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Gmgbo
12-02-2010, 12:02 PM
Hi,
I have a 12 month snow/lawn maint. contract with a condo complex. April 2010-April 2011. Sept 24 i received a letter that they voted to cancel the snow portion of the contract.

To me it is a combined contract, can they cancel a portion. The reason they canceled was that they got a cheaper price, but the cancelation letter says nothing about that.

The contract was 1841.67 a month. Lawn=$9600 Snow= 12,500

What should I do?

memphis.landscape
12-02-2010, 03:12 PM
I would start charging them more for the lawn, and let them know the reason it is going up is because tou gave them a package deal.
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wbw
12-02-2010, 09:42 PM
I would start charging them more for the lawn, and let them know the reason it is going up is because tou gave them a package deal.
Posted via Mobile Device

Then he may not have either. I would talk with them and maybe match the price on the snow for this year only.

Roger
12-02-2010, 10:43 PM
....

The contract was 1841.67 a month. Lawn=$9600 Snow= 12,500

....

How did they know the breakdown? If that information was in the contract, then you had already split out the parts, giving them the freedom to make the separation. If these are your numbers only, then they wouldn't know how to break out the parts.

Gmgbo
12-03-2010, 07:39 AM
The price is broken down to fill in the blanks on the bid specs provided by the management company, if you dont break it down, you dont get the job.

Cant charge more in a one year contract, lawn work is over for the year.

It is one signed contract, can they break it for no reason, when contract says you need a reason and try to resolve a dispute. We have had zero complaints or disputes.

Roger
12-03-2010, 08:13 AM
The price is broken down to fill in the blanks on the bid specs provided by the management company, if you dont break it down, you dont get the job.

.....

By definition of how they required the pricing, they have already broken it out into two separate pieces.

Sorry, but your failure to require it as one package leaves you in the cold (warm?). Obviously, they knew what they were doing, they knew that requiring the breakdown allowed them to consider the two parts separately.

While not meaning to point fingers, your example demonstrates why LCOs are not good contract administrators, negotiators, or writers of contracts. LawnSite is filled with lawyer wanna-bes, those wanting to write their own contract and not utilize the services of those who understand contracts to protect the best interest of the LCO. The management company handles contracts every day. They do this on a routine basis, and have the experience to know how to write contracts to their benefit. Their position and leverage in the contract negotiations is far superior to that of anybody who knows how to choose a ZTR, maintain the machine, and cut straight stripes across a yard.

Gmgbo
12-03-2010, 09:58 AM
The title of the contract is landscaping and snowplowing contract. I am not a "want to be lawyer" just looking for some feedback. I barter with a lawyer, Im
waiting to meet with him right now about some other things, I will bring this up and see what he says, I'll let you know...
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Gmgbo
12-03-2010, 06:17 PM
Lawyer sent out a certified leter today giving 7 days for them to respond. He said they had no right to or cant cancel the contract. They will either give me the snowplowing back, or pay me the remaining balance minus what I would have paid for materials, fuel, drivers ect. So I will get my profit margin for free pretty much.

Lawyer said it is all one contract, it doesnt matter that prices are broken down, adding it all up and dividing by 12 makes it all inclusive.

Roger, is my lawyer incorrect? Where in PA do you practice law? LCO's may not be able to write contracts, but their lawyers sure can. :-)

Ill keep you posted

lawnman_scott
12-03-2010, 07:29 PM
Lawyer sent out a certified leter today giving 7 days for them to respond. He said they had no right to or cant cancel the contract. They will either give me the snowplowing back, or pay me the remaining balance minus what I would have paid for materials, fuel, drivers ect. So I will get my profit margin for free pretty much.

Lawyer said it is all one contract, it doesnt matter that prices are broken down, adding it all up and dividing by 12 makes it all inclusive.

Roger, is my lawyer incorrect? Where in PA do you practice law? LCO's may not be able to write contracts, but their lawyers sure can. :-)

Ill keep you posted

How much does your lawyer charge you for something like this? I had to get a lawyer for an issue once and can't see how so many people can afford to hire an attorney for relatively simple issues.

wbw
12-03-2010, 08:14 PM
Sure you can sue them. You may even win in court. But you won't work for them again. And they will talk bad about you at there property management association meetings to other property managers. Either do it for the other guys price or walk.

Unless you can prove damages by their breaking the contract you would probably lose in court. If you had to purchase specific specialized equipment for example.

Gmgbo
12-03-2010, 10:25 PM
Im not sure of the lawyer cost because I barter with him so it works out well.

I dont really care about cutting ties with the property manager because I dont do any other work for him. This property and another got transfered to him. The other property has an overdue balance of $1192.00 and cant understand why I refuse to renew the 2010-2011 snow contract.

The lawyer said if it comes down to recoving damages it will be the loss of income. A parking spot was secured for one of the skidsteers there. I bought a new skid plow for that so maybe I can seek something for that.

The B.O.D. didnt even ask me to match the price, I have never plowed for them before. The best part is they called 4 of the 8 references I provided to them. They switched dumpster companies to save $3 a month. Their current company gets out and picks up the garbage overflow, I have never seen a dumpster company do that.

Normally I dont do work for "price shoppers," but this year I took whatever work I could get and still make a profit. Im happy I contacted my lawyer, revenge of the "lawn guy" lol

M&SLawnCare
12-04-2010, 01:12 AM
Normally I dont do work for "price shoppers," but this year I took whatever work I could get and still make a profit. Im happy I contacted my lawyer, revenge of the "lawn guy" lol

The only problem with that is this business revolves around reputation with the better clients (sure you can go the lowest price war route, but you deal with all the penny pinchers then). Is the chance at winning and them paying the balance worth the trash talking you'll likely recieve in the business circles in your area? I'm not saying you should or shouldn't go after them, as only you can answer that. But think about "should" you go after them and not just "can" you go after them.

Gmgbo
12-04-2010, 07:54 AM
Im not sure if the trash talking will reach my normal target clients, but who knows. For the amout of money it is, I think its worth it.

The complex is about 55 units and its not flat. Each unit is about 1000sqft inside and are selling for about 50-60k per unit, if that gives you a better idea about the place

Roger
12-04-2010, 09:47 PM
To answer your question: No, I don't think what you were told was incorrect.

It is one thing to assemble a list of expenses you incurred in anticipation of the contract, and you may get a favorable court ruling (if it goes that path), but to collect, ....? If this business has many contracts in force, and have been working with contractors for years, they are skilled in how to deal with disputes. I'm doubting they would have taken the steps they did, without being very sure they could make it work through any legal entanglements. They write, negotiate, cancel, extend, amend, and otherwise work contracts on a daily basis.

Obviously, hindsight is great, but a simple amendment to their contract stating clearly the "bundle" nature of your bid would have eliminated any conflict. Without something explicit, perhaps they saw a way out to save themselves money.

No, I don't practice law. But, I drafted, negotiated and administered service contracts for 18 years. The value of those contracts exceeds any contract like this many, many times, and the consequences of failure were ominous. I worked closely with lawyers skilled in contract law, representing our company, as well as others who representing the customer. We put well over a thousand contracts in place. I have two close family members who have JD. They spent two semesters in law school covering contract law.

I was not suggesting you were a "wanna be." However, there are many threads with content telling others how to write a contract. If I understand correctly, you did not write the contract, but were asked to sign a contract of the customer. Many of those discussions are a joke because the parties involved have no idea what they are doing and the meaning of their actions. Who would have guessed that somebody who can make straight stripes across a yard with their ZTR can skip those two semesters of contract law education?

I have read a few posts (very few) that speak rightly to the issue, and it appears they have their positions properly covered.

I hope it works out for you, and you either get the contract back or some compensation. I do share the concern others have expressed about the negative talk that will transpire between this customer and other customers, or potential customers. Negative word spreads fast, and is hard to overcome (10:1 ratio).

Gmgbo
12-05-2010, 05:04 PM
The negative talk isnt good, but we will see what happens. Ill let you know

Stillwater
12-06-2010, 07:11 AM
Any real landscape and landscape maintenance contractor who genuinely does real commercial work, knows these following facts.

current trend is they are more and more providing their own contracts written by their lawyers and not always but often disregarding the contractors contracts leaving only room for line item negotiating.

"Line item billing only" I call it menu contracting this is a big one, commercial building ownership is a business just like yours their in it for income and investment you cannot run a business if you cannot control cost or predict cost. In this economy today more so than before, business's are operating on lower fixed cost they have to to stay liquid just like you do. line item billing or contracting gives the building owner thats operating on a often lower and lower budget the ability to choose what services are important to them they will seek out hold out and wait for a contractor willing to work with them. They will do this because their train of thought drifts to the notion that if a landscaper is not willing to work with them or help with ways to control their costs they don't consider you a viable business partner. This may be your case it is more likely they were not entirely pleased with your snow removal last year. because if they were truly happy with you and this is really a money thing they would have talked to you about ways to reduce their cost. going forward into the future Contractors viewed as ego driven and inflexible by their unwilling to work with them will be replaced at the drop of a hat and that fact you can take to the bank. Raising your other prices on them to make up for plowing will be shooting yourself in the face you must realize this right?. Replace the plow account or beat the other price by 5% and meet with the owner to discuss your remaining contract. or..... don't

Stillwater
12-06-2010, 07:19 AM
gmgbo i sent you a PM

Gmgbo
12-06-2010, 11:06 AM
I sent it back. I have never plowed this place before, and they didnt ask me if I can beat or match the new price.

I am fed up with this property manager, everytime a place I maintain gets transfers to him I lose it, I wish snowplowing accounts were easy to replace

lukemelo216
12-09-2010, 06:37 AM
ever hear back from them yet?

Gmgbo
12-09-2010, 08:52 AM
No but the certified leters have been received. If Im correct they have until tomorrow to respond.

LB1234
12-10-2010, 08:19 PM
Am I missing a key part here in that your contract/s do not have a cancelation policy of some sort in place? Basically states what happens if canceled, when/if you can cancel, etc.? My attorney made sure I placed this in my contracts.

Gmgbo
12-13-2010, 06:17 PM
All the cancelation policy says is Contractor needs to provide 60 days notice of cancelation, the contractor will be held responsible for damages occuring because of his failure to provide proper termination.

The property manager contacted my lawyer friday and asked for an extension. Says he needs to hold a special board meeting tonight and will let us know tomorow

shade tree landscaping
12-13-2010, 10:51 PM
you only have a cancellation clause covering if you cancel it? That rite there gives customer (residential or commercial) a huge out! Personally I think its time your lawyer friend writes you a seasonal agreement/contract

Gmgbo
12-14-2010, 07:31 AM
It can be interupted different ways, We will see what happens

Gmgbo
12-15-2010, 04:51 PM
the board asked if I could finish the snowplowing at the price the new guy was doing it for, I said no

LB1234
12-15-2010, 06:02 PM
the board asked if I could finish the snowplowing at the price the new guy was doing it for, I said no


nice....stick to your guns:gunsfirin:gunsfirin:gunsfirin

lukemelo216
12-16-2010, 02:37 PM
What was their response when you told them no?

Gmgbo
12-21-2010, 09:36 PM
The lawyer gave them 24 hours more to decide, and we never heard anything. The sheriff should be serving them the paperwork soon. utoh lol Im hoping for the best

Roger
12-22-2010, 08:12 AM
"... hoping for the best,..." What does that mean? Are you expecting compensation for having equipment to do the job? ... being compensated for the work, even though they have somebody else hired? These would be good outcomes.

Or, are you expecting to regain your position as the hired contractor? If so, your working relationship would be strained, just a tad. Would you want to work under these conditions? Maybe so,... don't know.

CLARK LAWN
12-22-2010, 09:23 AM
The only problem with that is this business revolves around reputation with the better clients (sure you can go the lowest price war route, but you deal with all the penny pinchers then). Is the chance at winning and them paying the balance worth the trash talking you'll likely recieve in the business circles in your area? I'm not saying you should or shouldn't go after them, as only you can answer that. But think about "should" you go after them and not just "can" you go after them.

and this is the reason that people try to screw us over all the time. i had a guy try to cheat me out of about 3K from an install job. he told me i had 2 choices,1.eat the loss or 2 take him to court, which i would win but he would smear my name all over town and i wouldnt be able to get any work. i did take him to court and won and i also found out that he does this to most contractors that work for him( he's a developer) he owes some of them over 100K.

when they do it enough it comes back to bite them i'm still getting work and he cant get any reputable contractors to work for him

Stillwater
12-22-2010, 09:42 AM
The lawyer gave them 24 hours more to decide, and we never heard anything. The sheriff should be serving them the paperwork soon. utoh lol Im hoping for the best

serving them paperwork ?

ReddensLawnCare
01-08-2011, 12:35 PM
Heard anything yet? I had a similar situation and am waiting to see how it works for you. GOOD LUCK!