View Full Version : Sample Contract
04-03-2003, 08:21 PM
To all of those who have more experience in this business than myself. This is my contract for residential accounts. I need some suggestions anything that should be added or deleted! Criticizm is welcome.
04-03-2003, 08:32 PM
Get thirty days. My commercial contract is four pages! It is very detailed and provides for early cancellation. Yours is great for homeowners. But CYA on the commercial contracts.
04-03-2003, 11:04 PM
Lawncaresuccess has a great contract. It is really put together well. We use it and have not had a problem at all.:)
04-05-2003, 07:45 PM
113 downloads, and 2 people have comments. It's not like I am trying to get something for nothing here guys! Give me some feedback, good or bad. If anyone has a sample of their contract, I would like to see it. IrishHank@msn.com. Thanks!
04-05-2003, 08:28 PM
Irish - feedback: it's not a bad contract - looks like it would do the job for 95% of the bids. Maybe a little short - but hey, like I said it should do the job 95% of the time. Short and sweet - if it's working for you, go with it. I don't have any major probs with it. If a customer wants a little more detailed or expanded contract, you've got lots of room to write that in. It looks fine.
04-05-2003, 09:02 PM
++++113 downloads, and 2 people have comments. It's not like I am trying to get something for nothing here guys! Give me some feedback, good or bad. If anyone has a sample of their contract, I would like to see it++++
If Florida has the same grasses that I see here in North Texas, I would think that the Bermuda & St Augustine will go dormant during the winter. Unless you're far enough south that it doesn't go dormant.
I strongly considered a contract along these lines, but decided against it in the end. This contract/billing set up provides you with a lot of protection against the "just skip me this time" phones calls. However, I assumed that many residential customers would call to cancel the service when the grasses entered dormancy. Each time that happened, I'd not only be losing a customer, but I would have cut myself short on the weekly mowings by not getting enough money per mow during the 100 degree summers.
If you're far enough south that the grass doesn't go dormant, I would think you'll be ok with most customers, though there is still a risk that they may attempt to cancel after the weekly service is over and all they need is bi-weekly service for the next few months. You're getting a lot more per mow in the winter than you are in the summer. If all LCO's played the game the same way, you'd be fine. But there are cheap customers in this world who will save a buck every chance they get. A cheap minded customer may be tempted to find an LCO that charges by the mow, rather than by the month, come next November. I'd be concerned that you are giving your cheaper customers a reason to leave your service in the winter and you're working too hard to get them as customers and keep them happy in the first place.
The other possible solution would be to do some sort of average billing, like the electric companies are doing. Basically, you write up a contract just as you have it, but if they cancel at the end of the summer, you send them a huge bill for service performed but not yet billed. Problem is, if you do that, you'll once again be providing incentive for the customer to call in the morning during drought conditions to say "skip me this time".
Alternatively, if you made the contract a one year term, I would think you'd be protected from the cheap skates. But then you'd have to battle with the customers who are too afraid to sign a long term contract. And I think that would be even worse, since for most customers, this service is a luxury expense. This is a totally discretionary use of income for most home owners.
I decided to set my contracts up on a per mow basis. But now, I can already see that I'll be battling the 'skip me this time' customers all summer when it's dry. So I'm revising my contracts such that they initial next to a sentence that states "If Customer Elects To Skip A Scheduled Mowing Due To Any Reason, Customer Will Be Billed For Regular Mowing That Week Even Though No Services Were Performed." In an earlier paragraph, my order form says "Weekly mowings from late March through mid-November." I think this will fly with customers. I probably don't want the customers who are objectionable to this anyway. But there is a certain amount of pressure for a customer to sign up when you're on their lawn talking to them about your service. Especially when the lawn needs mowing really bad and the weeds are knee high. When you're in this situation, believe it or not, you've got some leverage.
I made my contract more like an order form than a scope of work. I wish I could post it and get feedback from others, but it isn't in Word, so even if I did post it, no one would have the necessary software to open it.
One last thing: I would consider changing the cancellation requirements from verbal to written. I think it would provide you with more protection from the dead beats. I just know that eventually, you'll have some guy who won't pay and he'll say "I told you to cancel back on such and such a date". In my former life (telecom), we saw this all the time. Your defense, in court (if it ever comes to that) would be to say "Please show the court a copy of your cancellation letter." When a customer is cancelling, what do you care if it isn't super-duper easy for them anyway? And I promise, no one is going to refuse your service because of a written cancellation requirement. After all, you're out there mowing their friggin' lawn in 100 degree heat...it's not asking to much for them to send you a written notice that you've been fired.
By the way, one of my friends is an attorney and he thinks that if the customer doesn't pay, I can get a lien on his property here in Texas. It's not a mechanics lien, but some sort of artisans lien or something. So far, everyone has paid me. But I know it's a matter of time till I get stiffed.
04-05-2003, 10:48 PM
I'm going to try to attach my contract for you to see. I scanned it into JPEG format. Hope this works.
I appreciate any comments on what I'm doing right/wrong with this contract. Each time I print it, it's costing $43.
04-06-2003, 12:52 AM
Looks O.K. to me. I have the paragraph below in mine in case they are thinking about not paying.
In the event of default, the client agrees to reimburse Gesnerís Lawn Care & Landscaping, LLC all administrative costs, collection costs, attorney fees, recording fees and/or court costs. Client further agrees to pay a $20.00 fee for each check returned from the bank for any and all reasons.
04-06-2003, 12:06 PM
OK. The system won't let me attach the JPEG because it's over 640 X 640. I'll try again with an insert of the JPEG into MS Word:
04-06-2003, 12:10 PM
Ok. Here it is again. I need feedback from others on this board who have experience. This is the thrid revision of my contract. What should I be doing differently with regards to my contract? What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong?
Thanks in advance,
04-12-2003, 09:11 PM
This is my contract....well something similar.
04-20-2003, 07:33 PM
Lawncaresuccess has a great contract. It is really put together well. We use it and have not had a problem at all.
I'd like to take a look...you wouldn't happen to have a link to it would you?
04-20-2003, 11:47 PM
There are some good comments now.
I'd for sure add more time to the notice of cancellation clause.
I'd include the $25.00 per returned check charge.
I'd take out the reimbursement for services not rendered at cancellation, if they're cancelling. If you cancel, sure, but if they cancell they should be wise enough to time the cancellation with the time they wont be needing your services anymore.
You need WAY more protection for commercial contracts, this will work for residential though.
FYI, I only looked at the original post.
04-20-2003, 11:51 PM
You're giving them to long to pay as well. 30 day's is way to long, you're giving money away. Does the gas station give you 30 day's to pay for your gas? What about if you run out of string trimmer line, does the supplier give you a month to pay after you take it out of their store?
Send out invoices on the 28th and require payment by the 10th. Stop service on the 10th and send a letter. Start charging interest on the 15th.
04-24-2003, 11:35 PM
Ditto........Due on arrival
04-28-2003, 11:10 PM
Way too little detail!!!! Need to be much more specific.
Figure your total annual cost on the 42 VISITS per year (not necessarily cuts!!). Then divide by 12 to get the monthly billing amount to the customer. DO NOT include the per CUT price in your SERVICE AGREEMENT, ( customers don't like contracts). What happens in January if you only run the edger around and don't actually mow what is not growing???? Is the customer going to want a discount that month??? Explain to the customer that the pricing is based upon APPROXIMATELY 42 VISITS (not necessarily cuts) per year depending on weather, etc. and that the monthly bill will always be constant (no surprises in July when you mow 5 times, or whatever).
Also charge $50.00 if a check is returned for ANY reason. Bill on the 1st of the service month. Give them til no later than the 7th of the following month or whenever you choose for them to pay. You'll be surprised at how may customers actually pay early.
If you want more help with this email me and I will send you a copy of my contract.
Also suggest that you purchase Bill Phagan's book on writing a green industry contract. Worth EVERY $.01 you will pay for it. Also suggest attending some of his classes and seminars.
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