Lawn installation guarantee

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by familylawncare, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. familylawncare

    familylawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    Thought I had heard almost everything, but evidentally not! Have a customer with a signed contract for installation of new lawn. As is customary in our business, he paid 1/2 down with balance to be due after installation. Work was completed with no problem, we sent billing, now he says he is not paying until I give him written "guarantee" on lawn. Needless to say in the 15 years we have been doing this never had this mentioned. As I told the customer our word should suffice. My feeling is that the signed contract spells out payment terms and what happens when you do not pay.
    Just wondered if anyone else has had this experience and what in the world can I do to placate customer.
     
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,568

    That's a new one on me. What were the terms of the signed contract? Did they limit your liability to services rendered?

    I would talk to the customer and ask him what caused him to ask for the guarantee at this point of the process? From there, I would let them know that you performed all services that were agreed upon, however if you are not in control of irrigation and fertilization, you are under no obligation to guarantee germination and long term success.

    Take a personal approach and find out what his concerns are and then proceed with how you are able to meet those concerns.
     
  3. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,808


    Good advice....................
     
  4. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,576

    What's the word I'm thinking of? When somebody holds your money until you do what they say?

    There's definetely a word for it.

    Hmmmm...

    Oh yeah! Extortion!

    Extortion is bad, mmmkay?

    Don't let your customer extort you. Exercise your contractual rights and powers. Get your money.

    How is your contract written? At what point do you move into liening the property and suing to foreclose? What are your late fees and pealties? How is your collections timeline structured?

    What is the Illinois statute on filing a lien? Foreclosing on a lien?

    Have you done a records check to find out who holds the note on your customers mortgage? Often sending them a Notice of Intent to Lien (if it gets that far) will be enough to get your customer to pay. There's a reason it's called credit hell.

    By all means, try to work it out civil. Have a plan to collect in place, be prepared to execute that plan.

    Walk softly, carry a big stick.

    Nobody screws me out of my money.
     
  5. familylawncare

    familylawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 176

    Thanks for the good advice. Contract essientially called for installation of lawn , how much topsoil to be added, how we were to till area, specified types of seed and called for straw to cover area. Said he would pay 1/2 down, and other half at work completion. Since we "completed" work the middle of last week, I have sent crews back twice, once to pickup a few twigs in yard, and secondly to add another 1/2 ton of topsoil where it did not need. I ate the cost on this. After I posted thread earlier today, he called to say we were ripping him off by not guaranteeing work. I told him that I wanted him to be satisfied with work and we address any legitimate concerns......but could not provide writtern guarantee for grass as several factors were beyound our control. His next words were "see you in court". I am sending crew back,as well as going along to see if we can appease him. Don't think anything can make him happy.
     
  6. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,576

    How did you word the scope of work?

    You need to be specifically vague.

    For example:

    Use XX (+/- 10%) yards of topsoil to level yard to industry standards.

    Install X,XXX (+/- 10%) sq. ft. of sod to industry standards.

    Leave jobsite in a broomswept condition. Perform all work to accepted industry standards.

    That's how you write a specifically vague scope of work. Too specific and the customer will have leverage. Not specific enough and you won't have any leverage.
     
  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,568

    Well there are a few people who are unreasonable. You have tried to address his concerns. At this point I would contact my attorney.
     
  8. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,213

    Use this as an opportunity to get more work. Write it up with terms that show how YOU are going to monitor the sprinklers, how YOU are going to fertilize it - and how much YOU are going to charge to do these things.

    Chances are, you'll either get more $$$ out of him or he'll back down.
     
  9. grandview (2006)

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

    Tell them you gave him the brake light guarantee!
     
  10. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    I have a guarantee for him
    If he does not keep the property watered properly for the next 2 weeks I guarantee that it will fail

    Now that's a guarantee
     

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