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familylawncare
09-23-2009, 03:10 PM
Thought I had heard almost everything, but evidentally not! Have a customer with a signed contract for installation of new lawn. As is customary in our business, he paid 1/2 down with balance to be due after installation. Work was completed with no problem, we sent billing, now he says he is not paying until I give him written "guarantee" on lawn. Needless to say in the 15 years we have been doing this never had this mentioned. As I told the customer our word should suffice. My feeling is that the signed contract spells out payment terms and what happens when you do not pay.
Just wondered if anyone else has had this experience and what in the world can I do to placate customer.

phasthound
09-23-2009, 06:55 PM
Thought I had heard almost everything, but evidentally not! Have a customer with a signed contract for installation of new lawn. As is customary in our business, he paid 1/2 down with balance to be due after installation. Work was completed with no problem, we sent billing, now he says he is not paying until I give him written "guarantee" on lawn. Needless to say in the 15 years we have been doing this never had this mentioned. As I told the customer our word should suffice. My feeling is that the signed contract spells out payment terms and what happens when you do not pay.
Just wondered if anyone else has had this experience and what in the world can I do to placate customer.

That's a new one on me. What were the terms of the signed contract? Did they limit your liability to services rendered?

I would talk to the customer and ask him what caused him to ask for the guarantee at this point of the process? From there, I would let them know that you performed all services that were agreed upon, however if you are not in control of irrigation and fertilization, you are under no obligation to guarantee germination and long term success.

Take a personal approach and find out what his concerns are and then proceed with how you are able to meet those concerns.

Stillwater
09-23-2009, 07:01 PM
That's a new one on me. What were the terms of the signed contract? Did they limit your liability to services rendered?

I would talk to the customer and ask him what caused him to ask for the guarantee at this point of the process? From there, I would let them know that you performed all services that were agreed upon, however if you are not in control of irrigation and fertilization, you are under no obligation to guarantee germination and long term success.

Take a personal approach and find out what his concerns are and then proceed with how you are able to meet those concerns.


Good advice....................

Hanau
09-23-2009, 07:10 PM
What's the word I'm thinking of? When somebody holds your money until you do what they say?

There's definetely a word for it.

Hmmmm...

Oh yeah! Extortion!

Extortion is bad, mmmkay?

Don't let your customer extort you. Exercise your contractual rights and powers. Get your money.

How is your contract written? At what point do you move into liening the property and suing to foreclose? What are your late fees and pealties? How is your collections timeline structured?

What is the Illinois statute on filing a lien? Foreclosing on a lien?

Have you done a records check to find out who holds the note on your customers mortgage? Often sending them a Notice of Intent to Lien (if it gets that far) will be enough to get your customer to pay. There's a reason it's called credit hell.

By all means, try to work it out civil. Have a plan to collect in place, be prepared to execute that plan.

Walk softly, carry a big stick.

Nobody screws me out of my money.

familylawncare
09-23-2009, 07:20 PM
Thanks for the good advice. Contract essientially called for installation of lawn , how much topsoil to be added, how we were to till area, specified types of seed and called for straw to cover area. Said he would pay 1/2 down, and other half at work completion. Since we "completed" work the middle of last week, I have sent crews back twice, once to pickup a few twigs in yard, and secondly to add another 1/2 ton of topsoil where it did not need. I ate the cost on this. After I posted thread earlier today, he called to say we were ripping him off by not guaranteeing work. I told him that I wanted him to be satisfied with work and we address any legitimate concerns......but could not provide writtern guarantee for grass as several factors were beyound our control. His next words were "see you in court". I am sending crew back,as well as going along to see if we can appease him. Don't think anything can make him happy.

Hanau
09-23-2009, 07:26 PM
How did you word the scope of work?

You need to be specifically vague.

For example:

Use XX (+/- 10%) yards of topsoil to level yard to industry standards.

Install X,XXX (+/- 10%) sq. ft. of sod to industry standards.

Leave jobsite in a broomswept condition. Perform all work to accepted industry standards.

That's how you write a specifically vague scope of work. Too specific and the customer will have leverage. Not specific enough and you won't have any leverage.

phasthound
09-23-2009, 08:45 PM
Thanks for the good advice. Contract essientially called for installation of lawn , how much topsoil to be added, how we were to till area, specified types of seed and called for straw to cover area. Said he would pay 1/2 down, and other half at work completion. Since we "completed" work the middle of last week, I have sent crews back twice, once to pickup a few twigs in yard, and secondly to add another 1/2 ton of topsoil where it did not need. I ate the cost on this. After I posted thread earlier today, he called to say we were ripping him off by not guaranteeing work. I told him that I wanted him to be satisfied with work and we address any legitimate concerns......but could not provide writtern guarantee for grass as several factors were beyound our control. His next words were "see you in court". I am sending crew back,as well as going along to see if we can appease him. Don't think anything can make him happy.

Well there are a few people who are unreasonable. You have tried to address his concerns. At this point I would contact my attorney.

whoopassonthebluegrass
09-23-2009, 08:57 PM
Use this as an opportunity to get more work. Write it up with terms that show how YOU are going to monitor the sprinklers, how YOU are going to fertilize it - and how much YOU are going to charge to do these things.

Chances are, you'll either get more $$$ out of him or he'll back down.

grandview (2006)
09-23-2009, 09:46 PM
Tell them you gave him the brake light guarantee!

ICT Bill
09-24-2009, 08:27 AM
I have a guarantee for him
If he does not keep the property watered properly for the next 2 weeks I guarantee that it will fail

Now that's a guarantee

Smallaxe
09-24-2009, 09:25 AM
Don't throw good money after bad. Get the crews back to work on paying jobs, and talk to this guy personally. Then talk to the neighbors, and of course alert the other LOCs that he's a rippoff.

familylawncare
09-24-2009, 05:10 PM
This has got me rethinking wording of our agreement. does anyone have suggestions as to how it should be. Can you email to familylawncare@live.com. thanks for any help!

DA Quality Lawn & YS
09-25-2009, 12:11 AM
Tough one.....

I personally don't guarantee lawn overseeding (existing lawns, I do not install new lawns)- #1 reason is the customer will not water in a timely manner. I aerate, slit overseed, sometimes compost topdress, and do starter fert but that is where I leave off. Invoice states "no guarantee".

anotherturfgeek
09-26-2009, 12:33 PM
Call your attorney. If there is no garuantee in your contract he is screwed. I would go with a collections first as most people don't like there credit messed up

Creative1
09-26-2009, 05:01 PM
Man, do I hate these situations. And if you've never been in them, then soon enough you will find yourself there.
You can usually have your attorney draft and send them a letter for around $150. Most of the time, this is all you need to get your money. Most people that do this are banking on the fact you will not pursue the matter.
I absolutely hate conflict, but unfortunately in the world we live, there will always be people that do not want to uphold their end of the bargain. And if you let them put the screws to you. Then, IMO, expect to have it happen again. If for no other reason to pursue it, you don't want a reputation of anyone can tell you whether they are going to pay or not. I do all my jobs 110%, so if this kind of situation happens, it is simply a customer not wanting to pay for services rendered. And this is too hard of work and too much time away from family for that crap!!
Here's an idea......:hammerhead:....Maybe try this and let us know how it works....hee hee!
Wish you the best!!