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Written or oral contracts?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cos, May 17, 2001.


How many of you use a written or oral contract?

Poll closed Jun 1, 2001.
  1. I use written contracts all the time.

    5 vote(s)
  2. I trust my clientele enough to use oral contracts.

    17 vote(s)
  3. I use both

    20 vote(s)
  4. I don't understand this poll

    0 vote(s)
  1. cos

    cos LawnSite Addict
    Posts: 1,253

    Iw anted to take a poll, because there has been an issue that was split in a thread and became a good discussion to learn from. If you want to briefly explain why too that would help other people.
  2. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,940

    100% of my residentials are oral and handshake. 100% of my commercails are full contract signed by me and the company. This holds true for snowplowing as well. I have never been "stuck" for money by a customer. I have had several that have moved to another state, and had me continue to cut the lawn until the house is sold. I am very trustworthy, and I demand that in a customer. If they seem real wishy-washy, then I will be cautious. Just use common sense.
  3. Toroguy

    Toroguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,075

    I voted oral contracts. I am a believer in the "at will contract" that meaning the parties may terminate the agreement at any time for any reason. If my work is poor or unreliable, I would expect the customer to find another contractor. It also allows me to discontinue service if the customers demands are out of reason. I use an "oral at will contract".
  4. smburgess

    smburgess LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 469

    I think it depends on the type of service you provide. We pretty much are all-inclusive (cutting, pruning, overseeding, aeration, soil test, shrub and turf fertilization, pre-M weed control, grub control, ornamental and turf post weed control, fungicide applications, mulching, spring and fall color, liming, irrigation maintenance, etc.) with 90% of my clients, and as such I feel it is good to have everything spelled out as to what, when, and how much we are and are not responsible for. If all you're doing is cutting, and invoicing monthly, I think an oral contract is fine.
  5. Lawn DOG

    Lawn DOG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 276

    I wish I could shake hands and everybodys word meant something. I have learned the hardway that not everybody is honest. I have about 5,000.00 in outstanding balances now and if I did not have contracts I would be losing alot of sleep. Instead I charge interest and can take them to court and win. If you have alot of accounts and are a proffesional I don't think you can do business any other way. My customers are proffesionals they certainly understand a contract. Don't be afraid to be proffesional. Too many people in this business do it as a hobby. I see alot of retired people doing it. I bet they could not make it if this was their only income. Only my opinion. I hope I don't offend anyone.
    Good Luck
  6. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    I'm with Tom ....Commercial Yes ....Resi's we provide a "statement of work" .....we are paid on monthly billing so if an account gets "behind" after 30 days we make a quick phone call to see what's up or suspend service until paid ....

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