View Full Version : Cancellation of services in mid contract

09-20-2002, 09:14 PM
This question is simaler to Premo Service's thread"contract problem". Here is a hypothetical situation I thought of that I can't really find an answer for, maybe you guys can help. Say for instance I have a $600.00 contract that is broken up into 12 monthly payments of $50.00. The contract could go from Jan. to Jan. or from April to April or whatever. They are one year contracts. So I start service in early March with 2 mowing that month. Then in April to June I crank it up to every 10 days or once a week depending on how healthy the lawn is and all the while I am getting only $50.00 a month. Then lets say the customer decides to move or maybe they decide that they simply want to let it grow head high. For what ever reason they want out of the contract. What do you do? You have been coming by 3 or 4 times a month and getting $50.00 a month, counting on the fact that those checks would be coming in the summer drought and in the winter too. I am sure you guys have delt with people trying to get out of thier contracts. Please shed some light on this senario and mabye some other ones that are simaler. Thank you very much for your responses and please do not rip on me for being to cheap with my prices, again they are hypothetical.

09-20-2002, 09:43 PM
No I have never used contracts before but would like to make the switch starting in 2003 if that helps your posts at all.

09-20-2002, 09:48 PM
I run my contracts from November to November.

Any summer pick ups that i get along the way are pay as service is done. In November they can join the elite with set monthly payments.

09-20-2002, 10:14 PM
If they are on a contract then there should be no question about it .Take them to court .Im am currently 3-0 in the court system with dead-beat non compliant customers .I dont know know what kind of paramaters you set in your contracts up there , but mine simply state that service connot be cancelled after the months of 7-8 and 9 have been completed (July, August,September)Like I said I have been challenged and I have never lost. Its not that I have a good attorney ,but I have a very good contract that states everything that is expeceted of a customer . If you want to E-Mail me and I will send you A Copy of my contract that you can use.

09-20-2002, 10:30 PM
the few i have are on full plan contract . they decent folk. wasnt for that there would be those that would wait untill the weeding an seeding are done an cancel.
ill have one sometime,and deal with it whatever i think will be the most effective way. several options one would be breach ,but then u got to prove, what hes gonna say about how sorry your service was,aint true.in this area everybody use to know who to watch out for. but theres a lotto brassy people moving here now.
in the last 5yrs. ive had 2 people beat me an get away with it. one was a woman,notice i didnt say lady. the other a guy pulled a gun. only 25 so i decided
not to die or go to jail about it.
did tell a deputy friend ,i thought the guy pulled his gun out to easy and was gonna shoot somebody,cause he only pulls it if hes scared. and a scared man will shoot u. about 25 dollars no less. takes all kinds

09-20-2002, 10:34 PM
take the ****** to court and slap on 1000 extra for late
fees attorney paper work interest and hell settle out of court
if hes smart.

Im 1-0 and didnt mine the problem cause i charged him for
everything i did at 35 an hr. phone calls, court fees etc

Randy Scott
09-20-2002, 10:58 PM
You should have a base price of what each mowing should cost. That obviously is where you arrived at your total contract price for the season. Take the times you have cut so far and multiply that by your per mowing charges. Say you cut ten times into the season at $50, that's $500. That's what the customer would owe so far. Just let them out of it and be on your way. This scenario doesn't happen often and just move on. Why waste your time going to court and you'll still end up looking like the bad guy. Big deal, people want out let them go. Situations arise.

Fantasy Lawns
09-20-2002, 11:49 PM
so we can not let a customer out of a contract if they are not happy ... (hard to prove .... what "happy is")

Again this is a hypothetical situation .... say you are the consumer .. you sign a contract for ..... pool service (out side of our scope) the contract presents that they will do this or that to provide a clean pool .... as a customer you are not happy with your pool ... I must still pay for this service ???

why ?? I go to a food place n order a platter which is not as described n I must pay ??

I agree to a lawn service which say we will provide 42 cuts n are only given 41 .... is the contract binding .... or it says "weekly edging of ALL beds" n the one bed way in back which no one sees or even can't tell was edge .... yet wasn't .... is binding ??

Please ..... we provide a service .....with a contract ...which has a 30 day exit aggreement ( this is what a pro would do) ... if the customer is not happy ..... so be it ....when creating a contract it is based on a certain # of visits per year ... the price will be based on those visits .... where have you lost $$$ ??? if they are up to payment upon cancellation

In this hypothetical situation .... charging $50 per cut over 10 visits ..... say you only got to cut 6 times n recieved $300 ... you still recieved what you need to get paid fore the per visit .... where is the breach ??

not to bust anyone's chop's .... but I don't sweat cancels .... n I have "contracts" with ALL my accounts

09-21-2002, 12:11 AM
I am sure I would not have any issues with this 99% percent of the time. I am just trying to protect myself in the best way possible against the 1% percenter that goes"thanks for the low payments because the total cost was strechted out over 12 months, and it sure was nice watching you mow 4-5 times a month for that low payment of $xxxx. Now that the grass is dead, oh I mean I'm not happy I want out, see ya" I am trying to find the best way to deal with that situation, that is all. Really trying to pick your brains on this one. I do not want to be on this site trying to get a fix to the problem when it is a reality and not a hypothetical question.

Fantasy Lawns
09-21-2002, 12:31 AM
n your right to have a reason to be concerned .... because you will run in to these type ....I don't or we don't have to like it ...our only coarse is to provide service ..... build .... learn to spot these types ......

it may sound weird .... but when I bid on a resi site (comm even so) I look at the whole picture .... is the car (s) up kept ... is the home neat ... do things look "put off" ... is ther trash in the beds ...broken glass ....cig butt in the yard ...is the site look clean n neat .... customer look me in the eye .... what does the other yards look like

I've been burned .... n no I did not like it .... but what can one do ....take em to court .....my time is valuable ..... granted if it's down n out rigged I'll make my mine clear to them .... but I've yet to take a party to court ??? ...I pay attention to the areas I have work .... I stay in touch with the other LCO's .... they will tell you if they have had that person n they are a PITA .... I know if I had em n I see some one there later I'll stop by to "chat"

On installs I get depoists along with work completion .... on monthly maintenance I let em know when late .... on these types as the come ... I try en not let them "rent space in my head"

I will say .... n I'm sure you'll learn the best customer is a "refferred one" .... good payers whom send you others are thumbs up the best advo .... this ONLY comes from good realiable consistent service ... n time out in the field ..... truely I have found in the long run most customers are honest ....not to say you will not get burned ..... even years later

Randy Scott
09-21-2002, 03:35 AM
This isn't that complicated or big of a deal. Just put in a clause that says anytime this contract is cancelled before the prescribed term has ended, all payments will be applied towards services performed to date and any remaining costs for services will be due upon written cancellation. Something to that effect. Only thing is that your proposal better have what each service and/or visit actually costs the customer. If you just fire out a lump sum to cut their lawn for the year, you have no ground to stand on to say X amount of cuts equal Y. In our area my contracts say the growing season is 26 weeks at X amount of dollars and that is what they pay over 7 months. If we run short, great for me, if over, great for them, but at least I have a per cut amount that I could collect for at any time they or I decide to end this contract. I think it's really hard to try and cover every scenario but it doesn't hurt to get everyones input.

09-21-2002, 05:35 AM
like i stated in another thread, my contracts are timed so that i am always about 2 months ahead. so if by chance they want to cancel, we cant get burned. also states upon cancelation, no refunds will be issued./

Premo Services
09-21-2002, 09:51 AM
Actually, this just happened to me. I had a few habitiual late payers and decided its not going to be this season.
I sent contracts to them with the price per cut, total amount for season and price per month for 10 months. In the terms I double underlined the whole paragraph. One customer that was real bad, never called and the lawns were starting to grow well. I said if he don't take the contract , ME NO MOW !!! Well like a dumb *****, I called him and asked if he was going to accept my proposal". He said that he was "just getting ready to call me to accept at the same time as I called him.Yea right.
For the first two payments he actually paid within a week of me sending them. The next payment was later than the date, but I decided that he paid in the same month as the invoice was written. Well then all hell broke lose. I didn't get a payment and when it was the beginning of next month, I wrote a nasty letter and said I was tired of his habitial late payments, and have stopped cutting lawn, and would not until the problem was resolved. All I really wanted was the money he owed me from the beginning of the season, then I would cash the check and drop the pos. Two weeks went by and no response from him. I called him and he was pissed that would have the nerve to write him a letter saying that I would not cut anymore, and charge late fees, etc. I was actually able to hold my temper and be professional. Then the $hit hit the fan!!!! He started telling me that the lawn did not need cutting and he would not pay for the times that he thought it didn't need to be cut.:eek:
I told him that it needed to be cut and I cut it. and he owes the money. I had a real hard time not to get real unprofessional during this but did quite well. I gave him a week to pay orI would sent a cert. registered letter with copy of contract, etc., stating he had a week and it would go to collections. A week went by and the day I sent the letter my check was in the mail. HE IS HISTORY!!!!! And a happy ending to a story.
sorry for the long post also.:D

09-21-2002, 10:07 AM
This is when you have to be stern. They have an obligation to still pay, whether they want out of the contract or not. You can average up the cuts and base them on how many you feel you would have been doing and then throw a cancellation fee on to boot.

The Mowerdude
09-21-2002, 10:08 AM
Why should we make all the monthly payments, outlined in the contract, equal? By that I mean, if the contract is for one year and starts in March when you've just met a new customer, why not have the payments for March, April, May and June be larger. Then when July arrives, we could prorate things down a little and in the winter they could be very low.

After all, when we offer contracts, we're supposed to be trying to help folks budget their mowing in with their light, gas, house notes and other monthly bills. But what we're really doing is going into the banking business. Therefore, it seems to me that if we're going to extend credit, we need a show of good faith.

It seems like I heard a saying one time that said: "It's hard to pay for a loaf of bread, once it's eaten."

Once the growing season stops, folks really lose their sense of urgency in a hurry. Especially with Christmas on the horizon. I can't see that many people paying for the past season's mowing if the money is tight and they're convinced that they just have to have a bigger Christmas than the previous year.

On the other hand, if the monthly payment for March, April, May and June were large enough that the LCO owed the customer cuts instead of the other way around, it would be a lot easier for the customer to handle payments into the winter. They'd be much lower. It would also really help the LCO's cashflow at a critical time, Spring.

09-21-2002, 12:36 PM
Steve has "hit the nail on the head"!!!

Its very simple when you are talking about a contract. You are averaging out the cost of your services over a specified period of time. Even if you were only talking about a Lawn Agreement over a 9 month time span, you still shouldnt lose any moneys owed to you.

Your payments would be an average of 4 cuttings per month, and the only way to lose money would be if they refuse to pay. Then it should be a matter of re-couping your legal fees (which should be n your agreement as well) along with any moneys owed to you for completed services.

If they or you are not happy with the service, both need an option to cancel. What about the other side of the coin. If you find out that you have drastically under bid, and its costing you money to service the account - should you still have to pay out of pocket because you didnt know all your costs coming into the game???

I hope not -LOL!!!

09-21-2002, 02:28 PM
All my contracts state that if the customer releases me before the contract expires for any reason other than non-performance then they owe me the remainder of the contract. Been sued twice won both.

Fantasy Lawns
09-21-2002, 03:43 PM
We must be slow down south cause that type of service just would no fly down here .... we would need a northern lawyer to win that case in court .... I can see it now

"Your Honor .... we just want our $$ for the length of the contract n not do the work of the contract" .... oooo ...OK .... ya right !

or maybe this one ...."Your Honor .... we are doing the work outlined in the contract .... we sent the Lawn Police out there n they rated our work AAA"

Does one really want to go to court ?? to even try n prove what non performance really is ??? who going to say the work is not up to par .... who's going to say the work is as outlined ....

I just don't see it ....who needs it ..... go to court ....sorry not for me ....not related to monthly payments .....related to a landscape install OK .... related to clean up, mulch, flower install OK .... yes ...yes ....yes ....but than we take depoist installs as work progressess

Someone does not like our monthly work .... we move on ....go to court ....I'm sorry ....I may be missing something but Court is not on my list of "things to do"

We have a 30 day exist clause which further states

" Upon Cancellation Compensation for All Services will be pro-rated in conjunction with the work performed between First & Last Day of Service Agreement. "