Trying to Move to Contract Only advice

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by zda777, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. zda777

    zda777 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I'm going on my 3rd year in the business
    and I'm looking for input and advice

    I'm in Florida and we currently have about 7 commercial contracts
    and 10 Residential contracts Roughly 2700$ a month
    Next we have about 100+ verbal agreements and oncall customers
    about 6-8k a month

    At first we took everything we could get as long as it made decent profit
    But its just stressful to have a schedule mixed with weekly bi-weekly and oncall, and its a hassle collecting individual payments and keeping track of a late or missed payment, Id prefer to just go down the checklist once a month to make sure every contract paid,
    also when winter comes most of the non-contracts become ghosts
    i have 2 fulltime and 1 part time employee
    and i hate to let people go for winter

    I think its in the best interest of the company long term to only do contract customers and market for only contracts
    But i need a smooth transition

    because I don't want to throw 6k a month away and 30-70 customers, some of which i have been doing for 2 years

    I don't mind the Contract or No cut conversation, But I'm having trouble making the shift yet keeping my dudes employed,

    what would your advice be *sorry for the long post*
  2. Colaguy

    Colaguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 599

    Welcome! Where r u located in Florida?
  3. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    Contract only works great for commercial but not so much for residential.
  4. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    I see the problem as you are letting your customers control your schedule.

    Problem is not contracts.

    You need to tell your on call customers that you only do on call on Mondays. They have to call by the previous Thursday and they must have the check post marked by the previous Friday of the service.

    EOW's are done on Tuesdays. Half one week, the other half the next week.

    Now you are controlling your schedule and you have made payment management easier.

  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    Agreed schedule management is key. You need to run the business not the customers. Really all a contract does it documents the terms of your agreement so both parties have something to refer back to. Your terms could be any. What you do is force any new leads into your new policies. Then when you have enough work that you need to start letting some go you work in your new policies. Mid year is not the time to do these changes. You want to make changes like this during the off season a while before your peak new lead season. This way you can replace or work to find replacements if and when people back out. Yes deadbeats, EOW, and on call customers do not like contracts, but you can potentially get better customers which will ultimately make your life better.
  6. zda777

    zda777 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Thanks for the Feedback Guys
    I Would have responded sooner but I didn't know the Thread had replies

    For the first question i'm in Jacksonville Florida
  7. TriCountyLawn

    TriCountyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,517

    A few thoughts here ,

    "Contract" scares away customers, "service agreement" not as much. Make it easy for the call onlys or EOW customers to pay online or with their plastic. A step beyond that would be to require a card on file so that you can charge soon as your complete and not waiting or chasing down coin.

    Scheduling/invoice software makes it pretty easy to keep track of non regular work as well. Saves ya some time in the office.

    Do your commercial stuff at the beginning of the week as well as the EOW and call ins. I would do one day only of call in work and maybe work some of the call in ppl into getting on a reg schedule by telling them that your full this week.

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