Service Agreement Timing

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by oceanpotion, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. oceanpotion

    oceanpotion LawnSite Member
    Posts: 56

    Do you all have clients sign an agreement before you ever service their yard? Or do you have them sign it once they see what good work you do?
  2. loom-gen

    loom-gen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 150

    I don't have a service agreement for my residential customers unless they want one. If there is a problem with the care we give, we try to remidy it when it comes up. As for commercial ones, I have them sign one before we touch their lawn and renew it every year or when changes in the agreement have been discussed.
  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Most of the time yes. However there are exceptions. If its a referall and I get a good feel from talking to them I may delay the signing of a contract for the first visit or two. However, everyone signs some type of contract.
  4. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    i didn't when i started but after getting burned a few times i try to get something signed be for i start unless it is a referral and then i have them sign and return it with the first payment.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I'm pretty loose on the service agreements...normally I have no time to do the estimate, and wait for them to send it in. I'll just mow and leave it for them. Also, I only take CC's now, so I have the means to pay myself, which is the main issue.
  6. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    All David would say is "TACO BELL" thread.

    We try to get EVERY account to sign something. Either a full-fledge contract or a written bid for work that David does on the spot. Something has got to be signed. We've lost too many times when people have backed out and we have no signatures.
  7. Lawnmasters

    Lawnmasters LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    I used to be real free on the signing an agreement thing. Small town, not many customers, everyone I knew. Now, several years later, everyone signs an agreement giving me permission to be on their property and to appply the products we are going to use. I had a law suit attempt a few years ago, the guy said he didn't request us to be there. It was BS, he didn't get anywhere with it.

    Use a contract for spraying or servicing. Your not trespassing that way.
  8. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    I do a few written contracts, mainly for commercial. They should always sign before you ever service the property for the first time. Residential customers generally do not sign anything. It is really pointless for a residential customer to sian a contract to agree to a year service contract. I mean what are you going to do if they decide they don't want your services any more? Sue them? I do give written estimates to all customers with the property info, date of estimate, and a detail of the services that will be provided, and when, etc...They get a copy and I keep the carbon copy. If any question comes up I pull my copy out of my file and show it to them.

    What Lawnmasters said is a good idea. I have thought about getting each of my customers to sign a service terms and conditions document. It would basically be like a FAQs document that clarifies common problems and misunderstandings. It mentions how my schedule works, how I bill, covers late payment, minimum service charges, etc...But I have not put it into effect. They would sign stating that they understand my service terms and conditions.
  9. Lawnmasters

    Lawnmasters LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    Before I started using conracts I had another problem from time to time. I sell 4 to 6 application programs based on a per application price, averaged over the whole year. The first application has a lot more of our cost in it, so it should be priced higher, but we average the applications over the year, makes it easier to explain to the customer. But here was the problem. You sell a 4 application program, tell them I will be back in 60 days, when you show up and spray, send them a bill for the second app, a few said, "I didn't tell you to come back, I only wanted one" That stopped instantly when I started giving the Lawn spraying Contract which has marked 4 or 6 apps and explains that we will be back, and they are liable for charges, and we won't be calling them in advance to tell them we are coming.

    Also, I've gone to as much pre-pay for the whole year as possible, that eliminates a lot of problems.
  10. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    Lawnmasters that is a really good idea for spraying chemicals. I guess since I do the full package, maintenance and chemicals, I don't run into that sort of thing much if any. But that is a great way to cover yourself. The longer we do this the wiser we get.

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