Install Completion and Payment - Residential

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I know most guys ask for 50% of the price of a landscape install up front with the other 50% due within a matter of days of completion.

    What I'm learning is that some customers will beat you up for discounts after the work is done, claiming poor appearance or poor workmanship, just not what they had in mind, etc... Only, these complaints are coming LONG after the installation is completed and payments are past due.

    I was planning to add this paragraph to all my installation contracts, but I'd like to know what others are doing with regards to this issue:

    50% of installation cost must be paid prior to installation. Remaining 50% to be paid within 7 days of project completion. Upon project completion, contractor will notify customer either verbally or in writing that the project is complete and payment is due within 7 days. All warranties will be void until payment in full has been rendered. No repairs or replacements of any kind will be made prior to payment in full. Should payment not be made by the due date, contractor will file a mechanic's lien on the property, at an additional cost to customer of $xxx.00. A late fee of $xx.00 will be applied if payment is not received by the due date. Additionally, a finance charge of xx.xx% will be applied each month to any balance that remains outstanding. Customer agrees to pay all collection costs incurred by contractor, etc...

    I guess what I'm asking is, how do you word the contract such that a customer can't with-hold payment because it "just isn't what I was expecting" or some other lame excuse?

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  2. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 819

    What I do with customers is as soon as im done with a job i meet with them and ask how they like it. I want to show off what I've done for them, so I ask them, Are they satisfied? will they recommend me?Then I ask for a check. If there is something they dont like, which can and does happen, I still say ok make a check and a punch list. Go over the punch list with them and make sure its reasonable then change or fix whatever they dont like. I would try to do that as soon as possible so that no more profit is lost from the job.

    Hope this helps

    Chuck
    Perfect Property Services Inc.
     
  3. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    We do a final walk-through as well. But, we also have all the proper documentation in place. The scope or work, the drawing(s), contract, general notes and any change orders.

    You are on the right track. However, it comes across as being "in-your-face" type of attitude.

    We use general notes. There must be at least 20 line items.

    IE:

    Any additional excavation required outside the normal amount for this scope of work will be billed as time and materials

    Any design changes during the project, will require a crew pull off charge of $350.00

    on and on it goes.

    BTW: Never Never Never say you'll put a lien on the property in a contract. It is best to keep that as a silent right.

    Peace and happy holidays

    Rex

    our web site
     
  4. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Very good advice on the 'crew pull off charge'. I wouldn't have thought of that one until I had learned through the school of hard knocks, which is very expensive, I'm finding out. This websight can save you a bundle if you use it. See, I've just learned how to avoid a costly mistake and it didn't cost me a penny.

    ++++BTW: Never Never Never say you'll put a lien on the property in a contract. It is best to keep that as a silent right.++++

    I guess I don't understand why you wouldn't want that verbage in the written contract. Here in Texas, I don't have to spell it out in the contract in order to have that right, but why not put it in the written agreement? Do you somehow gain leverage by threatening them with a formerly unknown weapon when they won't pay?

    Thanks,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  5. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    Just like the others, i require 50% down on jobs over $3000, and recieve the rest as soon as we are finished. Always take the customer around and get their ok on everything we have done. Most of the people i do work for i already know, and know they wouldnt stiff me which is why i dont require a deposit for all jobs i do. With a $3,000 job i usually have $300 invested in it so its not too much for my part.
     
  6. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    I usually don't ask for $$$ down unless its over 7-8k in materials.
    Its a great selling point for me. I tell customer that I don't require $$$ down becouse if there not happy with the work they won't pay until I can make it right with them. It builds trust from the begining. I write everything down on my contract that they want and we have agreed to, but it also says I have the right to substitute or make any changes that I feel are appropriate as long as I substitute with equel or greater value. and change for asthetic appeal or other reasons . I also have the other added things about add ons and delays etc. I go over everything with the clients and have them sign that they except the price and on another place they sign that they agree to allow me to make changes that I feel is for the better. The last line is tha price+tax again and it says PAYABLE UPON COMPLETION and they have to sign there. So on 1or 2 pages they have to sign 3 times so there will be no confusion as to what I am to do OR when I'm to get payed.

    Mac
     
  7. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,369

  8. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    I get supplies much cheaper than most people. Most jobs just take more time than supplies, esp if its a cleanup. I did a total yard cleanup and just had fuel and hedge trimmers, trimmers in it and it was over $3,000. The yard hadnt been touched in over 3 years.
     
  9. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    We require 30% down, 30% the first day of work starts, and 40% 14 days after completion. Keeps cash moving for us this way.For new clients or someone we are a little leary of, it will be changed to 40% DUE ON COMPLETION, Period. And for large installs over 10K, we require a credit card on file for final payment in case they forget where they put the checkbook after we finish:D
     
  10. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Rex Mann,

    Why do you recommend not including lien verbage in the written contract with the customer?

    Thanks,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     

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