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dmkosko
11-09-2009, 11:14 PM
Start up landscaping company looking to gain more knowledge of the industry. I'm not looking to steal anyone's information, but can someone post an example of their mowing contract that they give to their customer to sign before the season? I'm just trying to get an idea of what SHOULD and what SHOULDN'T be in there. Thanks, it is much appreciated

SangerLawn
11-10-2009, 05:55 AM
Most of us don’t use contracts on residential lawns. If you are knew to the industry your probably not going to get any commercial work.

dmkosko
11-10-2009, 02:08 PM
As a follow up, what stops your customer from calling you one day during the summer and saying, "We no longer need your services" and that's it.

SangerLawn
11-10-2009, 10:04 PM
you doing better work then the next guy

Dave_005
11-11-2009, 10:34 PM
As a follow up, what stops your customer from calling you one day during the summer and saying, "We no longer need your services" and that's it.

Thats part of the Job, all you can do is let your work speak for you, residential customers will cancel if your work is substandard, if you dont show up on the scheduled day, they may get laid off at work and need to save money, or they may simply decide to switch to someone cheaper if its for this reason either they are a pita and you dont want them.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
11-13-2009, 01:50 AM
Thats part of the Job, all you can do is let your work speak for you, residential customers will cancel if your work is substandard, if you dont show up on the scheduled day, they may get laid off at work and need to save money, or they may simply decide to switch to someone cheaper if its for this reason either they are a pita and you dont want them.

Yep, you can't stop resi customers from canceling for any reason at all. A contract will not prevent this, in fact best of luck trying to get customers to sign binding contracts locking them in for a full season.

I prefer to use an 'agreement', more for spelling out what I expect of customers (clean up dog crap, pay on time, don't call saying "don't come this week"), and less for the legal end of things.

LB1234
11-13-2009, 10:53 AM
that's BS that you can't have binding contracts for lawn care.

for those stating that "most" company's don't use contracts for residential customers be careful...when that residential customer skips town or refuses to pay then you have basically zero recourse to go after your rightfully earned money....I'm speaking from experience. However, if you have a legally binding contract, service agreement, email or whatever else it is still a contract. Legally a handshake is a contract if two party's agree on something...problem is it usually turns into a he said she said and the court of law or litigator of some kind determines the outcome of said contract.


anyhow....here a some of the sections in my contract:

Contractor name/contact info
Customer name/contact info
Worksite location/contact info
some legal jargon about said party's agreeing to below terms
scope of work
duration of work
payment terms (when, how, where...consequences for non-payment)
additional work costs
some other legal jargon stating that person signing is personally responsible for contract AND is legally responsible for all applicable payments
limitation of liability

this should give you a good start. I paid my attorney 300 or so to review my contract and add in the proper terminology. So far due to this contract I have not had to go to court...I feel the contract helps.

AzLawnMan
11-13-2009, 11:44 AM
Contracts with residential customer are really not even worth it. I have around 120 year round residential customers, none of which I have contracts with. But most of them have been with me for years. Even if you did convince a customer to sign a "contract" and they fire you mid-month, you really gonna take them to court for $100? Trust me, I am the first person who seeks revenge when I get stiffed, but you chalk it up as a loss and let the accountant do his job. On the other hand all my Commercial clients do have a 30 day contract, but even that doesnt mean anything. Them I will take to court and usually win. But its still a headache. Its part of our industry. By the way my contract is 4 pages long and covers, lawn, shrubs, plants & flower prices, trees, sprinkler repair and a couple of stipulations that I have.

Kennedy Landscaping
11-13-2009, 02:37 PM
I've been thinking about a contract for a few people that bring me good money but can be a real pita about getting that said money to me.

lukemelo216
11-13-2009, 03:59 PM
I just do an agreement. similar to what LB and DA said. Just giving the addresses of both parties, scope of work, payment, repercussions, etc. I also put in there that either party may for any reason cancel this agreement with 10 days written notice. Everyone hasnt had a problem with that at all. They like it because it lets them know what we ask of them and what they should expect from us.

g21
11-15-2009, 09:43 PM
I am in favor of having maintenance agreements even for residentials. But they should be very simple, one-page agreements. All you need is the services you will be providing, the time period in which you will be providing them and the frequencies. Just be clear on what you will be providing and when you will be doing it. And of course - the price. I have however included for you down below a very important paragraph that you should include in all agreements. What this paragraph does for you is protects you against a customer hiring you in April, having you install mulch or doing cleanup work that you may be spreading out over the contract period. If they fire you before the contract is up, payment for that work needs to be paid. Many contractors lose a lot of money because they do not have the proper language in their agreements.

Good Luck.
Tommy


The parties agree that either party may terminate this agreement with cause upon 30 days written notice to the other party. Upon termination of this contract, all prorated monies for services that have already been rendered shall become immediately due and payable.

dmkosko
11-15-2009, 10:18 PM
thanks everyone for all the information and input. it is greatly appreciated

ponyboy
11-16-2009, 11:38 AM
it is as legal contract i have them signed by almost all of my customers except for one that i have had for over 20 years
it should state if a problem arives in service it needs to be reported to you and that you have x amount of days to fix it of you can be fired. i also state a certified mail stating reason of termination and once i have it it takes i billing cycle to end usually 30 days
I never have had a problem treat them like they are a small commerical place

MarkintheGarden
11-16-2009, 07:35 PM
I've been thinking about a contract for a few people that bring me good money but can be a real pita about getting that said money to me.

I do have agreements with many of my customers. But for customers like you are talking about, I simply charge more for services and just wait. If you are providing an estimate first, you should get 50% before services, and you can
charge late fees.

I find sometimes if it is a customer that that is willing to pay what I consider premium prices, and I can rely on them pay albeit sometimes slowly, I just let them pay at their own pace. I find these are sometimes the best customers to upsell, by offering more services, and sometimes when they pay more, they pay more promptly.

So when I get a customer who pays at a snail's pace, I just think that it means that I am not charging him enough and I am not doing enough for him. So I start by calling him up and suggesting services at high prices and I often get the work. If not I often get an apology for the late payment and soon get the payment that I had been waiting for.