How do I get people to sign a contract?

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

  1. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 481

    I never ever use the word contract. It is called a service agreement. In my service agreement it says ( in big red letters ) IF CUSTOMER DEFAULTS CUSTOMER WILL PAY ALL ATTORNEY FEES AS WELL AS PRE JUDGEMENT INTEREST AND POST JUDGEMENT INTEREST. I have only had to enforce this twice and both times it worked in court. Took me a year each time to get my money but I got every dime. One customer posted a bad review online about my business. I then attached an actual copy of the transcripts on the same page. I know this is overkill but we deserve the money we make.:walking:
     
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,917

    This may be true, but you do not need a contract or service agreement (one in the same) to make this clear. A simple letter of understanding you write makes that clear for scope, charges, and expected payment.

    Some people try to make the business relationship far too complicated for simple services such as grass cutting, bush trimming, leaf removal, etc. These are mundane tasks that don't require anything complicated or worrisome to a customer.

    If somebody showed at my door with a contract to cut my grass, I would tell them "No thank you," and move to the next LCO. Remember, none of us doing these simple services are offering nothing unique. There are ten others standing in line are willing to do the work without a piece of paper.

    As stated above, honest people are honest people. A piece of paper does not make them any more honest.
     
  3. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Doesn't cost anything to go to small claims court! I've had several clients there now, I'm not playing with non payers.
     
  4. grandview (2006)

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

    I would rather they give me a bad check then just stiffing me.
     
  5. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,068

    You need to get maintenance agreements, contracts signed and agreed to ensure you don't get taken advantage of...many guys without contracts are expected to be there week after week for the entire season yet many customers call and cancel with little or no notice ....i agree to service your yard for the next 9 months hence i am tied to an implied contract, certainly being fired if i failed to show up...why should the client not have to make a committment?

    Contracts allow you to plan for the future and expand, hiring employees, buying and paying for equipment...
    Good luck with having anormal life with call in or non committal customers...if other guys like it and can make it work without it...i applaud them....take what you can to make a living and then move to the ease of contracts...much easier
     
  6. lalllc

    lalllc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Give them a bid, spell out what you will do and your price. have them sign that they agree on the price and that they will pay that price. when you send a bill. at the botom spell out that if they dont pay and you have to collect they are have to pay all fees to collect the money. Dont sweat the leaf pick up. so what if you dont get that work. Chances are if you are working for them in the fall they will have you do it anyway. however spell out the price of that serv. just put on the bid what you rate is so they know and that if they have you do it they know the price. I always end my bids with my labor rate for work not on this list so they know. good luck.
     
  7. premierlawncaremi

    premierlawncaremi LawnSite Member
    Posts: 58

    My proposal/estimate and my service agreement are the same thing, all on one sheet together. If they dont like it then they will move on but there is no reason for someone to not want to sign it unless they are trying to pull a fast one and plan and not paying. A contract/service agreement is what separates the big boys from the "me and my mower" low ballers. No true Lawncare company out there with do weekly/monthly services without a signature.
     
  8. Fwilamosky

    Fwilamosky LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    Like many have said before I will be using SERVICE AGREEMENTS this year because contracts tend to scare people away. I want to use this because it will allow me to cover my a$$. Fuel surcharges if it reachs x amount, punishment for paying late, charge for canceling service on the day of since it will mess up my schedule. Just little things to make my life easier and for tax season
     
  9. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Yep you will see a difference in clientele, if they are serous they will be willing to sign a service agreement if not move on.Trust me if you have to go to small claims court you'll have no problem collecting with a signed service agreement, without it you'll get nothing.
     
  10. NC Greenscaper

    NC Greenscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

    I agree, if this is the level of service that you provide then I wouldn't try to get an agreement from the customer. We try to get all new clients to let us provide ful service which is all their maintenance, lawn care and clean up services throughout the year. These are the best paying, most appreciative customers we have. I'm not at the point that I ready to get rid of the others but the full service customers are committed to a higher level of services for the year and enjoy a affordable flat rate. It just makes sense to me.
     

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