PDA

View Full Version : I need you guys opinion.


robinsonr5018
12-27-2007, 05:13 PM
I made my first bid on a residential customer. She accepted the bid but refuse to sign a services agreement or an annual contract. This my first account in the most prestiege community in the city. I didn't mention her husband is my childrens doctor and have known the couple for over 15 years. I don't think she would screw me but I'm worried. I need to mention, I went to do the estimate the day after her lco was out. He only mowed the backyard and didn't edge or trim. She's paying him for hedge trimming also, It look like the hedges haven't been trimmed in a while. Please give me your opinion, I appreciate everything I read and value the opinion of the ones with experience. Thank You. :):)

hackitdown
12-27-2007, 05:39 PM
Opinion on what? What is the question?

shane mapes
12-27-2007, 05:43 PM
if she will not sigh , don't do any work for her . she is pro bally up to no good . most people friend or not will act like your best friend until something goes wrong .. i would not do anything with out a signature!!!!

LushGreenLawn
12-27-2007, 05:52 PM
Would the service contract lock her into a specific amount of time? Mabye that is what she is afraid of. My contracts state that they can be terminated at any time by myself or the customers, and I have never had an issue with a customer signing one.

I also have a very low turnover rate for customers, if you are dependable and do quality work, that will lock them in.

Also... If she does not want to sign a contract that does not lock her in for a year, she is planning on not paying you, dispite the fact that her husband is your doctor. (Doctors are the worst sometimes to get money out of)

robinsonr5018
12-27-2007, 06:21 PM
The services agreement doesn't lock her into any specific time. I only state I agree to a certain job for this amount of pay. The services agreement can be terminate with a written notices. I read the posting on her and I'm concern about taking care of my business. And Hackitdown, I wanted your opinion on do I service this customer or not.

ed2hess
12-27-2007, 06:28 PM
A good place to just say no.....tell her you are looking for customers that want their yard done all year and are willing to pay 12 equal payments. The only people we run into that won't sign is old people......and our experience has taught us that it is better to just pass on them and let them get a lawn boy.

robinsonr5018
12-27-2007, 06:31 PM
I forgot to mention she want to pay by the job.

echeandia
12-27-2007, 07:27 PM
It is your company so you should do what you are comfortable with. I have customers with contracts and customers without. I start some jobs without down payments and others that I won't start without a check in hand. I would find out why she is hesitant to sign. If you are comfortable with her answer then do the work, if not you can walk away.

robinsonr5018
12-27-2007, 08:12 PM
She said she hesitant because they got sued in the past. I do know they have the money to pay but with a new company I can't afford to get rook for my money. I'm very willing to work with people. I have always been a pretty good judging people. I also going to be doing a mulch job for them and they appear to be appreciative of my ideas to improve their yard.

echeandia
12-27-2007, 08:22 PM
It's up to you. Let us know what you decide.

dcondon
12-27-2007, 08:23 PM
Why even have contracts if your NOT going to make every account sign one. I know in this area its hard to get people to sign a contract so we don't bother unless its a com account. We have never ran into any problems but it all depends on your location. JMO

IN2MOWN
12-27-2007, 08:46 PM
Ill be honest. I dont blame her. To many LCO's around here want to act like they are preforming some life changing service when in reality they are just cutting grass.

Go over there, do a good job and get paid for it.

Save the contracts and service agreements for commercial jobs. Not piddly little houses.

Dunn's
12-27-2007, 09:19 PM
I guess no one else saw the red flag.

She said they got sued, doesn't sound like a good idea. But it sounds like you sjould not have asked this question because you have already decided to do it. Oh yeah by the way find a new doctor for your kids. You are heading down a fun path. But hey go for it we all have to learn on our own.

IN2MOWN
12-27-2007, 09:37 PM
I guess no one else saw the red flag.

She said they got sued, doesn't sound like a good idea. But it sounds like you sjould not have asked this question because you have already decided to do it. Oh yeah by the way find a new doctor for your kids. You are heading down a fun path. But hey go for it we all have to learn on our own.


Do you know what for?

dcondon
12-27-2007, 09:47 PM
Do you know what for?

If I had to guess its for not paying the billpayuppayup

roguesuerte
12-27-2007, 09:55 PM
The "got sued" reason for not signing the contract would definitely make me nervous. Having the ability to pay often runs contrary to the desire to pay with some doctors. Possibly because they have to wait to get paid, themselves. I wouldn't proceed in light of everything without a signed contract.

M&SLawnCare
12-27-2007, 10:09 PM
Go with your gut feeling and just don't let her get too far behind on payments if you take it. Its only a residentual mowing account, not a hardscaping project worth tens of thoughsands. Nobody uses contracts on residentual around here and its extremly rare someone rips us off. If you do any higher priced services though you could always request a down payment or even payment in full before services rendered if your that worried.

mattfromNY
12-27-2007, 10:11 PM
I would have her sign at least a 'proposal' to do the work outlined in writing, even if it is just a mow and pay each time deal.
I have only been at this game 2 years, but have seen enough to know if you want your money, you'll have a much easier time getting it if they've signed something. I tell my friends that hire me, 'This is my business, this is my responsibility to have us both sign these forms to protect both of us in the case of a mishap, business is business, nothing personal between you and I' I have been saved by my contracts twice in the last month, I got my money, but could still be waiting for several THOUSAND dollars at one commercial account, my contract also states they WILL pay late charges, or services will be suspended. Early on, in talking to an attorney, it was recommended to me to have every customer sign at least a proposal, as it would certainly help if I end up in court.
Hope it helps.
Matt.

Valk
12-27-2007, 10:18 PM
If you don't need the business - then move on.

If you really need the business - then you'll have to accept the consequences whether she signs or not. How this plays out can be satisfactory or unsatisfactory...a learning experience either way.

Working for friends/acquaintances is an already strained situation...but they can work out well, just like anything else...or backfire as well.


What does your gut say?

Runner
12-27-2007, 10:39 PM
25 years in business, and hundreds of residential accounts,...I've never had one sign a contract or service agreement. I've never had the need, and have never really lost out. A few slow payers? Of course...who hasn't. But I have never used a contract for lawn maintenance. Now,...for lawn CARE, we are required to by state law. But that is a whole different thing all together.

Grits
12-27-2007, 11:06 PM
Her current LCO does a crap job (probably because she doesn't pay on time). She has been sued. What other red flags do you need?

IN2MOWN
12-28-2007, 12:57 AM
The "got sued" reason for not signing the contract would definitely make me nervous. Having the ability to pay often runs contrary to the desire to pay with some doctors. Possibly because they have to wait to get paid, themselves. I wouldn't proceed in light of everything without a signed contract.


What law in this country states someone can be sued for not signing a contract?

IN2MOWN
12-28-2007, 01:05 AM
Her current LCO does a crap job (probably because she doesn't pay on time). She has been sued. What other red flags do you need?



Ill ask again but where in this thread does it state what she has been sued for?

topsites
12-28-2007, 01:06 AM
I'll make it real simple:

You've explained to her what the deal is, right?
So, Yes or No, which one's it going to be?

Sorry, can't break the rules.

Either she signs it as agreed, or it means she doesn't want it.
It's not "oh well I'd still like the services but I just don't think I should have to sign"
You can't do it, way you've got yourself set up it doesn't work like that.
Signing means agreement, no signature means no work.
It's plain and simple, Yes or No.
That's what this is all about.

So, it appears her answer is no.

Big Lebowski
12-28-2007, 02:42 AM
Being a lurker I thought I'd offer my opinion so take it or leave it if you wish.

She doesn't sign. So what? I don't understand why this is an issue for you. At the moment she stops paying, you stop working. I would have a hard time believing that your business revolves around this one account. Earlier this year I took tons of snow removal accounts and I only have contracts for commercial accounts. I prefer it this way. I can drop anybody for any reason - any time. And I have too. Don't call each time a 1/2 inch of snow falls because you think that you have me on the dangle. Find somebody else.

What could your contract state that would make the signature so important? That she pay? Well thats a give in. You don't need a contract for that. The only other things that "might" make a difference is that if your contract states they pay interest on unpaid balances and pay collection/court costs. But you still don't need a contract for that. Besides, without one you can walk away at anytime if you are unhappy. With one, depending on how it's worded, you might have to continue working for another month before stopping service (thats what my commercial contracts states).

If you still feel that the contract is important, tell her you will revise a contract just for her that is week to week. It will renew each week unless one of you chooses to not renew it by notifying the other within 48 hours (or whatever) of service.

This is not anything to be up in arms over, really.

hackitdown
12-28-2007, 08:16 AM
I don't use contracts for maintenance (but I do for projects where I buy materials), it has never been a problem for me. I would never sign a contract if I were a customer. So the fact that she won't sign would never be an issue for me.

However, it sounds like there are some red flags as many other have pointed out. And as everyone said, go with your gut. Most times if I walk away from the meeting with a customer thinking that they are a jerk, they choose another guy, or turn out to be a problem customer.

The only other opinion that I will give is not to get too focused on it being a top neighborhood. That has absolutely no impact on the value of the customer. Expensive neghborhoods have more than their fair share of a**holes and whiners.

Bottom line, if you need the business, take the business. Weigh the risk and decide. What do you have to lose or gain?

Roger
12-28-2007, 08:47 AM
I agree with those who say "would not sign an agreement either." Somebody said it earlier, "... skip the agreement for the piddly little residential customers..." or words to that effect. Having somebody sign an agreement does not make them pay. Either somebody is honest and wants to keep their payments current, or they don't. Some piece of paper isn't going to change their thinking one way or another.

It seems like those having the most collection problems are those who have contracts with residential customers, "... the contract says right there, ... they have to pay ...." as the story goes. If a customer is honest in their business matters, they will pay.

If somebody came to my house asking me to sign a contract/agreement (no difference) before they were going to cut my grass, I would tell them to find another customer. This is ONLY grass cutting!! Attempts to raise these menial tasks to any higher level through a contract/agreement is a waste of time. Think back to all the threads about LCOs asking questions, expressing gripes and complaints, about having difficulties with customers who signed some piece of paper.

Seeing examples of so-called contracts that have been posted here are far from a contract anyway -- they miss many important issues associated with dispute resolution, jurisdiction, applicable law, etc. They are merely a statement of understanding of work to be done, and expected payments. These documents are giving many a false sense of security in the business relationship, should a problem arise.

robinsonr5018
12-28-2007, 10:40 AM
I thank everyone for their imput.

whoopassonthebluegrass
12-28-2007, 11:28 AM
Here's a thought. High profile neighborhood + doctor... Did you know that most doctors live crazy high-consumption lifestyles and - as a result - can't work their finances worth a crap?

Read The Millionaire Next Door.

It could very well work out, but it's more likely that anyone who would accept that type of work in a nice area has financial issues...

These days nice things doesn't mean they're doing better - it just means they've accumulated more debt...

Icemanku
12-28-2007, 01:16 PM
The services agreement doesn't lock her into any specific time. I only state I agree to a certain job for this amount of pay. The services agreement can be terminate with a written notices. I read the posting on her and I'm concern about taking care of my business. And Hackitdown, I wanted your opinion on do I service this customer or not.

Then what is the point of a service agreement if it doesn't guarantee the work?

MUDFLAP
12-28-2007, 01:20 PM
Go cut the grass, if no pay, then dont go back,sounds like it may be a way to get your foot in the door, in an area you want to work. Ive only been in the biz 2 yrs, so i know i dont know it all, but i know when i see a chance to grow, sounds like your lookin at one.

MUDFLAP
12-28-2007, 01:39 PM
But i can see why some on here will tell you to get a signed agreement with set times and terms. If you are running 2 or 3 or more crews, you need to set a schedule for them, and dont need the drama of will she-wont she, or whatever, but you are not in that situation.you need to take some chances to get yourself up and running. Then hopefully someday you will be big enough for this to be a real issue.

Oldtimer
12-28-2007, 03:18 PM
You will learn that the majority of doctor's wives are like that. I put them in the same category as realtors during my 13 years as an LCO. About 15 years ago A doctor's wife told me 45.00 per hour was too much for a layman to charge. This was for an irrigation repair and I wanted to tell her that I was just like a doctor. I bury my mistakes too.

Oldtimer

robinsonr5018
12-28-2007, 06:28 PM
oldtimer, I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

B_gerrits
12-28-2007, 06:47 PM
I have never used a contract for lawn maintenance. Now,...for lawn CARE, we are required to by state law. But that is a whole different thing all together.

This may sound stupid what is the difference between lawn maint and lawn care?

B_gerrits
12-28-2007, 07:00 PM
I made my first bid on a residential customer. She accepted the bid but refuse to sign a services agreement or an annual contract. This my first account in the most prestiege community in the city. I didn't mention her husband is my childrens doctor and have known the couple for over 15 years. I don't think she would screw me but I'm worried. I need to mention, I went to do the estimate the day after her lco was out. He only mowed the backyard and didn't edge or trim. She's paying him for hedge trimming also, It look like the hedges haven't been trimmed in a while. Please give me your opinion, I appreciate everything I read and value the opinion of the ones with experience. Thank You. :):)

Most people here don't want to sign contracts. If the contract is a big deal to you then tell her you will agree only to a by service agreement which means you get paid each time you perform the job and you don't come back until you recieve payment (no contract no credit) The most you could ever be out is one service.

DiyDave
12-28-2007, 07:34 PM
Oldtimer- good response, but here's one that generally floors 'em. If you know what profession their husband is in, say... doctor, and they come up with this S**T about that being too much money, why my husband is a doctor(lawyer, banker, plumber etc), and he isn't making that much! Well then, you reply, "back years ago, when I was a doctor (lawyer, banker, plumber etc), I didn't make that much EITHER!:laugh::laugh:

bigclawnman
01-07-2008, 09:49 PM
Ill be honest. I dont blame her. To many LCO's around here want to act like they are preforming some life changing service when in reality they are just cutting grass.

Go over there, do a good job and get paid for it.

Save the contracts and service agreements for commercial jobs. Not piddly little houses.

Some of us little people need the piddly little houses under contract to ensure we get paid.

mdvaden
01-07-2008, 10:36 PM
If it's by the "job", then the risk is minimal.

I don't take signatures on one day projects of labor alone, unless law requires, like for a few.

But without signature, payment would have to occur after each segment.

If it was mowing, payment would not be allowed monthly, but weekly.

But if I was going to do something ongoing, there ain't no way I would not get a signature acknowledging the wage per hour and cost for materials.

IN2MOWN
01-08-2008, 08:48 AM
Some of us little people need the piddly little houses under contract to ensure we get paid.



You missed the point.

95% of my business is residential. 50% of those are the piddly houses. I take care of the little ones also.

My point was contracts are for commercial properties. If a residential customer sees a contract just to have his yard mowed then 9 out of 10 times they will look elsewhere.

Roger
01-08-2008, 09:00 AM
Some of us little people need the piddly little houses under contract to ensure we get paid.

...
If a residential customer sees a contract just to have his yard mowed then 9 out of 10 times they will look elsewhere.

Having a contract is no assurance you will get paid. Review the threads about non-payment for the past couple of years. Most involve those with contracts, "... I have a contract which says he/she must pay, ...." The piece of paper provides a false sense of security with regard to payments.

Agree, IN2MOWN, ... For the menial tasks of lawn mowing, trimming, mulching, etc., residential customers think unkindly of having a piece of paper to sign. The request to sign sends up a signal about an adversarial business relationship for these mundane tasks.

All the talk about contracts and service agreements for the menial and mundane tasks of lawn mowing, etc, is a vain attempt to raise the level of this work to something that it is not.

Icemanku
01-08-2008, 07:08 PM
Anyone want to show me what your contract looks like?

bigclawnman
01-09-2008, 04:00 PM
Anyone want to show me what your contract looks like?

Would be glad to show anyone my contract for my piddly houses.

IN2MOWN
01-09-2008, 06:30 PM
Would be glad to show anyone my contract for my piddly houses.



Wow, you just cant seem to get over this even after I explained what I meant by it.

Drag things out much?

bigclawnman
01-09-2008, 08:41 PM
Wow, you just cant seem to get over this even after I explained what I meant by it.

Drag things out much?

Was not really dragging anything out, trying to put a little humor into the situation. Whewwwwwwww:hammerhead:

Icemanku
01-10-2008, 01:11 AM
Anyone want to show me what your contract looks like?

Bueller?.............Bueller?...........................Bueller?

StihlGreen
01-10-2008, 10:23 AM
robinsonr5018.
I would personally take the job. It is your first job and you were fortunate enough to land someone you have known for so long. I would set up a payment plan with her and only service when she pays. If she doesnt pay, then drop her. Of course this is just my opinion. Good Luck.

Icemanku
01-10-2008, 11:47 AM
Anyone have a simplified version of this? (http://www.tampabaywater.org/documents/conservation/SampleContract.pdf)

miltthemower
01-10-2008, 12:21 PM
Move on to the next client. These type of clients are more troublesome than need be. If you could attain her as a client, there will be others.

You must keep in mind that you are running a business.