Do I really need contracts for mowing??? Yes or no

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SouthernYankee, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    I have never used the contract method for cutting lawns and I am curious why I should use them.

    Pros and Cons of contracts?

    If a client doesnt pay are you really going to go to court after him assuming that the contract was for a average yard ?
     
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    if you are just starting out, no I don't recommend them. But after people know you in the community and respect you as an individual and business, then yes start to use them
     
  3. richard coffman

    richard coffman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 341

    Mmmm,

    contracts are nice to have, some customers feel there signing away their life for the next coming year. how i do it is this. i get a new customer, and have them sign not a contract, but a statment that they have read and understand the terms of paying, and when to pay, i put in there with the agreement, what services i will be giving them. if everythig goes well, and they pay, by the next season, they allready know what service i can do and are more likely to sign the contract. I don't know if anyone has done it this way, but it's worked very well for me. :)

    respectfully,

    Richard/Owner :D
     
  4. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    I disagree. Start with them from the begining. It makes you look more professional and you have something to use in court in case you run into a PITA that just decides they won't pay. Let them know you have terms or you may get pushed around. Not only that but it allows you to better guesstimate your potential cashflow. What part of Jaw Jaw you lookiing to move to?
     
  5. richard coffman

    richard coffman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 341

    the difference between the contract i have and the statment i have made for my new customers is that i left out the part of them being obligated to stick with me for the following year, everything else has stayed the same. just wanted to revise for others understanding of where I'm coming from.
     
  6. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    I know where you are going from richard, and I did the exact same thing when I first started having people sign up. After a while I started switching them over to a more strict contract
     
  7. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    As I heard on "The Peoples Court" today...we have a name for noncontract users...they're called plaintiffs!
     
  8. GrassBustersLawn

    GrassBustersLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 983

    DOES HAVING A CONTRACT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? I think so!

    I call my contract a "SERVICE AGREEMENT". It states exactly what I'm going to do for the client: # of Mowings at $xx each; # of Fertilizations at $xx; # of Edgings at $xx; Aeration for $xx; Mulch INstallation for $xxx. Gives them the terms: Monthly pay plan or immediate payment upon completion. A place for them to SIGN that the APPROVED and the DATE they signed. In fine print I detail the process of Late Payment/Non-Payment. What defines a late payment & how much I charge for them. Also that they are responsible for legal fees incurred to collect debt. And what fee is charged for NSF checks.

    If they fail to meet these requirments, I have a piece of paper SIGNED BY THEM to wave in front of the Small Claims Court Judge, along with the invoice & dates of service & copies of previous payments they made. I also keep a CALL LOG (you can buy one of these books at OFFICE DEPOT for a couple of bucks). THen if they say "I called to stop service". I can say WHEN EXACTLY DID YOU DO THAT? When they make up a date, I can show the judge my log book showing that there was no such call from them at or around that time!

    ALL AMMUNITION that we need to be a "real business" instead of just a grass guy.


    Mike
     
  9. Anthony-MB

    Anthony-MB LawnSite Member
    from georgia
    Posts: 109

    Servicing any lawn without a contract or service aggreement is just asking for trouble. Even if your doing a one time job.
    This was my first season, had 12 lawns and got ripped off by 3 customers. 2 were from realators(partial payments) and one simply refuses to pay (even stated he didn't think i'd sue him for $35) -- if I had a Service agreement I would sue him

    With a signed Service aggrement (or contract) you got the ammunition to take them to court or to correct the client when they think you should do more work for no additional charge.

    Plus you can spell out exactly what services you will provide, payment terms, cancellation policy

    I got burned - so, Next season I will have Service Agreements for all clients.
    I might get less potential clients but they won't be ripping me off.
     
  10. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    anthony

    I see how a agreement would help you, even it if was only for a small amount. One time I did a bobcat job and the guy came back( 3 months later) later wanted me to pay him for one bucket of dirt (bobcat) that I gave to an another customer down the street as a favor.

    The dirt was worth about $4 bucks!!

    I told him that I would run him over with my bobcat if he didnt leave the property that I was on. I never gave him the $4 dollars , but I learned how cheap people can be.........
     

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