Contract vs. No Contract

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tiedeman, Mar 6, 2005.

?

Yes or No

Poll closed Apr 5, 2005.
  1. Yes, I use them

    30.8%
  2. Yes, but it's not binding and doesn't have fees

    9.6%
  3. No, but have thought about it

    46.2%
  4. No, I would never use one

    13.5%
  1. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I want to hear from those people that use contracts and don't use contracts. What are the pro's and con's of using them, and not using them? Also take the poll. Try not to bash other peoples ideas
     
  2. kturf

    kturf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 184

    I always have contracts helps make scheduling easier also you know what kinda income per month. all other types of business have them why not lets you budget your work load and expenses





    For sale Exmark 48'' walk behind in NC

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For sale 2003 Exmark 48 " metro walk behind with velkey used one season has about 45 hrs on it used by homeowner.1750.00 call or pm at 336 280-3074
     
  3. sanfordandsonfan

    sanfordandsonfan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    I do not use any contracts. My business is mostly residential and a few very small commercial accounts. I do have an agreement with one real estate company, but they provided the paperwork, and I have to sign it. It just says that I will provide service for so much money. It is one page long. If I had large work and tens of thousands of dollars owed to me each month buy one client, then I would use a contract. For me, a handshake and smile has been a great contract. And yes, I have been burned.
     
  4. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I started to use contracts about 3 years that were binding and had fees in them. Before they were more of an agreement, mostly to see what the customer wanted so I wouldn't have to hassle him throughout the year trying to upsell him.

    At first I promised to never use contracts, until I almost got screwed really bad, so I started to use them. I feel that they weed out the bad ones from the good ones. But I do admit that I have lost a lot of customers over the years because of the contracts. I started to do it for I could schedule properly for the year and to make sure that I had appropriate income for the mrs. and me. And also to make sure that the customer and I knew what was expected of both of us.
     
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    yes contracts, i will not be at the mercy of my clients. when you don't use one, you are basically just hoping they pay, and when they don't, you tuck your tail and travel. no contracts=no policies= lawnboy not businessman
     
  6. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,929

    We always use contracts. It helps to minimize the tire kickers and dead beats if you whip out a contract. If they say "I'm not going to sign that!"..I walk! As someone else said, it helps to get a better idea of jobs for scheduling and should someone cancell a job under contract it has provisions to make sure we don't get stuck w/ materials and pays for some admin costs.

    Chris
     
  7. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I use them for commercial, all others pay in advance. That pretty much eliminates the need for a contract.
     
  8. jpmako

    jpmako LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 593

    Yes,

    It is a great idea to use some sort of written agreement when you perform services for anybody.
    My 2005 grounds maintenance agreement outlines all of the services that will be performed on my client's property and when these services will be performed. It then outlines the charges for all of the services and I give the client a couple of payment options. This for the most part keeps away any surprises. The client knows exactly what they are getting and for how much.
    Then there are my terms (when payment is due, late fees, Cancellation terms etc...) I think that having everything layed out in a professionally written agreement helps make everything go smoother throughout the season. I know when my money is coming in and if people decide not to pay I always have this to revert to when I have to collect any debt.
    I would never operate without it no matter who the client was or how small the job is. Conducting business without a written agreement is in my eyes a disaster waiting to happen. If people don't want to sign a contract 9 times out of 10 they are the customers that are going to cause the most problems.
    NO Sign No Service. There are a ton of other LCO's in my area that operate without them and they can have these customers. Over the years I have grown very tired of chasing money for a living. Layout your charges and late fees and enforce them... This usually scares people into paying on time.

    This is just my 2 cents.

    Jason
     
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    do they ever ask " WHY " you ask for pre pay, and what explanation do you provide?
     
  10. alpine692003

    alpine692003 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,502

    Residential - no contracts
    Commercial - 100% contracts

    Simple.
     

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