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  #21  
Old 02-17-2000, 07:51 AM
SLSNursery SLSNursery is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: West Haven, CT
Posts: 442
Well, in response, we had no water restriction, and in my opinion, it was acceptable to let the lawns go dormant, rather then partial watering. Those lawns which were watered regularly didn't waste water, those who didn't waited for 6 weeks, and then the lawns came back. Not sure how you can wiggle IPM in, but I certainly didn't fertilize dormant lawns, I regularly inspected for insects whose presence on drought and heat stressed lawns is common, and I communicated with the customers, so they could avoid total lawn renovation needs in the fall. <p>The credit cards - well before I had a broad scope of operations we didn't take them either, but I at least want to share what I feel is a good option. And 4% is higher than normal. Plus if you collect the money the second you print the invoice you don't wait at all. Enough said. <p>One last point - you sort of laid out terms (in your words you demand the pre-payment), but I don't read it quite that way. Sure you will suspend service, but one of your customers may hold the check at the time of a drought, you will suspend service, they will pay you when the lawn needs mowing, you will resume service, or drop them (I'm sure you would drop them). See where I'm going? If not try this - Spell out your collection terms. &quot;1st payment due by March 1&quot;, &quot;7 subsequent payments due on April 1, .....&quot;. Then, clearly state whether you have a grace period and how long it is. Such as &quot;Payment is due on the 1st with a 15 day grace period. Service will be suspended if payment is not received by &quot;pick a day&quot;. Then, you should state what the finance charge or penalty is for those people whose check does not arrive on the 1st. Something like - &quot;Invoices (too bad you don't have any, just SASEs) are due upon receipt, NET 30. 1 1/2% interest for late payment plus collection costs, etc.&quot;<p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply - http://members.aol.com/slsnursery<br>Ivy League Landscaping - http://members.aol.com/scagrider
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  #22  
Old 02-17-2000, 08:18 AM
lawrence stone's Avatar
lawrence stone lawrence stone is offline
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Location: anthracite valley, commonwealth of pennsylvania Winter residence: Charlotte County FLA
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Good input Phil.<p>I can enclose 7 invoices with the SSAE no<br>big deal. As for as the fine print is concerned this is what I have worked up so<br>far:<p>The cost to provide all of the above services including providing all equipment, labor, fuel, fertilizers,<br>and herbicides is $2,135.90 including 6% PA sales tax which is payable in eight (8) equal installments<br>of $266.98 to be paid on or before the first of each month from April 2000 through November 2000.<p><br>ACCEPTANCE OF PROPOSAL<p>The above prices, specifications, and conditions are hereby accepted. You are authorized to do the work as specified.<br>If for any reason you are not satisfied with my services you may cancel the service at any time with a 30 day written notice. At that time all services will be prorated to reflect the price of the actual services rendered. To authorize services please sign, date, and return this proposal within 30 days of the date of this proposal<p>ACCEPTED: Date_________Signature_______________________<br>=============================================<br>I will now include the points you have outlined above in my next draft.<p>And as always thanks much for your valuable<br>time.<p>Any other comments?
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  #23  
Old 02-21-2000, 11:15 AM
pogo pogo is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: san antonio
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If the lawns in San Antonio did not have sprinkler systems they would not grow. I encourage water. We have droughts every year, and we are irrigated from an aquifer which make restrictions tough in the summer.<br>As far as year round contracts go....I love them. But not every customer seems to like this. I have built my lawn business with a &quot;boy down the street mowing lawns&quot; image. I keep EVERYTHING simple. I see the customer as my boss. So what ever is easier for them to pay me is fine with me. I have only been stiffed on about 5 mowing in 4 years of business. I have about 130 residential and commercial accts. Of course all my commercial accts are under year round contracts. About 60% residential have us come out year round. In San Antonio a regular mowing season runs from March-December. So there is only two months that we dont service everybody. <br>I like contracts but I dont require them. I would rather not scare the potential customer off with something as simple as mowing the lawn. <br>
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  #24  
Old 02-22-2000, 09:49 AM
fireball fireball is offline
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Location: ne Pa
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Sometimes I get lost and forget where I was or what was important or what forum, web site said what.<p>imho this is what i know about credit cards. It is that upper middle class customer that credit cards and air miles is important to them. because those air miles are non-taxable to them, they love em and thats how they want to pay their bills. I personally will take a credit card over cash and checks anyday. enter the number in the computer and within 5 sec the money is in your account ready to be spent by you. A check or cash you have to make out a deposit slip(10 seconds because I write slow)and a trip to the bank(10 minutes). Now Larry has a good point, it is not worth the 3 to 7 per cent that the bank charges for the transaction for a small guy. However the banks are now making it real easy for bank transfer and e-pay. I don't see much of a future for checks or cash. They will still be with us but the banks are going to make you pay for processing them and you can stand for hours in line waiting for the one teller to process your paperwork. In my business most of my customers have trust funds that pay for their properties. The fund automatically transfers the monthly fee on the first of the month just like the contract tells them to do. One time in 38 years is the only screwup that I had. Software problem at the bank, they spent more time making sure I wasn't upset then what the problem was.<br>The point of my list of things going up in prices was that if you have the ability to raise your prices you have to in 2000 or your giving money to your customer by charging them the same as last year. Larry is worried about getting paid in advance and the money will make 4% in his account for a month. But then he turns around and by not raising prices he gives the customer back 6% because inflation and his suppliers have gone up. I too, have automatic inflation indices in my contracts but not COLA's. The problem with COLA's is they are 6 months to one year behind what your costs are and sometimes don't even reflect what your situation is. The COLA for Philadelphia is 2.8% for 2000, now compare that to the rate crude oil went up. The COLA's take into account the cost of clothing, electricity and a bunch of other things that really hold down the quick rise in prices that we suffer in the agricultural commodity side of things. Don't get me wrong, COLA's are great and are better than nothing but their simplicity means that they are less than perfect.<br>I know that I don't coddle my customers but I don't expect them to sign a blank contract. We both agree that the maintenance of their property will require about 33 cuttings per year, 1 aeration, 4 fertilizing, etc and that is how we arrive at a fair price for 12 months or 5 years. What my contract says is not how many times the grass will be cut and when but the grass height will not exceed 4 inches. See my contract is based upon standards of performance not how many times and when. 3 years ago we had a wet spring and we got down to a four day cutting schedule and total for the year was 36 cuts. Customer won and I lost. Last 2 years because of drought and hot weather, we have have done 26 cuttings, customer loses and I win. Cutting is one example but the same principal applies to all the other services that I offer. If your paperwork doesn't spell it out specifially(why don't they have spell check for forums)is a bunch a tree limbs down from a storm litter or storm damage, i can guarrentee that you will have problems.<p>Getting back to Larry's orginal problem. I don't know an easy way of going from a residential customer who does everything verbally to a customer that knows all the in and outs of COLA's and contracts. He is right about working for high end customers. His way of doing it seems a little harsh but you have to do it somehow in order to survive and be succesful. The customers that value his service will do it his way and understand his situation. The ones that don't value his service will quit and take advantage of another fool. Lord knows that we won't have a shortage of fools anytime soon
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  #25  
Old 02-23-2000, 07:00 PM
SLSNursery SLSNursery is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: West Haven, CT
Posts: 442
I guess I shouldn't have been so vague when introducing my use of a COLA. Maybe it could be called a CDBA (cost of doing business adjustment). I called it COLA because it seems like my COL goes up pretty evenly each year. Let me say(arbitrarily), about 6%. Bottom line is that on some accounts we streamline the workload, and maybe don't need as much material(mulch, grass seed, etc.) from year to year. These accounts don't need to go up in price because we make it up in savings on the material, or even labor. I consider it a savings on labor if over time you can reduce the time spent on a job with the same men and the same equipment. That is, don't just buy bigger mahcines and assume because you finish faster it costs less. Overall, though, we like to raise prices a little when we can. Otherwise its harder to get the bigger increase farther down the road.<p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply - http://members.aol.com/slsnursery<br>Ivy League Landscaping - http://members.aol.com/scagrider
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  #26  
Old 02-25-2000, 12:04 PM
fireball fireball is offline
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Location: ne Pa
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PHIL or LARRY<br>Here is the wording that I see on 95% of all contracts that I encounter:<br>ADJUSTMENT TO CONTRACT AMOUNT**CPI:<br>Effective with each anniversary date of the commencement of services hereunder, there shall be a percentage increase in the monthly Contract Amount equal to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the then previous year for the _______ Metropolitan area, all items<p>Note one; you have to find out what metropolitan statictical area you live in, and insert in blank space.<br>Note two; this will enable you to catch up to what happened last year. It is better than nothing and at least it keeps you from going backward in profit erosion due to inflation<br>Note three; just because you have it in your contract, doesn't mean that's it is enforceable. A lot of people cut and paste things from other people and don't realize that it can't be done where they live. You have to run these clauses by your lawyer to see if it is possible and you want the case law(where someone already went to court over it and how the judges ruled on it)on it to back it up. Should cost you at least $1,000.00. I don't have much esteem for lawyers who tell you that everything looks okay and then you get in court and he starts talking that you have to settle because of mitigating circumstances that he didn't consider.
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  #27  
Old 02-25-2000, 01:13 PM
acutabove acutabove is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Eastern Ma.
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Dear Mr. Stone,I'm new to this forum,so I'm not sure in which way to proceed. You can't be serious about that letter,are you? It sounds to me that you expect everybody else to foot your expenses,when you should honestly factor all these things in before-hand.Next thing you know you'll be asking the government to subsidize you because you failed to forsee these things in the future.Please rethink this, it will only hurt your business. Thanks for listening.
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  #28  
Old 02-25-2000, 01:47 PM
lawrence stone's Avatar
lawrence stone lawrence stone is offline
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Location: anthracite valley, commonwealth of pennsylvania Winter residence: Charlotte County FLA
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acutabove wrote:<p>&gt;It sounds to me that you expect everybody else to foot your expenses,when you should honestly factor all these things in before-hand<p>What the hell are you talking about. Did get<br>confused about have way through the threads?<p>I don't need any cola etc.<p>And if you know anything about business how<br>can one provide any goods or services<br>without the customer first footing the costs<br>(expenses) then appling the needed gross profit margin to be in business next year?
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  #29  
Old 02-25-2000, 03:28 PM
fireball fireball is offline
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Location: ne Pa
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Boy Larry you are mellowing, the moment that i saw acutabove I knew he was a new guy.<p>Anyway, I agree with you. The object of business is to make the other guy pay your expenses plus a profit. If all else fails, a government buyout ain't so bad, for example look at Chrysler. Its the American way
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  #30  
Old 02-25-2000, 03:34 PM
Nilsson Associates Nilsson Associates is offline
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Connecticut
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Must not be Lawrence on that post?
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