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Firstclasslawn
09-03-2004, 12:50 AM
Ok I know you guys are going to ream me because I do not have contracts, However I am new in the business and I have 29 accounts weekly, NOW here is my question, I sometimes will have a customer call me and say HEY go ahead and skip me this thursday because I do not have any money or they will just say hey go ahead and skip me and not give a reason, well as you all might know FIRST of all I dont have enough accounts to be picky and say well you know what find someone else, and at the same tim as you might know, I rely on those checks to survive, so what would you do in taht situation, I mean think about it ---what if 5 of my customers did that in one week, I would be hurting, so what should I do or say to them, I feel like if I let it go then they will make a habit out of it, also can anyone be so kind as to e-mail me an example of an agreement or a yearly contract PLEASE PLEASE it would be such a help to this newcomer, and just so you know I am insured and have the right equipment and the right attitude so you would not be giving an example to a total scrub, I also do NOT lowball, My minimum is $35 per cut, any help will be much appreciated, Thank you in adavance

lawnwizards
09-03-2004, 12:55 AM
the best thing to do is not answer your phone... go to their house and start cutting before they realize youre there... works for me... never get a skip me this week from anyone... i also don't use contracts either..... i think what works for some, may not work for others...

HOOLIE
09-03-2004, 12:58 AM
I use some generic form I bought from Staples. For mowing customers, I fill in "Mowing, trimming and edging (EOW). Bagging can be provided IF NECESSARY. Service will be performed on a weekly basis."

In the fine print I have printed the payment terms and late fee details.

For mowing contracts it doesn't have to get too complicated. Any office store should have forms like these. They are 3-part, so the customer keeps a copy, and you get the other two.

Firstclasslawn
09-03-2004, 01:11 AM
Thats cool hoolie but I like making all of my own stuff with my letterhead in excel so I am looking for an existing agreement or year round contract taht I can change up to suit my needs, thanks though for your input

Lawn-Scapes
09-03-2004, 01:23 AM
Firstclass... sorry to get off topic but who did your website?

I only skimmed though it and didn't see any mention of who owns Firstclass.....

out4now
09-03-2004, 01:32 AM
Ok had to re-read your first post. There are generic contracts at office supply stores but it would be better to get some legal help in preparing yours. Also get input from your insurers attorneys if you can, they don't like litigation and if they can help avoid it they might be able to give you some tips of what to include. I thought you were saying in the begining that you didn't like using contracts.

Lbilawncare
09-03-2004, 02:03 AM
Explain to them that you will determine when and if the grass needs mowed, if they don't like it drop them. If you let everyone get away with it you will be missing out on a lot of income. There are plenty of people out there that won't cancel, grow your business on your terms. Do people get a break when they forget to take out the trash?, we gotta eat too.

Firstclasslawn
09-03-2004, 02:14 AM
Lawnscapes, I did my website, i just threw it together, I need to go back and add some stuff such as who own the business and so on, Thank you for your input though

Mikes Lawn Landscape
09-03-2004, 09:40 AM
Originally posted by Lbilawncare
Explain to them that you will determine when and if the grass needs mowed, if they don't like it drop them. If you let everyone get away with it you will be missing out on a lot of income. There are plenty of people out there that won't cancel, grow your business on your terms. Do people get a break when they forget to take out the trash?, we gotta eat too.

If he follows your advise he will be outta business by next fall or sooner.

Just in case you do decide to follow the advise firstclass I'll buy your equipment from ya.

txlawnking
09-03-2004, 11:22 AM
FC, I feel your pain. PM me and I'll tell you what I'm working on.. It may slow down the hassles you and I are experiencing in this area.

mastercare
09-03-2004, 11:47 AM
I don't use contracts either (for resis) and don't really think you need them. When I'm giving a quote, I simply tell them that I won't make them sign a contract, becuase I don't need a legal document to keep my customers. That usually really gets them excited and comes across as a positive selling point. Besides, here in Michigan, sometimes a verbal agreement can be considered a legally binding contract......

with that said:

When I quote a customer's lawn I tell them how I arrived at their price. "This price is for cutting every single week. In the spring when the grass is growing like crazy, and it takes me twice as long, I don't charge you double. Likewise, at the end of summer when things start to slow down, I don't skip the lawn, or charge you less becuase it takes me less time. I give you one average price and charge that to you every cut, from here to the end of September. In the month of October, I will continue to cut your lawn weekly, but skip it if I feel that it doesn't need cut."

That way, they know they can't call you to skip a week, until October....even then it's my choice to skip it or not. And, finally if the grass REALLY doesn't need it .....I put down fresh tire tracks and send them the bill. Unless the lawn is diseased, there's no reason for them to not water/fert the lawn. If it hasn't grown enough for me to cut, that's their fault, and they're getting some nice new stripes in that short grass.....

It's all figured into their price....and they need to understand that up front.

txlawnking
09-03-2004, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by mastercare
I don't use contracts either (for resis) and don't really think you need them. When I'm giving a quote, I simply tell them that I won't make them sign a contract, becuase I don't need a legal document to keep my customers. That usually really gets them excited and comes across as a positive selling point. Besides, here in Michigan, sometimes a verbal agreement can be considered a legally binding contract......

with that said:

When I quote a customer's lawn I tell them how I arrived at their price. "This price is for cutting every single week. In the spring when the grass is growing like crazy, and it takes me twice as long, I don't charge you double. Likewise, at the end of summer when things start to slow down, I don't skip the lawn, or charge you less becuase it takes me less time. I give you one average price and charge that to you every cut, from here to the end of September. In the month of October, I will continue to cut your lawn weekly, but skip it if I feel that it doesn't need cut."

That way, they know they can't call you to skip a week, until October....even then it's my choice to skip it or not. And, finally if the grass REALLY doesn't need it .....I put down fresh tire tracks and send them the bill. Unless the lawn is diseased, there's no reason for them to not water/fert the lawn. If it hasn't grown enough for me to cut, that's their fault, and they're getting some nice new stripes in that short grass.....

It's all figured into their price....and they need to understand that up front.


Dan, I used to think the exact same way, however, even the "best" clients seem to develop amnesia and magically forget the things you talked about with them at the beginning of the year... Put the stuff you just mentioned in writing, have them read and sign a copy, and then you at least have SOMETHING other than your and the customers memory to set the terms of service.. I went all this year doing the " I trust you " MR/MRS homeowner, and now, like Firstclass, my ass is getting burned by the very same folks I had an agreement with.. I'm not suggesting being rude, pushy or any thing else, but I need this biz to eventually generate a profit, whether I'm directly involed with the day to day opperations of it or not. That will not happen without some established procedures and policys.. EVERY other service biz in the world has some sort of agreement/contract why not me. Kinda like a cell phone: true, anyone can buy a mower and mow their own lawn, not just anyone has the coin to develop their own cell network, HOWEVER, they are both a LUXURY service. If the people don't want Professional service, then I don't want them.

Firstclasslawn
09-03-2004, 09:28 PM
Keep the suggestions coming guys

HOOLIE
09-03-2004, 09:52 PM
If you are really looking for a steady cash flow, why not put these people on a monthly contract. Figure out how many times you mow per season, and spread it out over 9 or 12 months. That way if it doesn't grow, you don't HAVE to cut it to make your money.

I hate skipping, but I also hate cutting 'dead' lawns. It justs makes the industry look stupid, IMO. Imagine you're a potential client, you're driving thru the 'hood, and you see some guy mowing some burned-out lawn. You gonna hire that guy? Probably not. Common sense may lose you some $$$ in the short run, but over the long haul you'll keep a lot more of your customers. Thus less advertising $$$ spent. And more referrals.

jgc8fan
09-03-2004, 09:56 PM
We don't use contracts, but we do invoices for each customer with the service we performed listed, and reads like:

Full Service Lawn Care:
Mow, edge, trim, and blowing off curb, driveways, walkways, and patios/porches

Rate $xx.xx

No problems or misinterpretation so far.

I was ready to break the knees of the son of one of our regular accounts. We show up and he tells us his mom said he was going to take care of the lawn, and that we were not needed anymore... We get a call from her last week saying that her son was only supposed to tell us not to come THAT week to make him mow and teach him a lesson about resposibility. She also says that he threw away our card, and the way she found our number was that she knew the neighborhood my partner lives in and drove around until she found our truck to get the # from the sign. This cost us 2 MONTHS worth of service on that property!!! She left the $$$ (MY MONEY!) with her son to give us every week, and he'd do a quick crappy mow, and pocket the money. She didn't realize we had stopped coming until she caught him at it one day. Not only did it cost us $$$, but he was doing a lousy job, and we were the ones who were being blamed. All I know is that little punk better not show his face around me or there maybe a horrible ZTR accident. :angry:

Firstclasslawn
09-03-2004, 11:08 PM
OMG now that is a funny one, LoL sounds like something I would have done as a kid

Lawn-Scapes
09-03-2004, 11:27 PM
Firstclass... Nice job on your site.. for just throwing it together. What did you use to make it? Did it come with that template?


BTW... have you found what you are looking for yet?