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  #1  
Old 02-15-2011, 03:06 PM
themadcutter themadcutter is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: florida
Posts: 723
My first post. Hello from a semi crazed lawn guy.

Hello everyone.
I have looked on the site from time to time but not to often. I have decided I wanted to get involved in some of the discussions. I have been doing lawn care for about 17 years. I never created a very large business. To me it was just a way to earn some money but it has been my sole source of income. Lawn care and landscape maintenance is probably 90% of my income with the rest being a combination of related activities and home maintenance.

I used to carry more equipment but when gas prices went viral I slimmed down to a tiny trailer that would fit in my garage. I look like one of the many weekend lawn jockey's prevalent throughout central and south florida but I only do year round accounts. No by the week cutting or single cuts. Contract only. Getting fewer contracts by the year now and living month to month (its like living pay check to pay check but all my customers pay once a month).

Thats me in a nut shell. Maybe I can learn some new tricks and rejuvenate my business. Not sure if I ever learned any tricks to begin with.
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2011, 03:36 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LI NY
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Many people are scared of signing contracts. Now with the bad economy the fear of being committed will make those brave enough to sign before afraid to sign or resign sign now.

Bakery doesn't make their customers sign contracts, or the auto repair, drug store, supermarket, cleaners, so why do you expect people to sign a contract for you?

Lawn guys and customers come and go.

Do you keep a pain in the ass customer that signed a contract, or do you dump them?

Potential customers don't know you, yet you expect them to sign a contract. People don't want to be stuck with a lawn guy they don't like.
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2011, 06:02 PM
GreenI.A.'s Avatar
GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is online now
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Location: North East
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Alot of companies run contracts for lawn service. Usually the contracts are there more as a service agreement saying that the lawn will be mowed xx times and payment is due within x amount of days. These are to protect the company so that after receiving a months worth of service the customer doesn't say something along the lines of I only wanted you to come out one time, or i thought it was going to be less money. They also protect the ho from a company raising prices with out letting the ho know first. Basically they just pell out the terms of the service and the customer signs as an acknowledgement. Commercial and HOAs are different, they normally have year long contracts saying the customer cant cancel mid year, at least not with out a certain amount of notice
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2011, 08:18 PM
themadcutter themadcutter is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 32vld View Post
Many people are scared of signing contracts. Now with the bad economy the fear of being committed will make those brave enough to sign before afraid to sign or resign sign now.

Bakery doesn't make their customers sign contracts, or the auto repair, drug store, supermarket, cleaners, so why do you expect people to sign a contract for you?

Lawn guys and customers come and go.

Do you keep a pain in the ass customer that signed a contract, or do you dump them?

Potential customers don't know you, yet you expect them to sign a contract. People don't want to be stuck with a lawn guy they don't like.
I hate to disagree on my first post but

In my case They are not no break contracts. There is no penalty for canceling. it only points out the mowing schedule and explains that the price is pro rated. It tells them exactly how many cuts they get and exactly what they are paying for each cut and they can cancel at any time.

And in many other areas you mentions
Like:

If you have a restaurant and need fresh baked items from a bakery you will have a contract if it is an on going agreement that you are going to depend on the bakery for x number of items each day for a certain period.

If you own a grocery store you will have a contract with your vendors if you expect the vendors to service your store for an extended period of time.

If you have a fleet of trucks and need maintenance on a regular basis there is a good chance you will have a contract for fleet maintenance at a certain price for an agreed upon time period.

In all cases if the agreed upon service or payments are not ment the contract can be cancelled with no penalty.
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2011, 09:25 PM
themadcutter themadcutter is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: florida
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32vld's statement reminded me of something that happened about 10 years ago. I got into an argument with another lawn guy who didn't like my prices. For a certain small residential lot I was charging $75 per month while he was charging $20 per cut for the same size residential lawn. He went on to tell me that I didn't know what I was doing because there were more than 4 weeks in a month and he was tired of being under cut in the price war. When I asked him How many cuts does my contract give in a 12 month period he exclaimed "How the hell should I know how many times you cut a lawn in a year! All I know is cheap guys like you are ruining the business. Your to damn cheap. Your all lawn whores!"

I asked him to wait for a minute while I got out one of my contracts and I showed him what it said under price per cut. I was charging $25 per cut for 36 cuts over 12 months. 20% more than he was charging. What was worse is he wasn't even mowing every week during the summer. He came out when called on. it averaged every other week.

So I poked him on the shoulder kinda hard and asked " who's the lawn *****?"

Now I have to contend with some guys who are telling me why I shouldn't demand the right to do a certain amount of service at a set price. I have been fighting that for 17 years. No wonder my business is so hard on me. People that should be on my side are clubbing me in the head.

Maybe this lawnsite thing was a mistake.
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2011, 11:37 PM
GreenI.A.'s Avatar
GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is online now
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you just have to remember to take alot of what you read on here with a grain of salt, specially anything that has to do with money (and conracts do). Things like this vary greatly in different areas of the country. I see some prices guys post on here and cringe as what they charge isn't enough to even get me to drive out to the property, nevermind actually do phisical labor.
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2011, 11:46 PM
kilgoja kilgoja is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Boaz, Albertville, Guntersville, AL
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i don't think any homeowner would sign a contract here...i've never asked anyone to do it because they would probably laugh lol...it's the same anywhere you go..there are good customers that will stick with you as long as you do a good job year after year and bad ones that will be flaky or only want you to cut one time or whatever
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  #8  
Old 02-16-2011, 12:15 PM
ReddensLawnCare ReddensLawnCare is online now
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 1,488
Lawn site is a resource and should be used as one..but everything is opinions, very little fact based things, mostly ideas and suggestions. I have contracts (service agreements) with most of my customers and wish to have them all change over or refer them to another LCO. Full service is the way to go in my mind. Get licensed to do it all and sell that to you customer. Good luck...and dont be so quick to decide LS is a bad thing...it has helped me tremendously and saved me a lot of trial and error by hearing how things worked out for other people. I hope business picks up real soon for you...2011 will be a good year..it has to be..the world ends next year...haha
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  #9  
Old 02-16-2011, 02:47 PM
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Richard Martin Richard Martin is online now
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Location: Greenville, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 32vld View Post
Many people are scared of signing contracts. Now with the bad economy the fear of being committed will make those brave enough to sign before afraid to sign or resign sign now.

Bakery doesn't make their customers sign contracts, or the auto repair, drug store, supermarket, cleaners, so why do you expect people to sign a contract for you?
I extend them credit (monthly pay) unlike all of those places you referenced. We're more like the electric company, phone company, mortgage, credit cards etc. Where can you get credit and not sign a contract other than with the lawn boy? I even had to sign a contract for my trash service and I pay up front.
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  #10  
Old 02-16-2011, 02:52 PM
Richard Martin's Avatar
Richard Martin Richard Martin is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themadcutter View Post
Maybe this lawnsite thing was a mistake.
No, it's not a mistake unless you take someone having a different opinion from your's personally. It's just a web forum. Sit back, learn what you can, teach what you can and don't take it personally if something thinks differently. I like to read and participate in the debates which can get heated at times. There's tons of good stuff here.
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