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Question-whats the best contract?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Ford's Lawncare, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Ford's Lawncare

    Ford's Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I ended mowing for the season three weeks ago, (maine, short growing season).Anyway, I have been in this buisness for about 6 years now, started from scratch, and still do most of the work myself. Hopefully within the next two years I can have enough work to mow and landscape full time, as the money does not even compare to my other job(construction). Anyway, I have never had any written contracts, only verbal. Most of my clients are friends of friends or got my name from my other clients, and for the most part of nice people. Because of a few situations that happened this year, I have decided break down and write up contracts for everybody next spring. What would you guys suggest, and how do you work out your contracts? I want to have contracts, but at the same time not sound like an ass to these people, as some of them are family friends I have known my whole life, and most are nice people. This is just for the few I get that always have excuses for not paying or whatever, but makes it so I have to write a contract for everyone now.How can I write a contract that applies to everyone, but is also easy to understand?
    Any thoughts would be helpful and sorry for the long post.

  2. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    I copied this from a post I made in another thread..Maybe it will help some. You don't have to sound like a hard a**. Now you will probably lose some customers....mention the idea to your customers and see how they react...Let them know that you are professional and you want to make sure everyone is clear on the details of the service, and that due to past experiences you feel that contracts will clear up any confusion. Here is my previous post...

    The main thing you want to do with lawn contracts is spell everything out for the customer. List everything you will be doing to the property, and give as much detail as possible. I start with a paragraph like...

    This lawn maintenance contract is prepared for ABC company at the address above. The property will be maintained every week for the term of one year...etc...etc....The following servcies will be provided under the terms of the contract...

    Don't just say...Lawn servcies will be provided weekly..I use a bulleted format and spell it out...

    -Mowing of all grass areas on property will be completed weekly all year.
    -Trimming with string trimmer with be completed to all areas inacessable by mowers as needed.
    -Edging of all concrete areas will be completed with a blade edger as needed to maintain a neat appearence....etc.....etc....

    Then sum it up with the price for the work outlined above will be $$$$ per month
    Then be sure to mention that no other servcies will be provided under the price or terms of this contract......Thank them for the opportunity to provide them with lawn service.....and what ever else you want to say and sign it and you're done..

    Just read through it and make sure there is no way the customer can misunderstand anything in the contract, and make sure to spell out all contract terms regarding payment and when it is due. You just want to cover your butt.
  3. Shades of Green LService

    Shades of Green LService LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,011

    Heres an example of one i use.

    Contract Terms

    This Agreement for Lawn Service is effective between the parties listed in page 1 of this document. In consideration of the mutual covenants set forth herein and intending to be legally bound, the parties hereto agree as follows:


    Services to Customer: Shades of Green shall provide the services listed on page 1 of this document to Customer.


    Payment for Services: Billing is done per treatment or monthly depending on the discretion of Shades of Green Lawn Service and/or said customer.

    Reimbursable Costs: Customer shall reimburse Shades of Green all costs incurred in connection with the Services rendered. Reimbursable costs include, but are not limited to, subcontractors, materials, delivery, etc. that are attributable to a project or Service (the "Reimbursable Costs"). The Company shall provide to Customer substantiation of Reimbursable Costs incurred.

    Invoices will be submitted monthly by the Company for payment by Customer. Payment is due upon receipt and is past due twenty (14) business days from receipt of invoice. If Customer has any valid reason for disputing any portion of an invoice, Customer will so notify Shades of Green within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt of invoice by Customer, and if no such notification is given, the invoice will be deemed valid. The portion of Shades of Green's invoice which is not in dispute shall be paid in accordance with the procedures set forth herein.

    A finance charge of 1.5% per month on the unpaid amount of an invoice, or the maximum amount allowed by law, will be charged on past due accounts. Payments by Customer will thereafter be applied first to accrued interest and then to the principal unpaid balance. Any attorney fees, court costs, or other costs incurred in collection of delinquent accounts shall be paid by Customer. If payment of invoices is not current, Shades of Green may suspend performing further work.

    Taxes: All amounts payable pursuant to this Agreement are exclusive of taxes. Accordingly, there will be added to any such amount payable by Customer the monetary sum equal to any and all current and future applicable taxes, however designated, incurred as a result of or otherwise in connection with this Agreement or the Services, including without limitation state and local privilege, excise, sales, services, withholding, and use taxes and any taxes or other amounts in lieu thereof paid or payable by Customer (other than taxes based on the Company's net income). If Customer does not pay such taxes, Shades of Green may make such payments and Customer will reimburse Shades of Green for those payments. Customer will hold Shades of Green harmless for any payments made by Customer pursuant to this Section.


    Customer may, with the approval of Shades of Green, issue written directions within the general scope of any Services to be ordered. Such changes (the "Change Order") may be for additional work or Shades of Green may be directed to change the direction of the work covered by the Task Order, but no change will be allowed unless agreed to by the Company in writing.


    Shades of Green warrants that its services shall be performed by personnel possessing competency consistent with applicable industry standards. No other representation, express or implied, and no warranty or guarantee are included or intended in this Agreement, or in any report, opinion, deliverable, work product, document or otherwise. Furthermore, no guarantee is made as to the efficacy or value of any services performed or software developed. THIS SECTION SETS FORTH THE ONLY WARRANTIES PROVIDED BY THE COMPANY CONCERNING THE SERVICES AND RELATED WORK PRODUCT. THIS WARRANTY IS MADE EXPRESSLY IN LIEU OF ALL OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT, TITLE OR OTHERWISE.


    Insecurity and Adequate Assurances: If reasonable grounds for insecurity arise with respect to Customer's ability to pay for the Services in a timely fashion, the Company may demand in writing adequate assurances of Customer's ability to meet its payment obligations under this Agreement. Unless Customer provides the assurances in a reasonable time and manner acceptable to Shades of Green, in addition to any other rights and remedies available, Company may partially or totally suspend its performance while awaiting assurances, without liability to Customer.

    Severability: Should any part of this Agreement for any reason be declared invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of any remaining provisions, which remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect as if this Agreement had been executed with the invalid portion thereof eliminated, and it is hereby declared the intention of the parties that they would have executed the remaining portion of this Agreement without including any such part, parts, or portions which may, for any reason, be hereafter declared invalid. Any provision shall nevertheless remain in full force and effect in all other circumstances.

    Modification and Waiver:
    Waiver of breach of this Agreement by either part shall not be considered a waiver of any other subsequent breach.

    Independent Contractor: Shades of Green is an independent contractor of Customer.

    Notices: Customer shall give Shades of Green written notice within one hundred eighty (180) days of obtaining knowledge of the occurrence of any claim or cause of action which Customer believes that it has, or may seek to assert or allege, against Shades of Green whether such claim is based in law or equity, arising under or related to this Agreement or to the transactions contemplated hereby, or any act or omission to act by Shades of Green with respect hereto. If Customer fails to give such notice to Shades of Green with regard to any such claim or cause of action and shall not have brought legal action for such claim or cause of action within said time period, Customer shall be deemed to have waived, and shall be forever barred from bringing or asserting such claim or cause of action in any suit, action or proceeding in any court or before any governmental agency or authority or any arbitrator. All notices or other communications hereunder shall be in writing, sent by courier or the fastest possible means, provided that recipient receives a manually signed copy and the transmission method is scheduled to deliver within 48 hours, and shall be deemed given when delivered to the address specified below or such other address as may be specified in a written notice in accordance with this Section.

    Any party may, by notice given in accordance with this Section to the other parties, designate another address or person or entity for receipt of notices hereunder.

    Assignment: The Agreement is not assignable or transferable by Customer. This Agreement is not assignable or transferable by Shades of Green without the written consent of Customer, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.

    Disputes: Shades of Green and Customer recognize that disputes arising under this Agreement are best resolved at the working level by the parties directly involved. Both parties are encouraged to be imaginative in designing mechanism and procedures to resolve disputes at this level. Such efforts shall include the referral of any remaining issues in dispute to higher authority within each participating party's organization for resolution. Failing resolution of conflicts at the organizational level,Shades of Green and Customer agree that any remaining conflicts arising out of or relating to this Contract shall be submitted to nonbinding mediation unless Shades of Green and Customer mutually agree otherwise. If the dispute is not resolved through non-binding mediation, then the parties may take other appropriate action subject to the other terms of this Agreement.

    Representations: Each person executing this Agreement on behalf of a party hereto represents and warrants that such person is duly and validly authorized to do so on behalf of such party, with full right and authority to execute this Agreement and to bind such party with respect to all of its obligations hereunder. This Agreement may be executed (by original or telecopied signature) in counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, but all of which taken together shall constitute but one and the same instrument.

    Customer will cooperate with Shades of Green in taking actions and executing documents, as appropriate, to achieve the objectives of this Agreement. Customer agrees that Shades of Green's performance is dependent on Customer's timely and effective cooperation with Shades of Green Accordingly, Customer acknowledges that any delay by Customer may result in the Company being released from an obligation or scheduled deadline or in Customer having to pay extra fees for the Company's agreement to meet a specific obligation or deadline despite the delay.

    Entire Agreement; Survival: This Agreement, including any Exhibits, states the entire Agreement between the parties and supersedes all previous contracts, proposals, oral or written, and all other communications between the parties respecting the subject matter hereof, and supersedes any and all prior understandings, representations, warranties, agreements or contracts (whether oral or written) between Customer and the Company respecting the subject matter hereof. This Agreement may only be amended by an agreement in writing executed by the parties hereto.

    Force Majeure: The Company shall not be responsible for delays or failures (including any delay by the Company to make progress in the prosecution of any Services) if such delay arises out of causes beyond its control. Such causes may include, but are not restricted to, acts of God or of the public enemy, fires, floods, epidemics, riots, quarantine restrictions, strikes, freight embargoes, earthquakes, electrical outages, computer or communications failures, and severe weather, and acts or omissions of subcontractors or third parties.

    Use By Third Parties: Work performed by Shades of Green pursuant to this Agreement are only for the purpose intended and may be misleading if used in another context. Customer agrees not to use any documents produced under this Agreement for anything other than the intended purpose without Shades of Green's written permission. This Agreement shall, therefore, not create any rights or benefits to parties
  4. GreenT

    GreenT LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 43,014

    Here's another one for you:


    This contract is an agreement between _______________, herein after referred to as the contractor, and __________, herein after referred to as the client. Contractor and client hereby promise and agree to the following: The contractor agrees to provide the services detailed in the following specifications and attached Technical Addendum. A maintenance worksheet will be supplied to the client each time work is done. The client agrees to pay the charges specified herein.


    A. Mowing, Edging, and Trimming: All turf areas shall be mowed once per week from April 1 through October 31. The rest of the year mowing will be done as needed so that not more than 1/3 of the leaf blades are removed per mowing. Mowing shall be with a (reel/rotary/mulching) mower. Mower blades will be sharp at all times to provide a high quality cut and minimize disease. Mowing height will be in accordance with attached technical addendum, by grass type and variety. Clippings will be left on the lawn as long as no readily visible clumps remain on the grass surface 24 hours after moving. Otherwise, clippings will be collected and removed by the contractor. In the case of fungal disease outbreaks, clippings will be collected until the disease is controlled.

    All sidewalks, fences, driveways, parking lots, other surfaced areas bordered by grass, buildings adjacent to turf, and tree and plant rings and beds will be edged every other mowing. Turf around sprinkler heads will be trimmed so as to not interfere with nor intercept the output of water. Mono filament line trimmers will not be used around trees and shrubs where injury to the bark of plants could occur. Contractor will clean all clippings from sidewalks, curbs, and roadways immediately after mowing and/or edging.

    B. Fertilization: All turf areas shall be fertilized as per the applicable high/low maintenance level specification in the attached Technical Addendum. All complete fertilizers shall be granular in composition and contain 30% - 50% of the nitrogen in slow, or controlled release form. The ratio of nitrogen to potash will be 1:1 or 2:1 for complete fertilizer formulations. They shall also contain magnesium and micro nutrients (i.e. manganese, iron, zinc, copper, etc.).

    Fertilizers will be applied at a rate of one (1) pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet. This is calculated by dividing the percent nitrogen into 100, (Example: If a 16-4-8 fertilizer is used, then 16 is divided into 100 = 6+ pounds of 16-4-8 will be spread over 1000 square feet of lawn area).

    C. Pest Control: The contractor will inspect lawn areas each visit for indications of pest problems and advise the client or representative of such problems.

    Upon confirmation of a specific problem requiring treatment, pesticides will be applied as needed on a spot treatment basis following University of Florida, IFAS recommendations using least toxic Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.) procedures. If requested, pre emergent herbicides will be broadcast in February and October for weed control. Post emergent herbicides may not be applied to turf areas without the express approval of the client. This includes weed and feed formulations. Records will be kept on pests identified and treatment(s) rendered for control.

    All pest control service is in addition to the basic contract charges. The amount charged will be on a per job basis based on materials, cost, plus labor. The cost will be agreed on by client and contractor prior to such service being rendered.

    Pesticide applications will be made in accordance with the rules and regulations governing use of pesticides in Florida.

    The pest control applicator will be operating under License #____, Expiration Date _____. All spraying of pesticides will be done prior to 10:30 a.m. and at temperatures below 80 degrees Ferenheight.

    D. Thatch Control: (See Optional Services)


    A. Fertilization: Ornamental shrubs and trees planted less than five (5) years shall be fertilized three (3) times per year. Applications shall be made during the months of February, May, and September. Shrubs and trees more than five (5) years old in the landscape shall be fertilized twice a year in March and September. Shrubs and trees in lawn areas exposed to lawn fertilizations will not be supplementally fertilized. Rate will be one (1) pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet or equivalent.

    Mature palms should receive a complete, granular fertilizer formulated for palms four (4) times per year at a rate of six (6) pounds each application. Palms under eight feet in height should receive 2-5 pounds four times per year.

    All fertilizers should contain equal amounts of nitrogen and potassium and at least 30% of both elements should be available in slow release form. The fertilizer should also contain additional magnesium and a complete micro nutrient amendment. Acceptable basic analysis includes 8-2-8, 10-5-10, and 12-4-12. Queen palms will receive a supplement of manganese sulfate at the rate of five (5) pounds per mature palm in March. Any date palms showing chlorosis of the lower leaves will receive applications of magnesium sulfate twice per year.

    All fertilizers shall be applied by broadcasting beyond the drip line taking care to avoid putting fertilizer against the trunk following guidelines recommended by the University of Florida, IFAS. Fertilizer may be punched into the soil on berms and steep slopes where runoff is likely.

    B. Pest Control: Contractor shall practice Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.) to control insects, diseases and weeds on and around perennials, ground covers, shrubs, vines, and trees. This will include weekly monitoring and spot treatment as necessary using least toxic methods. All spraying will be done before 10:30 a.m. and at temperatures below 80 degrees Ferenheight of first choice will be insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and biological controls such as Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt) formulations. Weeds in beds or mulched areas will be removed weekly mechanically or by hand. Upon client approval, herbicides may be employed for heavy infestations, or to treat parasitic weeds in palm roots. Weeds in paved areas will be controlled with string trimmers.

    C. Pruning: Shrubs will be pruned by hand as needed to ensure proper informal shape, fullness, and bloom. Electric or gasoline powered shears will not be used in pruning. Tree and palm pruning will be done once per year and is limited to branches below twenty (20) feet in height and palm fronds. The contractor will remove all litter. No trees, under utility lines will be pruned and no pruning will be done during or immediately following growth flushes. Branches will be pruned just outside the brand collar. Pruning paint will not be applied. Sucker growth will be removed by hand from the base of trees. No herbicides will be used for this purpose.

    D. Mulching: All mulched areas shall be replenished once a year during the winter months (Nov. - Feb.) with _________ (cypress, pine bark, melaleuca, recycled, etc.) mulch to maintain a depth of three (3) inches. All curb, roadway and bed line edges will be trenched to help contain the applied mulch. Additional mulch will be billed at $____ per yard. Mulch will not be placed against the trunks of plants.


    A. Annual Flowers: Replacement of existing annuals shall be done ___ times per year. Major renovation of annual beds shall be accomplished once per year in __________.

    Replacement of plants due to pest damage or contractor negligence will be done without cost to client. Replacement of stolen, vandalized or damaged flowers will be charged based on $____ per plant.

    Annuals/bedding plants shall be fertilized monthly, at a rate of 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of area every two (2) weeks or a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote or Nutricote (3-4 month release) shall be incorporated in the bed at planting. Contractor will be responsible for weed control by hand or mechanical means, no herbicides will be used in annual beds. Pest control will follow I.P.M. principals.

    B. Irrigation Systems: The contractor shall inspect and test all components and zones in the irrigation system monthly and shall reset zone times according to seasonal changes. Minor adjustments and repairs such as head/emitter cleaning replacement, filter cleaning, small leaks, and minor timer adjustments shall be made by the contractor, with the client paying for parts. Once a year the contractor will recalibrate each zone following Cooperative Extension Service recommendations. During weekly maintenance the contractor will note and report to client any symptoms of inadequate or excessive irrigation, drainage problems, etc. Repairs or system service beyond the above scope will be charged at an hourly rate per man plus parts. The contractor will notify the client or client's agent, of the nature of the problem before repairs are made.

    C. Thatch Removal/Scalping: Removal of thatch (a spongy, build-up of dead and living grass shoot, stems, and roots) should be considered when thatch thickness exceeds one inch. The best time for a thatch removal is March through August when the turfgrass is rapidly growing. Thatch removal is in addition to the basic contract charges.

    Verticutting using a vertical mower is the recommended method of removing thatch from Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Centipede lawns. Bahai grass lawns can be power-raked rather than verticut. Resulting debris will be removed. Remaining turf will be mowed and irrigated. Fertilization with a soluble nitrogen source at #1 N per 1,000 square feet will be applied one week after dethatching. Scalping is not a substitute for vertical mowing, Scalping, for whatever reason should only be done in spring.

    D. Other Accessorial Services Available: (Priced by contractor on a per job basis):

    · Landscape additions/renovations/transplanting. If necessary, transplantation of existing trees will be accomplished during January/February for dormant species, and April/September for palms.
    · Plant replacement not attributed to contractor negligence.
    · Turf replacement.
    · Application of plant growth regulators.
    · Maintenance of aquatic sites.
    · General hauling.
    · Major irrigation system modifications.
    · Interior plant maintenance.


    A. The contractor will carry liability amounts and workmen's compensation coverage on his operators and employees and require same of any sub-contractors and provide proof of it to the client. The contractor is also responsible for obtaining any licenses and/or permits required by law for activities on client's property.

    B. Liability—The contractor is liable for:
    1. Any damage due to operation of his equipment in performing the contract.
    2. Complying with all laws pertaining to protected plant species such as the mangrove.
    3. Damage to plant material due to improper horticulture practices.
    4. Improper installation of irrigation system replacement components.
    5. Injury to non-target organisms in application of pesticides.

    C. The contractor is not responsible for:
    1. Death or decline of plant materials due to improper selection, placement, planting, or maintenance before the time of this contract.
    2. Damage due to improper irrigation components in existence at the time of contract execution.
    3. Exposed cables/wires or sprinkler components/lines normally found below the surface of the lawn.
    4. Flooding, storm or wind damage.
    5. Disease or damage to lawns or landscape plants caused by excessive irrigation or lack of water to inoperative irrigation components provided he reported these to client, or irrigation restrictions imposed by the Water Management District or civil authorities.
    6. Damage caused by any item hidden in the landscape and not clearly guarded or marked.
    7. Damage due to vandalism.


    A. This contract is for maintenance for property located and described as: ___________________________________________________________

    B. The term of the contract is for __________ year(s) beginning __________ and ending __________. Client or contractor can cancel this contract at any time by giving thirty (30) days written notice.

    C. The charge for the specified services is $____ per month for the term of this contract payable by the last day of each month for which service is provided. The client will receive an invoice at the end of the month and payment is due within ten (10) days from the date of the invoice. Any additional or unscheduled services agreed on by client and contractor will be billed separately.


    In witness whereof, the parties to this contract have signed and executed it as indicated.

    _____________________________________ ________________
    Client Date

    _____________________________________ ________________
    Contractor Date

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