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My experience, so far, with switching to service agreements

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Grits, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    This year I decided to start using service agreements. I also decided to collect payment for the month in advance. I was a bit worried about how my current customers were going to react to the change. So far, not a problem. Well....one. Only one person has had a problem thus far. She said she doesn't do contracts. I'm not sure what I will do about this, but it is a minimum charge account so I am not too worried either way.
    I just wanted to post about this so if anyone is thinking about going to agreements but is afraid that customers might leave, I don't think they will. Especially if they have been with you a while and they think you do good work. It has been easy and painless to make the transition.
    Actually I think that the customers might prefer it this way because I have put them on a 10 month schedule so their bill is always the same and they know how many cuts expect. Of course, any extra services will be billed separately at time of service.
    The agreement lets the customer know what to expect from the me and I know what to expect from the customer. It's a win / win for everyone and I think most customers realize this.
  2. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    trying to inspire
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Congratulations on making the leap. As a general rule when you are doing things that are not comfortable to you you are likely growing as a business or a person.

    Another reason to give your clients if they press the issue is that you are trying to get credit for the business and they want to see firm contracts.
  4. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 902

    :dizzy: Simple put if the customer "doesnt do contracts" we dont do work. that should be the red flag to stay away, we dont move until all service agreements are signed and with a credit card on file. tony
  5. M&MLawn

    M&MLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 132

    This current plow season we started making contracts mandatory. We didn't lose any customers because of it and it has helped when customers have second guessed things.

    Grits....glad you are trying it and glad to hear it is going well for you. I would love to see a copy of your service agreement, if you dont mind. I will PM you.
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    For those that are worried, I don't use contracts that I force people to sign.

    I use service agreements that spell out what I'm going to do, for the fee that I'm going to charge, and when that charge is due.

    For the gal that says she won't sign a contract, say "no problem, this just spells out what I'm charging you for, and that you're going to pay me this much".

    "This line right here says I'm charging you at the first of the month for that month's work, and the check is due by the end of the month, or service will be terminated at the end of the month".

    I've always felt there's no real reason to have a signed contract as long as everything is spelled out and gone over with both parties.
  7. LedgedaleLawn

    LedgedaleLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 377

    We have 82 residential accounts and don't have one contract, we also have only had 2 problems in 11 years in business. I have tried contracts and most customers in my area do not want to hear about them. I guess it is dependent on the type of area and customers. 80% of our clients are vacation homes and are mostly upper class.
  8. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    Good idea, thanks.
  9. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    It appears that you are doing great without service agreements. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But for me, I feel that the agreement will help eliminate any "misunderstanding" that the customer may have on what services are to be performed. Also, I am now requiring that all customers pay a month in advance. All my customers end up paying, but some pay rather late. The bill collectors don't care that Mrs. Robinson hasn't paid, but she will eventually. I feel agreements and prepay will work best for my company in my area.
  10. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    More feedback from customers:

    Today, a customer actually said how nice the service agreement is that I am using!

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