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Cutting contracts

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Ocutter, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    Finally came to my senses about lawn maint. contracts. I have sent packets of do's and donts to customers but never needed a signature...until next year. Im going over the statements and want a little feedback on a few.
    For example, Im charging $5 extra for every perfomed cut that has toys, hoses etc. laying around that we have to move.

    A $5 late fee for invoices not received by the 15th of the following month. $10 past the last of the month and service halts past 30 days.

    Passing lawn cuts during droughts with portions of lawn still growing will be 25% on top of orig. estimate.

    Keep the pets and little kids off the lawn and in a "safe area" until were done. If not, were billing you for the full amount of the cut and leaving. This one is for the out of control kids.

    The contract runs from March to Dec. If they fail to meet that, then an early termination fee of $50 will apply.

    Most of my customers are long time ones. Those who leave do so by late april or so. Any feedback, changes or additions are welcome. Thanks all.
     
  2. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 525

    Wow your definitely going to weed some out!

    Let us know how it goes over.....
     
  3. I like this one. Let me, see these people are doing you a favor by letting you cut their grass so you can pick up a few extra dollars and you are going to repay they by thinking that you will charge them a $50 early termination fee. Let everyone know how it turns out, 'cause I think that maybe you will be the one who is terminated before the season even starts.
     
  4. lasher66

    lasher66 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 395

    Yeah, sounds a little harsh to me. Just put in the letter little helpful reminders for your customers instead of harsh penalties if they violate them. I would probably lose half my customers if I sent out a letter like that.

    Lasher
     
  5. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    Ok Ok Thats what Im looking for, feedback. That last one was a bit of a stretch. I am trying to weed out some to make room for the landscape projects. What else do others have in their contracts?
     
  6. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 525

    Ours really stress the importance of timely payments and lack of which result in cancellation.

    Yes ,all residentials from about 2 years ago when we started using agreements have to sign it. Existing customers that have never been a problem are not bothered with it.

    For Dog waste, hoses etc...the guys make a note and someone calls to remind them of the day we actually are scheduled to do the service so that they can prepare for our visit.

    I would love the find the magical solution to 75 yr old "Norma's" that call in saying they want to skip that particular week....

    Moving folks to pre-payment for the season would eliminate the drought issue if you specify up to a certain number of cuts... the problem is not everyone is going to pre-pay.

    I would love to have the ideal cutomer base where everything is perfect but this isn't a perfect world and quite honestly people are WEIRD!

    I think the biggest step toward attaining the ideal customer base would be in the initial screening...not take everyone that calls and convey the message to the potential customer that it is a privilege to be our customer, not your right. (without conveying this arrogance of course)
     
  7. Superiorlandscaping

    Superiorlandscaping LawnSite Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 62

    Maybe its just my company and who we are marketed to but we always do that extra **** at no extra charge. honestly it makes the customer really appreciate you. Just put that you did it on the invoice but free of charge. Then it doesnt go unnoticed. Its a great way to recieve an awesome reputation, and thats how you make money. Then your able to charge more. If you start putting that **** in your contract, you may lose lots of your accounts. The only time i had to say that was when we were cutting a huuuge account and they put the sprinklers on every morning even though we came on wed everyweek. It made the process much longer dealing with this wet grass. When we told theem we were going to charge more if they continued to do that they stoped putting the sprinklers on on wed until wed night. Problem solved. That is jusst my input and the way yourdoing it may work bettter towards your clients but it may not. Just something to think about.
     
  8. Lawn Sharks

    Lawn Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 394

    If you are trying to weed out some customers to make room for more landscape project work why don't you just pick the ones you don't want and inform them that "due to a shift in our company focus we will not be providing lawncare services for your property next year. Loved doing business with you.. blah blah.....if you need help finding a suitable replacement blah blah....

    This way you get rid of the ones you really don't want. The way you are describing sounds like you will lose some of your best accounts. Not a good idea.

    Just a thought.

    Keth
     
  9. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Keth's "feedback" makes sense...go with what he has to offer.
     
  10. Ocutter

    Ocutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 314

    I do appreciate all the info here. I guess after I looked at all the print it does come off as negative. If my lawn guy handed me that I would see nickle and dime negatives.
    I do stress getting the full service accounts (mulching, bed edging, fert. etc). That alone cut back on the browsers this season. I guess Im trying to find a way to say to my present custs. that they know I do reliable, timely, clean work. The ones that leave items around are qualifying accounts. Not all just a few.

    Some custs. need an awakening, dont take advantage of a good thing. The smaller things that hold me up are the same ones that customers neglect. Oh lets put the baby pool here, and let the kids leave their footballs, hula hoops, jump ropes, etc. everywhere. Chris wont mind. Or whats worse they dont even take that into account at all. Just trying to find a way to make all well informed and content.

    Hey Nebraska- That 75 y.o. Norma this season was a 40 y.o. stay at home mom in a $465,000 home that didnt see her lawn growing the normal 3" A WEEK it usually did. It did grow 1.5" though. When I charged extra for every other week, she pissed and moaned. Shes a good service account. Just blew me away.
     

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