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Old 01-29-2010, 10:42 AM
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suavematt suavematt is offline
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Contracts.

What all do most of you "seasoned veterans" put on your contracts for your Residential & Commercial clients? Mainly I'm concerned in safe-guarding my payment for work done, & compensation for supplies purchased/used.

Would love to see what some of you guys use, & how you word your contracts so I can have a few good ideas to add or remove from my own before I have a 100 or so packets mass-printed.

Thanks a lot.

~ Suave'
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:28 AM
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echeandia echeandia is offline
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Here is the payment clause of our contract:
PAYMENT

Invoices will be mailed on or about the 1st of the month for all work completed up to and including invoice date. ACCOUNTS ARE CONSIDERED PAST DUE WHEN PAYMENT HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED BY THE 20TH OF THE MONTH. A LATE FEE OF FIFTEEN DOLLARS ($15) WILL BE CHARGED TO ALL PAST DUE ACCOUNTS. CHECKS RETURNED FROM THE BANK FOR INSUFFICIENT FUNDS WILL BE CHARGED A TWENTY FIVE DOLLAR ($25) RETURNED CHECK FEE. SHOULD IT BECOME NECESSARY TO BRING AN ACTION TO COLLECT AMOUNTS DUE UNDER THIS AGREEMENT, THE HOMEOWNER AGREES TO PAY ALL COSTS OF SUCH COLLECTION INCLUDING REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COURT COSTS.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:43 AM
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FourTrees FourTrees is offline
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Our payment portion is very similar.


"Customer will be billed for regular grounds maintenance service performed during the previous month. When contractor provides additional landscaping services half of the total may be required up front; the remaining balance will be due upon completion of the job.

Bills will be sent on or near the 1st day of the month. If payment is not received by the 20th day in the month billed; a late fee in the amount of $5 will be added to the balance of the account. Customer accepts full financial responsibility for all fees, including any collection costs and attorney fees incurred to collect on an account. Collections on NSF and delinquent accounts processed through (name of your collection agency)."



I used to do a $15 late charge like Echeandia, but just figured it was a bit high based upon percentage of typical total monthly bill for a bill that may contain just mowing. I though of it as more of a small reminder they need to be timely rather than a penalty. Not that I think Echeandia is wrong at all charging $15, I am probably too being to lenient.

Also of note is that I have made the service agreement one page. I am not trying to rule the world with my agreement just cover the important basics.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:43 AM
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SangerLawn SangerLawn is offline
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We have been in business legally for over 4 years. We never once had any of our customers sign a contract….our customers do not stay with us because they signed a piece of paper. They stay with us because we do excellent work

I know people claim the contract is to make sure they get paid but we never had that problem ether? I guess if you do good work then the customer wants to pay you to make sure you come back?
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:49 AM
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echeandia echeandia is offline
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In 3 years we have had to file suit against 3 customers for non payment. I am getting ready to go after a 4th. It is just a matter of time before you run into a non-paying customer. It doesn't matter how small the amount is, one case was for $90, we expect to be paid for the work we do and our customers know it from our payment clause.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:05 PM
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FourTrees FourTrees is offline
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I've never had a potential customer freak out or refuse to work with us when we show them our service agreement. I see no harm in having one and see a few ways not having one could lead to some problems.

- IF you ever had to collect on an account the collection agency will typically take their percentage out of your amount without proof that you have agreed that collections is added to amount owed to you.

- We warn that children and pets should be kept indoors for their safety and that employees should not be approached while working/using equipment. just a little but of security showing OSHA and a judge (should some accident happen) that we do what we can to run safely. Not that it totally removes all liability but it does help.

- We list all services and prices for those service, that way we and they have a copy of agreed to amounts. Once or twice I have had a client say "Now was that what we had agreed to, in price?" Having the record softened a possibly bad situation were there may have been an argument over amount and potentially loosing a client.

There are a few other points we have in agreement, but these are just some examples of how I feel a service agreement can help the communication between service provider and client.

When we meet a new client we show them the agreement with the rates we are offering them. We answer any questions they may have regarding the agreement and our services in general. Then we have them sign it, never making a big deal of it; and have found that because we do not make a huge deal of it they do not either.

Agreements should not be a huge scary deal, they should be short concise and explain obligations of those involved.
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Old 01-29-2010, 04:51 PM
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suavematt suavematt is offline
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Right Awn'

I appreciate everyone's reply & thoughts on the issue.

SangerLawn, I've always been the same; but these days too many people don't care; In the days past people were more than willing to pay a good price for a good service, but anymore, people are cheapskates & if the agreed payment isn't on paper a lot of people will either try to weasel out of it or cheapen the deal. I notice this more & more with the random swings of the "economy"

Any how, Thanks again guys.

Later!

~ Suave'
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Far as equipment goes...
- I Like FORDS & STIHL

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  #8  
Old 01-29-2010, 05:10 PM
Pittsburgh Stone83 Pittsburgh Stone83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suavematt View Post
What all do most of you "seasoned veterans" put on your contracts for your Residential & Commercial clients? Mainly I'm concerned in safe-guarding my payment for work done, & compensation for supplies purchased/used.

Would love to see what some of you guys use, & how you word your contracts so I can have a few good ideas to add or remove from my own before I have a 100 or so packets mass-printed.

Thanks a lot.

~ Suave'
Do it right man. It sucks, but you can't pay for piece of mind. Research, and choose a good attorney to write it up. We've been in business for 30 years and you need that bad boy to be as solid as possible.Not to mention laws vary state to state. And to be completely honest, a contract is really only as good as the paper it's written on. A contract is basically a tactic to keep you out of a court room. It's a way of setting the tone with a customer to let them know your a professional and you don't mess around. But if you get into a court room, a lot of times it will start at the magistrates office, than he will send it to city court as so on. By that time you have so much time and money used up, it wasn't even worth it. Always stay paid up according to your job site production and take a ton of before and during pictures of everything!
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2010, 06:21 PM
flow69 flow69 is offline
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In regards to that kids & pet situation four trees, what do you do if there is a dog in the fenced backyard for example? Do the front and leave and still charge for a full mowing, and do you by any chance outline that in your contract as well?
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  #10  
Old 01-29-2010, 06:38 PM
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echeandia echeandia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flow69 View Post
In regards to that kids & pet situation four trees, what do you do if there is a dog in the fenced backyard for example? Do the front and leave and still charge for a full mowing, and do you by any chance outline that in your contract as well?
That is exactly what we do and it has only happened twice in the past 3 seasons. We mow the front and bill for an entire cut. We also leave a note explaining that the dog was in the backyard and we could not mow it and to please keep the dog in the house.
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