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West KY Lawncare
06-18-2007, 06:19 PM
O.K. guys I am just wanting some input. I have a signed contract with a guy for this years mowing. It is suppose to be around 21 mowing cycles. I have mowed it 8 times as of today and he has told me that he wants to take the rest of the years mowing back from me that I could mow thru June. Which will be 10 mowings. We are talking about thousands of dollars for the rest of the year. My lawyer says that we have a legal signed contract but it could be expensive to fight. Do you guys think it would be worth it to fight him or just let him run over me. I had to purchase another turf tiger just for this contract and that is my big concern. He told me the reason he needed it back was because he needed to earn the money for the rest of the year. Let me know if any of you guys have had to deal with issues like this. I just want what we agreed on!!

Prestige-Lawncare
06-18-2007, 06:35 PM
I take it there isn't any language in your contract concerning breaking the agreement. Probably the most common language states that either party can cancel the agreement with 30 days written notice.

If you don't have a clause in your contract such as this ... I would suggest adding it for all future contracts (I prefer to call them agreements).

Also ... if you have 12 month pay agreements, make sure you have language in there that spells out how that is handled if the contract is cancelled. The most common method is to have all of the previous mowings adjusted to a higher rate.

For example:

Let's say you have a property that you charge $40. per week to mow ... and your mowing season is something like 30 weeks. This comes to $1200. ... or averaged out to $160. a month for the customer. If you allow them to pay it over a 12 month billing cycle (which gives you income in the off-season too) ... it would only be $100. per month for your customer. If they decide that they want to cancel the contract part way through the season ... you then go back an adjust their final bill to make up the difference in what they would have actually paid at the $160. a month. For instance .. if they cancel 10 weeks in, they have probably only paid you $250. ... but if you re-adjust the bill to reflect the $40. a cut ... they would owe you another $150. to settle up. This keeps you from getting burnt on the front of the contract.

Make sense?

fiveoboy01
06-18-2007, 06:52 PM
How many thousands are you talking? Was there a termination clause in the contract?

I'd guess it's probably not worth it. You'll end up spending a bunch of money.

West KY Lawncare
06-18-2007, 06:57 PM
No termination clause. The contract just stated from April to October 31.

West KY Lawncare
06-18-2007, 06:59 PM
The amount is over 10000.00! The lawyer said it could cost up to 4000.00.

Supper Grassy
06-18-2007, 07:07 PM
Ok, how much did the scag cost?
if nothing else you get payment tward the scag

fiveoboy01
06-18-2007, 07:33 PM
Well no termination clause, you might be screwed. Likely you'll be able to get what you're owed so far and that's it. The guy can probably come up with any reason for why you breached your contract.

This is why its never a good idea to buy a new mower for one account.

ed2hess
06-18-2007, 07:41 PM
Well no termination clause, you might be screwed. Likely you'll be able to get what you're owed so far and that's it. The guy can probably come up with any reason for why you breached your contract.

This is why its never a good idea to buy a new mower for one account.

I agree.....or the guy could come up with a real sob story if it goes to a judge and you would never win. Might as well move on.

txgrassguy
06-18-2007, 07:42 PM
It all depends on why the customer wants to terminate the contract.
To specify a breach, you have to show lack of due diligence on the customer's part and vs.
With out some type of termination clause, and if the contract is actually signed by both parties, you have an arguable case for lost income/damages.

Supper Grassy
06-18-2007, 07:43 PM
Well no termination clause, you might be screwed. Likely you'll be able to get what you're owed so far and that's it. The guy can probably come up with any reason for why you breached your contract.

This is why its never a good idea to buy a new mower for one account.

I have to agree, you may want to add termination clause and inform your customers and you may need to have them resign contracts with the termination clause

chuck bow
06-18-2007, 08:40 PM
You said he's taking it back? Were you a sub for him or what i quite dont understand the whole story i guess

West KY Lawncare
06-19-2007, 12:55 AM
Yes I am a sub and he is wanting to take the mowing back for financial problems on his end. The mowing is inspected every time by the business representive and there has been no problems with the mowing. He just told me he needed to make the money that was left to be made! Sorry I wasn't real clear earlier.

lawnman_scott
06-19-2007, 01:07 AM
Isnt the lawyer the guy to talk to about this?

West KY Lawncare
06-19-2007, 01:33 AM
Yes, I just wanted some other input before I went any further with this problem.

deereequipment
06-19-2007, 07:11 PM
give him the option to buy out your contract. (say 10% or 20%).
Then you will let him "out" of they contract.

Tell him that it cost you money, to ahve the needed equipment ready to do the work that he hired you to do. This is what it will "cost" you to let him out of the contract.

d&rlawncare
06-19-2007, 07:18 PM
If your a sub and you have a signed agreement then I would say he is stuck. No termination clause means it cannot be terminated. First thing I would do is get a letter from the place you are mowing stating that the mowing has been completed weekly, on time, and to thier standards.

TMlawncare
06-19-2007, 07:33 PM
This is really an easy one. You have a season long contract. As long as you have been living up to your end of the contract he can't legally terminate it. Sounds like to me your dealing with a poor businessman who didn't plan things out. Always remember, be fair but take care of yourself first.

d&rlawncare
06-19-2007, 07:50 PM
This is really an easy one. You have a season long contract. As long as you have been living up to your end of the contract he can't legally terminate it. Sounds like to me your dealing with a poor businessman who didn't plan things out. Always remember, be fair but take care of yourself first.

Well said. Cover your tail so he cant say your not holding up to your end of the deal.

HFS
06-19-2007, 09:32 PM
I would start bluffing him and play hard ball. Let him know that its in black and white and its that simple. Personally I would also tell him to go ahead and fight it. By the time he is able to set a court date and bla bla bla, the season would of come and gone and he would make no money. And until a judge says other wise that account and contract are yours to service and honor. I would guess the account would be on your side since you have the contract and it's your truck parked outside each week. Don't forget to have him citied for damage to property if he sneaks in to service the account before you. LATER

Attorney-at-Lawn
06-20-2007, 12:10 AM
Everyone has overlooked the biggest issue - does your contract contain an attorney fees and court cost provision, whereby the losing party is to pay these to the prevailing party in any legal action. All your contracts should contain this and any attorney who feels confident enough about your case should take it on with the understanding that they will get paid only if you prevail. This limits your financial exposure when suing on contract breaches.

Next, you should be getting into direct contact with the property owner and outline the entire issue. You should also provide a written overview of the issues to the property owner. Your goal is to have the owner agree to set aside that portion of his payment, representing the mowing, normally paid to the general contractor. I assume that the owner normally pays the general, and he then in turn pays you. Without actually seeing your contract with the general, I have to assume that you have the prevailing right to conduct the work, and as long as the owner agrees to pay you directly or set it aside in some form of escrow, then you should continue to do the work. Without owner cooperation, this becomes a much stickier situation. iF YOU HAVE NO OWNER COOPERATION AND NO ATTORNEY FEE PROVISION IN YOUR CONTRACT, THEN your only real recourse would be to have the attorney file for a temporary injunction against the general seeking to keep him from performing the work himself, and having the owner pay the funds to a court directed account until all issues could be legally resolved.
BOTTOM LINE - get the owner on your side!

Good luck!

Envy Lawn Service
06-20-2007, 12:39 AM
Yes I am a sub and he is wanting to take the mowing back for financial problems on his end. The mowing is inspected every time by the business representive and there has been no problems with the mowing. He just told me he needed to make the money that was left to be made! Sorry I wasn't real clear earlier.

I sub some work out myself... and that's lowdown... :angry:

Here is what I would do...
I would break out the contract. I would have him meet you at the site, get in front of the representative for that company... in order to 'formally' cancel the contract.

Then on the back of the contract, I would have him WRITE a statement explaining "why" he is canceling the contract, and also specifiy there was no sort of problem or breach on your part.. Then sign below. Then I would have that representative sign it as "witness" with a short statement that there was no sort of problem or breach of contract or your part...... in order to 'formally' cancel the contract.

Then I would turn around and go up to the courthouse and file suit against him for the remaining balance. You don't need an attorney for this. Pretty cut and dried. Go to court, produce the document... and also a bill of sale for the mower you purchased specifically to be able to service the account... done deal.

Yes, I am certain he is absolutely stupid enough to do what you ask.

Take some of the money and pay a better attorney to re-draft your contract with cancellation clauses and/or charges that are legal in your state.

West KY Lawncare
06-20-2007, 01:21 AM
Here is a copy of the contract. I got this off the lawnsite and we modified it for our needs.

Mowing contract between West KY Lawn Care and xxxxxxxxxxxx


Enclosed you will find the contract between West KY Lawn Care and xxxxxxxxxx for the lawn / property maintenance at xxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx located in Western KY for the year 2007.

We the contractor, West KY Lawn Care will mow lawns to maintain a well kept appearance, between a height of 2.5”- 4.5”. Mowing will be done every 10-14 days, when called and instructed within 10 days. Also, lawns will be trimmed around all foundations and other objects in mowing areas. During each mowing, all garbage will be picked up across entire property and disposed of.

We the contractor West KY Lawn Care, will contact xxxxxxxxxxxx, to discuss any concerns or problems we have noticed about 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 seven months, from April 1st, 2007 until October 31st, 2007. Invoices from West KY Lawn Care will be sent out after mowing is complete, and are due as soon as xxxxxxxxxxx receives payment, unless prior arrangements are made.

The pricing for the Western KY locations is $xxxx per mowing.

West KY Lawn Care’s copy of liability insurance and list of equipment used, along with any other information is available upon request.
xxxxxxxxxxx will not be responsible for any damages.

Any questions feel free to call me at
270-xxx-xxxx


_______________ Date ___________
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
West KY Lawn Care
270-xxx-xxxx


_______________ Date ___________
xxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxx
270-xxx-xxxx

Rob.C
06-20-2007, 01:26 AM
On accounts worth that much it gets prepaid, If its a 3 year contract they pay at the start of the year in full for each year, 6 months minimum no exceptions.

HOOLIE
06-20-2007, 02:23 AM
The pricing for the Western KY locations is $xxxx per mowing.



Right there...says you charge per mowing, not that they are obligated to pay some entire amount for the season. I mean it's just a run of the mill service agreement. I don't see getting paid for unperformed services, unless you can call the guy's bluff like Envy said.

fiveoboy01
06-20-2007, 02:38 AM
Ouch, if that's all there is, that's not much of a contract. The ones I've seen are several pages in length.

I do like Envy's idea. I think it's real low for a contractor to do that to a sub especially if he knows you purchased a mower to do this account for him. He's screwing you pretty hard, to turnaround is fair play in this case as far as I'm concerned.

In any case, you need to get a lawyer to draft you up a real contract.

Envy Lawn Service
06-20-2007, 02:39 AM
Yeah, if you go to court with just that contract, the line that reads...

"Billing will be over a period of seven months, from April 1st, 2007 until October 31st, 2007."

...is the ONLY leg you have to stand on, and my guess is that it will get kicked out from under you.

So yeah... have him write "why" he is hanging you out to dry on this contract.

topsites
06-20-2007, 02:42 AM
Man, what a deal.

About the one thing we can all hope to learn here is never stick your neck out like that.
Good luck

Richard Martin
06-20-2007, 04:21 AM
I'm starting to agree with Envy and others here. You have no default clauses in there at all. To make matters worse, even if you sue him and win it's still up to you to collect. You may never see a dime of the money.

martinfan06
06-20-2007, 07:27 AM
Sounds like a hard lesson learned try to move on, maybe try and get a little payment like someone else said, 10-20% of whats left in mowing sounds like your best shot.

West KY Lawncare
06-21-2007, 01:18 AM
This is the first time I have used a contract and it has been a learning experience! The lawyer still seems positive for me so I guess we will see how it goes. In the future the attorney will draw my contracts up regardless of the price.

West KY Lawncare
06-22-2007, 08:33 PM
BumpBumpBump