Residential Contracts

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Fwilamosky, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. Fwilamosky

    Fwilamosky LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 280

    I'm wondering who here makes their residential mowing clients sign a contract. I know of companies around me that require and some that don't. I know all comm jobs you contract, but I'm in different about the resi's.
     
  2. grandview (2006)

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

    Not so much a contract ,just an agreement to how much they will pay per cut.
     
  3. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 481

    I went to a mowing seminar a few years ago put on buy a guy in Ohio named Wayne Voltz. They went to service agreements on every account. Lost some but over all it bettered their business. I sorta adopted this policy. All my existing customers grandfathered in so to speak, but every new customer signs a service agreement, whether commercial or residential. Some won't sign and that's okay. The ones that do pay and pay on time and take me serious as a business and not the " lawn guy". This also allows me to weed out the dead beats.
     
  4. Lawn Pawn

    Lawn Pawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from zone 3
    Posts: 568

    Not having a contract works both ways....

    If you have an account go sour for whatever reason, you are not obligated to suffer for it. Notify them in writing email, whatever your ...service agreement states.... and you are shed of them.

    Mine says five days notice to terminate... either party... that simple. Be polite, honest and respectful and there should be no problems.

    A contract means nothing to the Weasel that respects nether man nor beast anyway. My time and sanity are worth more to me than proving I'm right, or losing a few bucks.

    Keep agreements short... to the point.. and something you yourself would sign.
     
  5. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,518

    Testify Brother Testify.

    Dave...
     
  6. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Gold Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 3,518

    Bingo.

    Dave...
     
  7. jhouchins

    jhouchins LawnSite Member
    from East TN
    Posts: 182

    This was a good informative post. Very good points all around.
     
  8. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    I don't want a contract. Customer has deep pockets he can afford to break it.

    A client turns bad news I want to be able to drop him like a bad habit.

    A residential customer wants to drop me for a low baller let him. Losing one residential lawn will not put me out of business.

    Lose a commercial account same thing.

    Lose a commercial account that makes up 25-50% and up of profit. Never have too many eggs in one basket. Bad business model.

    If found with too many eggs in one basket make sure your business debts are such that if you lose that big account you can make cuts and survive.



    Now dealing with national corporations then the scale of business is much larger and much more complex then a LCO that is a LLP. Then contracts are needed. The direct dealing with the property/business owner is gone.



    I think many LCO's have an unnecessary need to have all the bells and whistles as the large corporations. When they are small scale and can get by with a basic service agreement stating what service will be provided and spell out payment terms.
     
  9. BTLawncare

    BTLawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    Hello All. I too will be going to all agreements in 2013. The ones currently on agreements are our best customers. I agree with 123hotdgs post previously. That's what I am hoping to do, weed out the deadbeats.

    Caution though...make sure you write them correctly. I had a guy throw mine in my face (figuratively speaking). He claimed I wasn't living up to it. I had wrote a price per/cut. Instead I should have wrote per/weekly cut. We verbaly agreed for a weekly cut then afterward he wanted it every other week. Then wanted me to pick up the grass after it was cut. Two weeks of growth. That wasn't in the agreement. Anyway that customer is no more and the agreement will be fixed for future use.
     
  10. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 481

    I agree. My service agreements have frequency of cut in them and I always leave the phrase " depending on weather " which is in my favor. One of the best things I did about three years ago was implement a late fee. I bill on the 15th, due on the thirtieth, late on the fifth. Which then a 5% or $5 late fee (whichever is greater) is added to the balance. This worked well for me.
     

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