Contracts?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by johnnybow, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. johnnybow

    johnnybow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 157

    Anybody know or have a basic contract i can go off of? Ive searched on here with little success. I do mainly installs and cleanups in Pa. thank you.
     
  2. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Posts: 2,560

    It can be something very simple, all you really need is your company info, client info, state either in paragraph or bullet point format services agreed upon and frequency along with total price or price per service, duration and signature for you and client. That would hold up most everywhere.
     
  3. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    What will do for most is a written agreement. Spelling out who is purchasing, who is supplying the service, cost, what you are going to do, materials you will use, payment steps: amounts, dates/partial work done steps, bal due at completetion. Address where work is to be done. Start date.

    Have two copies you both sign them. A copy for you and give them a copy.
     
  4. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    I agree with the above that if you will be writing the contract yourself then keep it simple. Many guys make up their own contract with two pages of terms. The problem with this is that if you end up in court seeking a payment the customers attorney and/or judge has two pages of terms they can tear apart. If they find one term that isn't written correctly the whole contract can be voided and non enforceable.

    That being said. I am one of the companies with two pages of terms. My contract is generally three pages long. First page is the general proposal. Second page spells out the specifics of the proposal such as materials that will be used, specific payment terms, expected time frame, noted existing damage to property, etc. The third page are the general terms that cover all of contracts. The difference in my multi-page contract and the ones many guys write up themselves is that an attorney went over mine with a fine tooth comb and corrected the terms which I did not word correctly. My contracts have been tested multiple times in court and not one problem has been found with them.
     
  5. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,917

    Alternative view: The simple letter of understanding has so many open items not spelled out, it leaves open interpretations that can have negative outcomes. Specifics that are not nailed down can lead to problems.

    The simple documents discussed above are not really contracts, merely letters of understanding. They hold no legal content that discusses jurisdiction, indemnification, and other matters that can be important in settling a legal dispute. Many are using these simple documents under the illusion that they are legally protected. Even a more deeply flawed illusion, they believe the document will "insure I will get paid."
     
  6. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Posts: 2,560

    you also have to realize that depending on the client, depends on the complexity of the contract. 90% of the time residential contracts can be simple bulleted items. I.E.
    - mow all grass contained within property boundaries.
    - trim all areas around house.
    - trim around trees on property boundary on a bi-weekly boundary.
    - payment will be made on a bi-weekly basis with a 5 day grace period from the last mowing....
    - blah, blah, blah....

    simple, but precise and and well defined. Now contracts with commercial accounts most of the time do need to be spelled out better and most times more lengthy. I would suggest getting a lawyer involved for help with writing up a commercial contract.
     
  7. GALAWN

    GALAWN LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    I have heard and I may be wrong but if you are just spraying lawns customers can always get our of contracts because there is something that says you can always stop chemical treatments at any time because of the risks or something like that. I could be wrong but I've heard a few people in GA say this.
     

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