Contracts for mowing

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nousborne, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. nousborne

    nousborne LawnSite Member
    from 21029
    Posts: 13

    I am just starting my business up and it is already late in this mowing season. So, my question is: Do most lawn care businesses make customers sign yearly contracts that they cannot get out of? or is the contract just saying they agree to pay a certain amount?

    In other words, is it too late for me to get customers this year because everyone is locked into contracts or can they ditch their current company and hire me?

    By the way, these are 3 acre lots mostly
     
  2. TheKingOfLawns

    TheKingOfLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    I always do contracts. Too much crap without them, too much, oh i want to switch to every 2 weeks, oh i can get a better price, can you beat it, oh can you pick up sticks and branches, yadda yadda yadda.

    I state my service clearly, lawn mowing - Mulching Only, Walkway and driveway edging only, trimming around trees and lawn edges only, blower cleanup. Thats it. Says clearly in the contract that i dont and wont do anyting else, i also i have in there stated the pricce per week, the length of the season, and i have a contract termination fee.
     
  3. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 37,805

    Contracts are the best way to go, in my opinion.
     
  4. nousborne

    nousborne LawnSite Member
    from 21029
    Posts: 13

    But do you allow people to terminate the contract?
     
  5. Green Finger

    Green Finger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 839

    I used to do contracts when I would bill the customers montly. Years ago...
    Now no contracts collect when work is completed. No deadbeat customers I don't get burned.

    If you are billing customers on contracts that is fours cuts they get if they decide not to pay. Weekly cutting. Don't have time for small claims court.

    Collect as you go. You can do agreements. But get your money.
     
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,311

    It is almost impossible to run a sizeable business with paying per cut. Eventually they miss a payment then they will tie you up trying to figure out which one they payed for and which one they didn't. Hard enough to get them to make 12 monthly payment let alone 30 or 40 a year.
     
  7. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    I'm solo, so things are different, I guess. But I have NO contract for mowing. I DO for chem's, though...
     
  8. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 37,805

    If that was directed at me, yes, I do now. I only have a handful of accounts, as I am part-time, all of which are word-of-mouth. They are all very happy, with my service, etc.

    When I do this fulltime, I'm going to incorporate, change the name of the business, and put a contract termination fee into check.
     
  9. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,155

    No contracts. Lets face it people dont like to be locked into a contract. I can see somebody doing up an agreement that isnt an actual contract so if anything came up you could whip it out and say "see right here in the agreement................................" and there wont be any confusion.

    24 years in business and we have never had any issues with not useing contracts.
     
  10. Precision Lawns

    Precision Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 283

    you don't use contracts? do you use "agreements"? There are fundamentally the same thing. They facilitate keeping your company and your customer on the same page. We, knowing that the customers reacts differently with terminology, have dubbed them "Service Agreements". But there are still contracts, however vague the terms are. It is in writing, that you will do these services, at this price, this often. Anything thing less is just asking for serious problems.
    Personally, I don't see why customers don't insist on have a written agreement. Any customer that does not want an agreement for maintenance is asking for some liability to happen on their property and then try to prove you were even there. It seems that it is in the best interest for the company no not have a contract but in the customers best interest to have a contract. Weird. We have an agreement for all but a few minor services (weeding).
     

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