Lawn service agreement

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by FishandSon, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. FishandSon

    FishandSon LawnSite Member
    Posts: 172

    So last year was my second year mowing lawns. I never had a contract with any of my customers for a number of reasons, but as I learned I should atleast set forth some guidelines. Between having customers not having a fall clean up and expecting us to mow through knee high grass during a last lawn cut, to customers with literally hundreds of piles of dogs crap we are setting the bar this year. I am trying to sound proffessional in my service agreement without sounding like I'm going over board.

    We have around 30 residential lawns, one HOA, a bank, and a Harley Davidson dealership. But the 2 commercial accounts are a separate contract.

    If I could get some feedback on my service agreement I would appreciate it. If you would add/remove anything or any feedback would be great.

    EDIT: I'm having trouble attatching the file. Minus our logos and letterhead I'll copy and paste it to the bottom.



    SERVICE AGREEMENT

    Fish and Son Services is writing the service agreement out to ___________________________

    Fish and Son Services charges a flat monthly fee of ______ to service the lawn at listed address
    ______________________________________.
    Fish and Son Services will perform a lawn cut to include; cutting of lawn, trimming around fences, house, and bushes/trees etc, and blowing of grass clippings into street and or into grass. With ever changing weather, we reserve the right to come out at different times during the week, however, we try to keep as strict a schedule as possible.
    A typical month will consist of 4 cuts. 2 cuts will not be performed within the same week. However, 2 cuts maybe done before the 7th day if forecasted rain for several days is pending. We do not offer biweekly cuts at this time for any reason whatsoever.

    Reasons we may charge more than quoted price are for as follows; locked yard gates resulting in a delayed service, excessive animal droppings, excessive yard obstacles that need to be moved and or picked up, excessive yard debris (sticks, leaves, etc that cannot be ran over with mower). A request of service on a seperate day then is schedule may result in a $25 one time charge. Any services other than grass cutting that is requested may be done on a non grass day and will be quoted in written format prior to work being performed.
    Non maintained sidewalk edging is included after the initial edging. If sidewalk edge is not properly edged in the beginning of service agreement, we can edge for a nominal charge of _______/foot.

    Long grass- Excessively long grass resulting in bagging of clippings is not covered under normal service. If grass must be bagged we will quote you with a disposal price when requested. Grass that is cut on a normal schedule does not typically need to be bagged or double cut unless excessive rain occurs, which we will not charge you for. Any damage to equipment resulting from long grass (over 12 inches) may be charged to customer.

    Monthly bills will be sent out by email on the last day of every month. We strongly encourage our customers to pay with the link provided in the email via credit card. It is the safest and quickest way to pay. Payments not received by the 10th of the month may result in a late fee. If payment is not received by the last day of the next month we will seize cutting. In order to return to a normal cutting schedule payment must be made in full including any cuts that have not been performed due to lack of payment.

    This is in no way a contract to guarantee service for any amount of time. Customer or contractor may terminate contract at any time. This is a service agreement for the safety of all parties involved to understand the scope of work that is to be performed.

    ____________________________________ Fish and Son Services


    _____________________________________Customer Signature
     
  2. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,519

    Fish and Son Services
    service agreement

    Service charge of a monthly fee of ______ to service the lawn at listed address
    ______________________________________.
    Fish and Son Services will perform weekly lawn service to include; cutting of lawn, trimming and blowing of grass clippings. Scheduled service day ________
    Weather permitting.

    An extra fee may be incurred for the following reasons.
    locked yard gates
    excessive animal droppings
    excessive yard obstacles
    Debris from severe weather
    Estimates will be provided for any additional work requested.
    An additional charge will be added for disposal of clippings and debris

    Monthly bills will be sent out by email on the last day of every month. We strongly encourage our customers to pay with the link provided in the email via credit card. Payments not received by the 10th of the month may result in a late fee. Balances over 30 days will result in termination of service until account is in good standing.

    This service agreement is valid from the day signed and continues annually until cancelled by either party.
    Customer or contractor may terminate this agreement at any time.

    ____________________________________ Fish and Son Services


    _____________________________________Customer Signature
     
  3. FishandSon

    FishandSon LawnSite Member
    Posts: 172

    Thanks jc. I haven't written one of these before and was having a tough time wording/arranging it. Your input is very appreciated.

    Does this seem like a fair agreement? I don't like coming off offensive to costumers, but ground rules should be set when I am trying to keep to a time schedule to maximize efficiency. I also don't want it to sound like we are giving excuses or a lot of reasons why we will charge more just to abuse a customer because that is certainly not the case. We've warned of late fees before and never inforce them.
     
  4. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,674

    I don't think it's a good idea, but good luck.
     
  5. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,287

    Why are you charging and billing a flat monthly fee when some months you will cut the lawn 4 times and some months you will cut the lawn 5 times?

    Personally, I would never sign an agreement that gives you the ability to applying one or more random "extra fee(s)" which

    "may be incurred for the following reasons.
    locked yard gates
    excessive animal droppings
    excessive yard obstacles
    Debris from severe weather"
     
  6. Armsden&Son

    Armsden&Son LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,357

    A contract or written agreement is definitely a good thing. However, what you have here almost sounds like a list of grievances. Remember, most folks out there do not leave dog crap all over the yard, or leave 20 pieces of lawn furniture and toys all over the yard. As well, most folks won't re-schedule or try to play mickey the dunce and have you try to mow the part of the yard that hasn't been cut in 10 years.

    Are these types of customers out there? Absolutely. These are the types of folks that us business owners usually try to avoid. Your wording might be a touch off-putting to the potential GOOD customer.
     
  7. S&S Lawn ServiceLLC

    S&S Lawn ServiceLLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 159

    I thought about contracts but most of my accounts are residential and I didn't want to take a chance of scaring them off with some type of binding contract.If they choose to go a different route then let em.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  8. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,519

    I was basically simplifying what you had written.
    For basic lawn maintenance there really isn't a need for a contract in most cases.
    We don't use a contract for any residential maintenance.

    Basically your typical discussion with a new customer should cover what your going to do and what they need to do, so that you keep doing what you said you were going to do. Pretty simple right.

    Cust- I would like to get a price on cutting my lawn.
    Lawn guy- ok let me take a look and give you a price.
    Lawn guy walks around lawn, makes notes figures price.
    Lawn guy- to cut, trim,edge and blow off your lawn it will be _____ per service visit. We bill ______(weekly/monthly) can we email your invoice? Great, prompt payment is appreciated as we are a small business.

    If you show up and there's a bunch of toys or such knock on the door talk to your customer. Same with dog waste. If it continues drop them.
    If you have storm damage and you expect debris call ahead ask them how the yard is. Then discuss what you should or shouldn't do about it.
    Between phone ,email and text communication should be fairly easy.
    Build a relationship with your customers gain trust and these issues are easy to address.
     
  9. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,916

    Rather than making a list of possible problems, such as locked gate, set them down as expectations for prompt service.

    Quoting: "Please have gates unlocked, dog droppings picked up, and the lawn cleared of furniture, or other obstacles ...."

    Just from experience, many of these expectations are never met anyway. Furniture and hoses get left out. The dog droppings are picked up for a few weeks, then not at all. If you don't want to deal with these problems, then they will get a letter next Spring, "It is has been fun, but ...."

    The idea of "may charge ..." leaves too many questions. If there is to be any date referenced, then the form should have a date block. Also, there should make a simple statement "... for the 2014 season." You want to have the opportunity to requote for the next season, and the wording above is open ended. I suppose if you needed to change prices, you could send the customer a note saying "previous agreement is being cancelled." This seems silly. Just send a new one each year, with updated prices.

    If you send the form to the customers, you may not get it back with signatures. I have sent out a simple Letter of Understanding, not unlike your document. It has no signature block. For ongoing customers, it states clearly that no response implies acceptance. I found that few even opened the envelope, let alone read what was inside. When I started many years ago, I asked for a positive response. I got very few, and started the season with only these few customers. I presumed all others wanted me to stop working. That was a bad assumption. The phone started to ring after the season began, "... are you coming soon?" After my explantion requiring a response, "... we just knew you would be back .... never opened your letter...." After one season of this, I changed to "negative replies only."
     
  10. FishandSon

    FishandSon LawnSite Member
    Posts: 172

    This is the best info I have recieved, thank you. I sent out a letter to every customer telling them there will be no change in rates and if you would like to continue service this coming year to please let us know so we can make out schedule. So far everybody has said they want us to continue.

    All I can say is I have 42 residential lawns including the ones in the HOA and maybe I should drop them and get new ones compared to the way other guys are sounding.
     

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