How do I get people to sign a contract?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Joel D, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Joel D

    Joel D LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    Hey, everyone. I recently decided to go the route of having year round contracts for new customers. However, when people call me and I come out give them a quote they don't want to do a contract. I can't afford to turn down business because this is my full time job now so I end up agreeing to no contract. I am just sick of getting burned when November comes around. How can i go about getting people to agree to a contract? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. NIXRAY

    NIXRAY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 511

    Make it "appear" cheaper by signing a contract...for example if your current price is $35.00 per mow mark it up to $45.00 with out a contract or if they sign with you they get the lower price...Make Sense?
     
  3. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Explain getting burned in Nov.
     
  4. upkeeplawnscape

    upkeeplawnscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 37

    Explain to them that for insurance purposes, you have to have a signed contract in order to be on the property. Works for me, although there is still a small percentage that will drop when Nov. comes along. They feel that you arent needed when EOW time comes. Contract doesnt really matter because lawyer fees would make fighting them a loss. Unfortunately that is the business. Win some lose some
     
  5. Joel D

    Joel D LawnSite Member
    Posts: 125

    Grandview, what I mean by getting burned at the end of the season is when everybody decides that they can take it from there because the weather isn't bad, and everything is easier from that point. People also don't want to pay for leaves so I want to put that in the deal.

    Nixray, I have been trying that, but no luck.

    Upkeep, I will try that approach.
     
  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    A contract is like locks on a door. It just keeps honest people honest. If someone is going to screw you it is going to happen regardless. You are not a big corp that will drop 20K to enforce a $500 bill just on principal.

    As for the contract well, it really is quite simple. Here is my contract please sign it. There is no option of no contract. The reason is also simple. It is essential to have a document that clearly spells out the scope of work and payment schedule for both parties. Without it things can get messy and no one wants that. The best part is your clients are likely getting bent over a $100 a month mowing bill and meanwhile they are locked into a 2 year $300 a month contract so the family can all have smart phones. Think about that for a moment the next time someone tells you that your labor rates are too high.
     
  7. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    As was said before, a contract only keeps honest people honest. You will get screwed by bad people regardless of a signed piece of paper. What you might consider doing is drafting up a "service agreement" rather than a full blown contract. The word "contract" scares people. Just draft a service agreement that spells out what you do and what you don't do for whatever price you are going to charge and the prospected dates of service and have them sign it so both parties know what the score is. If you are just butthurt about people not wanting to pay you in the fall for things they either want to do themselves or don't set a high priority for then getting them to sign a contract for you to do those things seems like a no brainer "no". If they don't want to pay for leaf work, then it seems pretty simple that you just wouldn't do the leaf work. If they want it mowed but the leaves are down, inform them they have two options... do the leaves themselves and then you will mow, or pay you to do the leaves and then mow. I'd just go ahead and plan on a certain number of clients not wanting you to do that stuff and work around it. This isn't the government. You can't legislate money out of people's pockets against their will.
     
  8. RLS24

    RLS24 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,601

    You know what to expect of me, I know what to expect of you, it helps avoid questions down the road. Plain and simple.
     
  9. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Guess because we don't run all yr up here cutting. Only thing I have my people sign is an agreement as to what is being done and how much. If you want to cancel,I'm not going to fight you.
     
  10. Dave does lawns

    Dave does lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 260

    Stop calling it a contract. Start calling it a promise from you to the client or just simply an agreement. Of course it has from this date to this date the services will be performed but whatever the "document" says is only half of the issue I bet. As soon as people hear contract the fence will go up and it only makes your job harder to sell the job.
     

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