Why are people so uneasy about agreements?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Turf Professionals Inc., Aug 17, 2007.

  1. Turf Professionals Inc.

    Turf Professionals Inc. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    I keep getting calls from people that want their lawn maintained. I send them a nice letter that explains the cost of the services and attach an agreement (which is explained). No one wants to sign the agreement. The agreement is real simple. It simply gives a scope of work to be completed and states that the costumer agrees to pay me. If either party must cancel the agreement, it can be done by a written letter and in 14 days service will expire.
    Most of these clients either dont want to sign the agreement or I have to go over the agreement with them for an hour or more before I get them to sign it.
    What do you guys do about these situations.
     
  2. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    Most people don't understand contracts.
    They feel that they may be getting the Slick Willy sales.
     
  3. STRINGALATION

    STRINGALATION LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 777

    i have found ppl who wont sign are very poor customers and your contract does not allow flaky ness
     
  4. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 863

    trust me, if they don't want to sign the contract, you don't want them - they will be a dead-beat payer. Not all mind you, some are just freaky but all the same.
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Several things that come to mind...

    I find those customers who try to take advantage of me do it whether I put it in writing or verbal, doesn't seem to phase or slow up their day at all. For myself I found verbal works best, I also find to each their own, you have to do what works for you, neither is necessarily better or easier than the other, both have their perks and dis's.

    What they said, I myself am verbal but also find that 9 out of 10 just don't make for a good customer, I suspect your written agreement does the cherry picking for you, either way this is most likely par for the course. The other thing you might do is have a friend read your contract, both to himself and back to you, perhaps there are some rough spots you might find?

    Now if that doesn't work out, the written thing may not be for you, you might try verbal agreements but here again it's not really easier, I'd be for reviewing the contract for a bit, seeing how you've already went that far.
     
  6. brucec

    brucec LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 469

    I explain mine as a service agreement, it even says service agreement at the top. I think most people shy away from contracts. I explain all it does is explain in writing what is expected from me and what is expected from them. I haven't had any problems yet. I also agree if they won't sign one you don't want them, unless they pay up front!!! Hope it helps.
     
  7. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    I've been running service agreements for over ten years. If a potential client is uncomfortable to back a verbal promise with their signature, I do not want them in my client base. Yes it eliminates quite a few customers but those that sign the service agreement pay promptly. Within a week of sending invoices it takes me that long to cash checks if I don't want to stay in the bank for a hour. My service agreement is quite inclusive. If your gate is locked, an area obstructed or aggressive dogs and an area can not be cut, there is no discount and there will be an additional $30.00 fee to cut what we missed if you want us to come back that week. If we damage your sprinkler system that is your problem. It was either installed incorrectly or the head was worn out and needed to be replaced as normal home maint. When light bulbs burn out, you can't get a free one on exchange and so it is for sprinkler heads. My phone only rings for new clients, not ones whining about some trivial problem.

    My business works hard for the money the first time. If I have to work hard the second time, I like to have the clients signature for small claims court. My default is near "0". I have several liens on properties and eventually get paid a lot more than what they owed me to begin with.

    The service agreement is a filter. I use it to push deadbeat customers to services without one.
     
  8. Turf Professionals Inc.

    Turf Professionals Inc. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    It is my understanding, that here in the state of Florida, it is illegal for a Landcape Contractor to have a contract with a residential customer. My agreements says "agreement" at the top. I never use the word "contract"
     
  9. grandview (2006)

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

    I use the word Proposal for my paper work and have them sign it never really a problem. Your right on the word "contract" it sounds permanent .
     
  10. SimonCX

    SimonCX LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 729

    I have been using a service agrement for a couple years now, in that time I only had one person who didn't want to sign it. Most people don't even hestiate to sign it.
     

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