so which contract is better?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Sir mowsalot, Sep 15, 2005.

  1. Sir mowsalot

    Sir mowsalot LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    ok, ive done some searching about contracts, and i am going to start doing them in the spring. Several questions have come up after reading alot on this subject. My main reason for doing contracts is i do not want to go thru another dry year like this, and lose money like i am because of per cut basis. If i charge a flat monthly fee for mowing , fert, and aerating then i am covered, but i can just hear my customers already " why am i paying you, and your not having to mow?" I read where someone said "just tell them its like your cable bill, some months you watch more t.v. than others, but that will not stick, because then my customers will simply say well what about the electric bill? So what do you guys do? I thought of saying something like, " well in wet years i will be mowing more than normal so it just evens out".
    Also, how do you word it in the contract? do you say how many mowings the monthly fee is based on? or do you just state somehow the mowing will be performed from april till november as needed? And which is better, 12 months, or 8 month payments????
     
  2. MJS

    MJS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,316

    I am switching to monthly pricing next year, after three years of weekly reciepts in customers' doors, etc. In a wet year, the mower can usually get through the grass, even when it is tall, but ina dry year, the grass doesn't grow at all, so you make no money doing it per mowing.
     
  3. Sir mowsalot

    Sir mowsalot LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    I bill monthly right now, but it is not a flat rate each month. It is per cut basis on a monthly billing cycle. Im talking about a flat fee. In other words, say take 30 weeks of mowing, 4 fert applications, 1-2 aeratings, and take that lump sum and divide by 12 months or 8 months. That way, if i only mow say, 26 weeks in a year and miss mowing 4 weeks due to dry conditions, im not missing out on any money because it is a flat monthly payment. My only concern is how to calm my customers down when this issue comes up, because believe me i have some tightwad people, and yes i can dump them and i want to but i am still trying to build more of a client base. Im curious also, to the fact when i do these contracts how many customers will want me mowing in the dry conditions because they just cant stand paying me for not being out there. Therein is my concern, yet i have to look out for myself. So, i thought the best reply to this potential problem will be " some years will be wetter and i will be mowing more and it all evens out".
    btw, my current billiing system is as follows. When the fourth week arrives, my wife calls every customer the night before i mow with the amount and have the check in envelope to inside screen door. I leave reciept. this way i get all my checks in a bulk in the same week. I dont have to keep doing book work everynight a new check(s) come in, and i have all my monthly money at once.
     
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,311

    The idea is to get it priced across 12 months so the monthy bill is low...that is the main concern by customers. The other reason for a monthly so you seperate from the number of cuts in each month. Our contracts are based on a certain number of cuts per year....bi-weekly are obvioiusly less per month. Older customer have a HARD time buying into the idea because they are worried they will be cheated, thus not many of them sign up. Younger people don't seem to worry less and we tell them it all works out we normally cut a couple more time than what they pay for anyway. The biggest problem is the customer signing up in May who suddlenly wants to stop mowing in Oct and stop paying. When they realize they owe a bunch of money they go ...well they get mad.
     
  5. Sir mowsalot

    Sir mowsalot LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    ok, you mentioned that your contracts "are based upon a number of cuts per year". Do you mention how many cuts its based on in your contract, or do you word it some other way? I am thinking maybe stating that "mowing shall be performed typically from the 1-2nd week of April thru 2nd or 3rd week of November and maintained between 3" to 5". Since i last started this thread i did some thinking, and i might put a clause in the contract concerning dry conditions in which i dont mow to ease my customers concerns. Im thinking about stating the clause as such " in the event mowing is not performed for 3 weeks or more due to dry conditions thruout the mowing season, other lawn work for the equivelent time of mowing will be performed". Not sure of how to exactly word it yet, but you get the point.
     
  6. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    My agreement states:

    I don't tell them how many cuts it'll be unless they ask.

    I give my clients and potential clients 3 payment options.. 2, 8 or 12 payments. I find that people like to have a choice and pick which ever suits their budget.

    Good luck..........
     
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    9 payments, 10 tops. you want some before you start (due march 1st) and the last one while there is still work to be done (nov or dec 1st). this is called the "no bone" payment plan. for missed cuts use the wording, "missed cuts due to extreme weather conditions ex: excessive rain, heat, drought...will be strictly at our discretion. refunds, for the same, will be strictly at our discretion"
     
  8. Sir mowsalot

    Sir mowsalot LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    I like how your wording is in the contract. Im going to use it. Thanks a bunch , it helps alot. do your customers ever get upset when it gets dry andyour not mowing?
     
  9. Sir mowsalot

    Sir mowsalot LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 310

    I like the 9-10 payments deal, and i especially like the first payments starting on march 1st. Get money coming in while coming out of winter, AWESOME. In my best elvis inpersonation " THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERRY MUCH!"
     
  10. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 608

    I like 12 month payments. Getting cash in the winter is great.
     

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