Really need this explained...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by stevenf, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    I read on almost every post that people who have residential, will say, "I have 40 accounts" or " I need 20 accounts".
    When dealing with residential, By the word ACCOUNTS, you mean a hand shake agreement....? Or do you actually get every residential customer on contracts?
     
  2. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    All my residential customers are on agreements.

    This erases any doubt as to what services will be performed, and what the cost will be, and what the payment terms are.

    The customer does have the option to cancel at any time with a written notice.

    A couple I do have on a verbal agreement, but they are people I know or those who have proven that they will faithfully abide by that verbal agreement.
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I suppose it varies from one individual to the next...

    I am a firm believer that our word is signed in gold with God as a witness, which is to say funny people and I don't get very far but once I'm done cherry picking, all I need is a verbal agreement. I quote the price, man agrees that is good, I inform them of the scheduling arrangement, if all is good then that is all I need, sort of.

    I almost ALWAYS (really always) get their first and last name some kind of way and asap, you'll hardly ever need this but for me this is crucial information which in case of dilemmas (such as collections) I can not proceed without. It helps further if they own the home, but always get address, first last, and a phone number. Best to ask them for this right then and there, it also helps build trust.

    Still I think to each their own, you may wish to find out which method works best for you before reaching a final decision, might take a bit of trial and error.
     
  4. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    The thing im worried about with the contracts is the payments. Im not sure If I should do monthly payments or keep dealing with forgetfull/lazy people that dont leave money under the door mat. To me, It seems like people would run away from a contract, It sounds to much like a written agreement to some... :)

    Do yall ever worry about money like that? do you charge a beginning of the month charge? do you charge at the end of the month and waste time in small claims court for thoughs who dont pay??? If someone misses/ claims they forgot a payment, do you let them go?? How forgiving are you??
     
  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    I don't accept payment at the time of service. My customers get billed once a month for the previous month's service.

    I have never had anyone had a problem with signing an agreement as long as they know they have the option to cancel.
     
  6. Darrin A.

    Darrin A. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 94

    I had a couple of people who wanted to pay me weekly on site, actually 3, the first year. One would forget every once in a while, another paid in advance and the other paid every time, as soon as the blower was turned off, not even put away. I quickly dropped the first, the second was never a problem and the third has his son doing it now. I no longer take weekly payments at all and probably never will again. It takes time out of my day, I send an invoice at the end of each month with a due date. If you send an invoice, you are reminding them, just like the cable company does every month.
     
  7. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    So for people that cut the month short, you send them a bill for how ever many cuts you did. Had any trouble when people not paying the bill? Or trouble with small things like people sending the payment late with no late fee added??
     
  8. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    This year I am not doing contracts for mowing. Next year I will, just to clarify what services will be done. I also plan on going to a flat fee per month, so it is the same payment each month. If they won't sign a contract then they can find someone else. This year, I have seen the error of my ways in that I tend to trust people too much. Maybe they just "forget" what was really discussed, or maybe I forgot, or entered info wrong in the computer. A contract benefits both company and customer.
    I am also thinking about billing monthly in advance. I already do this with some customers, but next year I will probably do it with all customers.
     
  9. M&SLawnCare

    M&SLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 304

    Right now all of my accounts are by verbal agreement. I've been stiffed a few times in the past with people not paying, but not hardly enough to make any impact. I have one account that pays for the month at the begining of each month, one that usually pays for 2 weeks at a time, and the rest pay as its cut. A few forget, or aren't home and get behind, but in the end they pay up.

    Next year i plan to expand into more services besides just mowing, so i'll see how that goes. Currently i have no intention to switch to contracts.
     
  10. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    When people forget, do you cut it anyway and let them know to pay you double next cut or you dont cut without pay?
     

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