking about it taking a day to print them, then as many as 3 days in the mail to the customer, then another 3 days back, that only gives the customer 3 days to pay the bill.

As far as shortening the contract to one page, I don't really see why? I could just shrink the font down like the big companies so it all fits on one page. I think 4 pages is not so long that it is "threatening" to the customer but also long enough to make it look like you are a professional and not just some smuck who download the first thing they saw that said Lawn care contract. You are saying to make things specific to cut out interperitation but with a one page contract there is no way to do that. I mean you could say. We promise to cut yo grass and you promise to pay basicaly and you are out of room. define cut? does cut mean I only have to mow the property and not trim or blow. What does pay me mean do they only have to give me a penny a month and they are meeting the agreement terms. Do I have to mow the lawn even though there are 14 cars in the way and if I do am I responsible for any damage caused to these cars?

d&rlawncare
06-13-2007, 03:52 PM
I start at the corner of the property and trim along every driveway, sidewalk, and obstacle. Edging is like twice a year and the trimming keeps it at bay and if you have to turn the trimmer sideways once in a while and clean it up a little. If I spent that much time on every property I would be losing money, you must have some high end clients, but edging every week seems excesive, maybe say once a month.

My reason exactly that I leave edging out. I still OFFER it but the cost is additional and I leave it up to the home owner to tell me how many times a month they want it done.

Bigray
06-13-2007, 05:08 PM
guys the 411, on edging here in florida, the type of grasses we deal with need edging just about every visit.
so edging is a MUST... IMO.

Patriot Services
06-13-2007, 08:51 PM
Like BigRay said you edge every week here in FL. ST. Augustine would creep 6 inches out if you let it go 2 weeks. It is a source of pride that seperates a pro from little Johnny. I agree with arbitration too, costs alot less in legal fees and time spent in court.:usflag: :usflag: :usflag:

lawnman_scott
06-13-2007, 09:21 PM
You may want to consider a line next to the signature line for them to print their name.

d&rlawncare
06-13-2007, 10:40 PM
guys the 411, on edging here in florida, the type of grasses we deal with need edging just about every visit.
so edging is a MUST... IMO.

Okay I understand now. Here in MI bi-weekly edging will keep most lawns looking very nice.

New Heights
06-13-2007, 10:51 PM
I dont care about the rest of the contract but you need a company name and logo on top of this thing before you do anything else, or a cover letter with name and/or logo.

lawnman_scott
06-13-2007, 11:15 PM
I dont care about the rest of the contract but you need a company name and logo on top of this thing before you do anything else, or a cover letter with name and/or logo.This will make the contract legal how?

Chilehead
06-13-2007, 11:35 PM
I agree with alot of the replies here: it's too wordy. Our contract says everything yours does in about one page in a size 12 font. Short contracts make for happier customers--trust me.

HOOLIE
06-13-2007, 11:59 PM
Way too long, and long-winded, in my opinion. What I do, I keep the service agreement short and just throw in a 'FAQ' page that addresses anything else that might arise.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think you need to actually describe what lawn mowing IS...hopefully your customers are smarter than that?

Runner
06-14-2007, 10:39 AM
Not only that, but there are parts of this that are a waste of ink, because there are things that just don't apply. For instance, the part about "we will not be responsible for running over things left in the lawn".
Think again. If this issue ever went to court, they would make a mockery out of you and your ability/negligence in running your equipment.
This is just one example...

martinfan06
06-14-2007, 11:55 AM
Not only that, but there are parts of this that are a waste of ink, because there are things that just don't apply. For instance, the part about "we will not be responsible for running over things left in the lawn".
Think again. If this issue ever went to court, they would make a mockery out of you and your ability/negligence in running your equipment.
This is just one example...

Iagree just some stuff ya dont need and dont make sense.

lsylvain
06-14-2007, 08:05 PM
Way too long, and long-winded, in my opinion. What I do, I keep the service agreement short and just throw in a 'FAQ' page that addresses anything else that might arise.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think you need to actually describe what lawn mowing IS...hopefully your customers are smarter than that?

Well, to some people, mowing includes taking out the garbage, cleaning up dog crap, raking leaves, pulling weeds, baby sitting, etc.

To others mowing means just mowing with no trimming edgeing etc.

other people think and expect that if they own you or that you are their employee.

If all your contract says is.

"me tarzan, you jane, tarzan cut grass jane pay." why have a contract in the first place. You don't need a contract for that, to me the whole idea behind the contract is to lay out the details in writing so there is no confusion down the road about how often I was supposed to cut or whether or not I'm suposed to bag.

Stillwater
06-14-2007, 08:09 PM
in 30 years I have never had a customer asume mowing the lawn included trash removal dog crap clean up rakeing leaves or pulling weeds or baby sitting. please keep it real.......

Stillwater
06-14-2007, 08:13 PM
dude you asked your contract to be riped apart you would do better to just take some of the good advice that applies to you discard the rest and move on stop trying to defend your contract you wanted advice on you got some good advice you got some crappy filter it and be done....

lsylvain
06-14-2007, 08:26 PM
Not only that, but there are parts of this that are a waste of ink, because there are things that just don't apply. For instance, the part about "we will not be responsible for running over things left in the lawn".
Think again. If this issue ever went to court, they would make a mockery out of you and your ability/negligence in running your equipment.
This is just one example...

Yes, this is true IF they were to take me to court it probably would not stand up, but that is only IF they take me to court. With it written in the contract and a little jr. client leaves his GI joe in the yard and I give him a purple heart with the mower. 99% of your customers realize that it was their jr's fault and he should have pick up GI Joe and there is no problem. .9% will be pissy until I remind them of the clause in the contract and they will deal, and .1% will be pissy and want to press the issue in which case I give them $3.00 for the GI Joe to keep client happy.

Now change that and little Mrs prissy client was doing the nasty with her boyfriend behind the tool shed and droped her $20,000 necklace as she quickly got dressed because she heard mom comming and I later run over the necklace? Now if I go to court you have it in writing that you are not responsible which could be thrown out but that along with the fact that a reasonable person would not expect a $20,000 necklace to be laying in the grass behind the tool shed, and then even if one was aware that a necklace was laying behind the tool shed most people could not find it if they were looking for it. At least you have a leg to stand on to fight it.

Heck what is funny is last night I used this contract (well, after I made a bunch of the changes people have mentioned.) and the client has 3 small children, she stoped after she read it and yelled to the kids to come into the kitchen and she had the oldest one read the paragraph and used it as a teaching tool to teach her kids to pick up their crap. "See Jonny if you don't pick your toys up every day the lawnmower man is going to run over them....."

lsylvain
06-14-2007, 08:32 PM
dude you asked your contract to be riped apart you would do better to just take some of the good advice that applies to you discard the rest and move on stop trying to defend your contract you wanted advice on you got some good advice you got some crappy filter it and be done....

i'm not "defending" i am simply giving my reasonings behind why I put things in there that I did and why I think they should stay.

maybe you guys are just lucky. 2 times I have had customers not pay their bill because they assumed that my services included something else. One over weeds in the flower bed, and a second because a lady thought that trimming her 15' tall hedge around her property was part of the service. They assumed and I got screwed out of a months worth of work both times.

Stillwater
06-14-2007, 09:06 PM
if I did not consider my doc's private I would just email you the ones I am currently useing. But you are right about the edgeing you are in Fl. with warm weather grasses, I am in new england and edgeing is considerd extra and not done with every cutting. St.Aug looks like crap if you dont edge all the time I have a place in orlando I go to every year.

lsylvain
06-14-2007, 09:49 PM
I am now wondering if I should put in an "if the aligator eats me you have to pay for my burrial clause." on an estimate I did yesterday there was a gator sitting by the shore line eyeballing me. lol

HOOLIE
06-15-2007, 12:26 AM
Well, to some people, mowing includes taking out the garbage, cleaning up dog crap, raking leaves, pulling weeds, baby sitting, etc.

To others mowing means just mowing with no trimming edgeing etc.

other people think and expect that if they own you or that you are their employee.

If all your contract says is.

"me tarzan, you jane, tarzan cut grass jane pay." why have a contract in the first place. You don't need a contract for that, to me the whole idea behind the contract is to lay out the details in writing so there is no confusion down the road about how often I was supposed to cut or whether or not I'm suposed to bag.

Well you did ask me to rip it apart...and I offered my honest take from many years in the biz. With a contract like yours, you give the perception that you're not easy to work with. That you'll nickle and dime them for everything. People want easy, they want convenience. They want a lawn guy to cut their lawn, not a lawyer.

The "Tarzan" thing is exactly what I do. Here's what I do...here's the price...sign on the dotted line and I'll see ya next Thursday. If I have a problem I just call them and bring it to their attention.

fiveoboy01
06-15-2007, 01:58 AM
I don't think it's terrible, but I agree it's too wordy. I also think that net 20 is a little long, but that's your choice. I give my customers roughly 10-12 days to pay.

I dunno why everyone's ripping you for edging. My agreements state that it's done as necessary to maintain a neat appearance. This might mean every week, or every other week, or just touching up a few spots with the trimmer, whatever it takes to keep it looking good.

IF on the first service the sod is way overgrown over the sidewalks then I will charge additional for the first time but maintaining it thereafter is included in the weekly price. I won't NOT do it. Edging just makes everything look so much neater in my opinion.

Stillwater
06-15-2007, 03:48 AM
I think the guy is machine edgeing every week becouse of the StAug, and other warm season grasses the types with the thick meaty blades. the machine edger cuts it super clean the wacker just ripps the hell out of it. then the ends turn a ratty brown a day later.

lsylvain
06-15-2007, 08:02 AM
Well you did ask me to rip it apart...and I offered my honest take from many years in the biz. With a contract like yours, you give the perception that you're not easy to work with. That you'll nickle and dime them for everything. People want easy, they want convenience. They want a lawn guy to cut their lawn, not a lawyer.

The "Tarzan" thing is exactly what I do. Here's what I do...here's the price...sign on the dotted line and I'll see ya next Thursday. If I have a problem I just call them and bring it to their attention.

Right but from a legal standpoint why bother putting the "tarzan" thing in writing. To me the purpose of putting it is writing is to put the details on paper so that there are not any problems down the road.

The 4 people I signed yesterday didn't have any problems. When I gave them the contract I just said "here is my contract, now I'm a really easy going guy, there are just so many people out that trying to get one over on you, that it is best to lay everything out on paper." Then I gave them some examples of what I am talking about like the story about the lady not paying me because of the 15' hedges, and the 14 million little old ladies that come out into the yard with the "can you cut this, and move that. And the fraternity house I mowed that always had 3-4 cars parked in the lawn...

People never think they are the "jackasses" you can tell a story to a secretary that talks to much, about a secretary that talks to much and they will interupt you 43 times a minute so that they can completly aggree with you about how anoying it is to be interupted and how they hate people that talk to much, it is just so rude.

I don't think it makes it look like I am hard to deal with, I think atleast two of the people I have signed think the exact oposite. They see the contract as a "I never have to speak to this guy again, agreement." For example, I have it in the contract that I basically descided when and if to mow the grass, I pormise to visit the property each week, but on no spesific day, no special duration between mows. I don't have to mow if I dont think it should be mowed. So in the customers eyes all they have to do is sit back and relax, they don't have to keep an eye out for how many times I mowed, if it was really 7 days between cuts or have I been skimming it to 6 days to sqeez in a couple extra mows a year. Non of that matters, the only thing that matters is if their grass looks bad, to me that is as easy as it gets to the cleint?

LawnSharks
06-15-2007, 08:13 AM
Man, He asked for a rip and he got one. Now, let's let it RIP (Rest in peace).
Time to go mow!

Fatboy
06-18-2007, 04:43 PM
I'm surprised that nobody mentioned to have this contract looked over by a real attorney...
That's the only way to make sure that it will meet your needs and cover your legal butt.
Outhouse attorneys are a dime a dozen, spend a few bucks and do it right, with a real attorney.

Good Luck,
Fatboy

mowingizbestsport
06-18-2007, 05:08 PM
Post final copy

jonim
06-19-2007, 12:08 PM
Well, to some people, mowing includes taking out the garbage, cleaning up dog crap, raking leaves, pulling weeds, baby sitting, etc.

To others mowing means just mowing with no trimming edgeing etc.

other people think and expect that if they own you or that you are their employee.

If all your contract says is.

"me tarzan, you jane, tarzan cut grass jane pay." why have a contract in the first place. You don't need a contract for that, to me the whole idea behind the contract is to lay out the details in writing so there is no confusion down the road about how often I was supposed to cut or whether or not I'm suposed to bag.

Sorry but this is funny! I got a laugh out of it! As for your contract it is too long. I put my husbands contracts together and they are only one page. Most people do not like to read lengthy material. I also do a cover letter and yes we do have a logo at the top. It just makes it look more professional. We also include a seperate addendum that explains everything in detail along with copy of insurance certificate. I know its really hard to put together contracts and to make them sound perfect and professional so let me know if I can help.

Roger
06-19-2007, 09:46 PM
Fatboy said it best, "... get an attorney to review it." All the comments here might be helpful, but the language needed to be useful is best supplied by somebody who knows the legal system in the area being worked. All the wanna-be's advice won't be of any help if enforcement is needed.

I find it interesting that so many threads on this topic appear because some feel it very important ("... won't do any mowing without a contract"). However, the value is apparently less than a few hundred dollars in attorney's fees to have one drafted that fits your situation, in your area. Legal interpretations and litigation vary from place to place, so using a "location neutral" document may be of no value anyway.

But, for residential lawn mowing, why bother? A thread was posted a few years back (that I cannot find) that discussed the customer's review of the contract. I know some are calling it agreement -- one in the same, nobody is fooling anybody with a simple name change. The consensus from comments in that thread was that new customers even read the document.

Who will enforce some of the simple customer's tasks (e.g. clearing the lawn area)? How will the enforcement be done? Like any ordinance, regulation, or law, the clause is meaningless unless enforced.

All the arguments to support a contract seem to center around "being protected." Nobody ever clarifies "from what." The implication is the legal system will back you with the language in the contract. After several years of reading threads, I cannot recall a single incident when an LCO litigated a case in court and won a case with their contract. What lawyer would even take a case of this magnitude?

I think some small claims cases have been won, but I also think an verbal agreement holds as much weight as a written one.

A current running thread:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=191282

speaks about a situation of a client breaking a contract, one that is worth far more than typical residential mowing situations. The lawyer suggested dropping it because litigation costs would be $4,000.

Part the issue in this case was the lack of an escape clause. The overwhelming suggestion was to include a 30 day written notice. For a residential mowing customer, why would anybody want an 30 day notice? A recent thread spoke about a woman who was upset about her contractor not coming on time. When he arrived, she already had done the mowing. The response, "... she cannot do that, her contract forbids her from doing that." It is her property, and she can do what she pleases, written piece of paper or not. Is this case worthy of paying litigation costs? I don't think so, regardless of the language of the document she signed. If I had a customer who mowed their own, I would NOT want to be bound to a 30 day written termination notice. That customer would get a letter the next day saying I would not return. Why would I want to be bound by an termination notice?

I think sometimes the vision of residential lawn mowing has been elevated to a level far beyond its worth. Written contracts surely do have their place, but let us not loose sight of the work being done, simple task of mowing a lawn, nothing more, nothing less. It is a task requiring little skill, little experience, and nearly anybody can do it (just read the numerous threads about competition in some areas). If a contractor wanted to mow my lawn, and showed up with a document for me to sign, I would merely ask him to move along, no matter his price, what neat equipment he has on his trailer, and what nice lettering he has on his truck. In a litigious society, why would I want to be part of any legal process over something so simple as lawn mowing? I would be far more interested to see his proof of insurance, and any licenses needed to collect and remit taxes.

HOOLIE
06-20-2007, 12:10 AM
All the arguments to support a contract seem to center around "being protected." Nobody ever clarifies "from what." The implication is the legal system will back you with the language in the contract. After several years of reading threads, I cannot recall a single incident when an LCO litigated a case in court and won a case with their contract. What lawyer would even take a case of this magnitude?



Good observation Roger...and while I do use 'service agreements' myself, their purpose is pretty much to just put the price out there and some basic terms.

I actually have gone to small claims court and won a bunch of times in the past for my old boss, but not since starting my own business. From what I've gathered here on LS, not many others have, not many guys seem to understand how it works. In Virginia at least, small claims is to render a judgement over property or money...in the case of a customer who cancels 'mid-contract', well you didn't mow for half the season, so you didn't really 'lose' any money...if you did mow and didn't get paid, that's one thing, but if you DIDN'T mow, that's another thing. I'm not sure you could bring such a case to small claims. And with the average residential customer bringing in around $1,000 a year, is it really worth it to hire a lawyer?? I somehow doubt it.

The best defense is a good offense, as they say...go with getting paid in advance each month so you don't get in the position of a customer owing you money. And charging a flat monthly rate is great too, that way if you pull up and there's another contractor working in the yard, you just skip it and no problems, no lost revenue.

fiveoboy01
06-20-2007, 01:42 AM
I think sometimes the vision of residential lawn mowing has been elevated to a level far beyond its worth. Written contracts surely do have their place, but let us not loose sight of the work being done, simple task of mowing a lawn, nothing more, nothing less. It is a task requiring little skill, little experience, and nearly anybody can do it (just read the numerous threads about competition in some areas). If a contractor wanted to mow my lawn, and showed up with a document for me to sign, I would merely ask him to move along, no matter his price, what neat equipment he has on his trailer, and what nice lettering he has on his truck. In a litigious society, why would I want to be part of any legal process over something so simple as lawn mowing? I would be far more interested to see his proof of insurance, and any licenses needed to collect and remit taxes.


I do agree with you to a point. I do use written agreements, but it's not to try and bind the customer to anything. It's simply so that there is no disagreement between either party on A) what services will be performed, and B) what the price will be.

If someone won't sign one of these like you say you wouldn't, then they would find someone else to do the work. I've been screwed myself once on a one-time mow. From that point on, I don't do any work without a signed document.

Stillwater
06-20-2007, 02:38 AM
[QUOTE=fiveoboy01;1870194]I do agree with you to a point. I do use written agreements, but it's not to try and bind the customer to anything. It's simply so that there is no disagreement between either party on A) what services will be performed, and B) what the price will be.


I totaly whole heartedly agree the only thing needed on a agreement is the price for mowing, what is to be mowed and when payment is due.

But we dont just mow, when I am doing a sprinkler system,65 foot field stone wall with a cobble stone aprin at boths ends of the drive and the total cost of the job is 20 grand you bet your asss my contract will be extreemly detailed.

martinfan06
06-20-2007, 05:57 AM
I do agree with you to a point. I do use written agreements, but it's not to try and bind the customer to anything. It's simply so that there is no disagreement between either party on A) what services will be performed, and B) what the price will be.

If someone won't sign one of these like you say you wouldn't, then they would find someone else to do the work. I've been screwed myself once on a one-time mow. From that point on, I don't do any work without a signed document.

Same here just the basic heres what I do heres what need you to do.

mrgreenlawn
06-21-2007, 01:01 AM
Yes, this is true IF they were to take me to court it probably would not stand up, but that is only IF they take me to court. With it written in the contract and a little jr. client leaves his GI joe in the yard and I give him a purple heart with the mower. 99% of your customers realize that it was their jr's fault and he should have pick up GI Joe and there is no problem. .9% will be pissy until I remind them of the clause in the contract and they will deal, and .1% will be pissy and want to press the issue in which case I give them $3.00 for the GI Joe to keep client happy.

Now change that and little Mrs prissy client was doing the nasty with her boyfriend behind the tool shed and droped her $20,000 necklace as she quickly got dressed because she heard mom comming and I later run over the necklace? Now if I go to court you have it in writing that you are not responsible which could be thrown out but that along with the fact that a reasonable person would not expect a $20,000 necklace to be laying in the grass behind the tool shed, and then even if one was aware that a necklace was laying behind the tool shed most people could not find it if they were looking for it. At least you have a leg to stand on to fight it.

Heck what is funny is last night I used this contract (well, after I made a bunch of the changes people have mentioned.) and the client has 3 small children, she stoped after she read it and yelled to the kids to come into the kitchen and she had the oldest one read the paragraph and used it as a teaching tool to teach her kids to pick up their crap. "See Jonny if you don't pick your toys up every day the lawnmower man is going to run over them....."
Here in Iowa we charge extra for edging, I personally inspect every yard first before I mow because I am not looking forward to buying new equiptment because I ran over something that was left in the yard. But that is just my 2 cents worth.:walking: