Annually renewable contracts

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Nebraska, Apr 4, 2002.

  1. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I know that this subject has been touched on before but I have to vent my frustrations and share my experience today!

    All my commercial customers have a contract that states in the second line ".....beginning upon the date of acceptance, and automatically renewing annually with same terms unless admendments in writing have been made and agreed upon by both parties."

    Here is the situation:

    I arrive to do the first application at a small commercial site...14k total.. Load the spreader up and begin fertilizing with Dimension in an 18-3-10 formula... Cover the front of the property and notice that a car had gone off the road (tire tracks) and slammed into and destroyed a tree roots and all. Turf not damage but the tree is gone and the roots are pulle up all within the tree ring.
    Continue fertilizing the areas around the building and the islands. Get to the last island and notice our application sign from last year...same sign was notice in the front by the door to the main entrance. This sign was placed there in Novemeber with our winter application. Stop to pull it out since we have changed our signs and logo and as I pull it out notice some small orange granules on the ground... Ask myself did we put down Team or Pend... in the fall? No.... look around a bit further and notice them on the ground in the turf...appear to be about 2 week previous.. Say to myself but we had 8 inches of snow one weeks ago whats going on?

    Obviously at that point I realize that someone else has fertilized it recently and the turf did seem to have more growth than any other property that I have seen during this first week of applications.. Did they do it themselves or hire someone else?

    Go back to the truck get the blower, blow off granules... Then placed a call to the contact that I have at the property and innocently ask him if he could flag the head by next week to allow the aeration to occur. His response is we have a lawn care company already that has fertilized and that will be out next week to do the areation. I tell him about the contract and remind him that we spoke in February about the substandard snow removal another company had been doing and that we will see him as soon as weather (spring) permits. He responded at the time great, we were satisfied with the job performed in the past year. He goes on to say good luck getting paid for the fertilizer and we have found a "kid" to do the mowing and fertilizer cheaper than you and he will do the bushes for free. We were not happy that you would not do a fall clean up for free last year and found someone else. Even though they would not pay for the fall clean up of the minimal leaves we spent the extra time blowing the leaves from the bushes and mulching them at no extra charge beyond a regular mowing.... Then proceeded to say that we mowed the property too fast... I myself was in contact with him monthly during the season and always asked if they were satified with the job being done and the response was "it never has looked better"

    How would you guys handle this?

    I will bill for the fertilizer, send to collections if they do not pay as well as late charges and interest, maybe a lein on the property!

    The guy doing it now is going to have one hell of a time mowing with all that nitrogen put down this spring.... I know he is not certified to put down and any herbicide (Pre-emergence) I think I will wait till mid May to call the Dept of Ag and report him after he has had a hellish time cutting turf that will grow at 12 inches a week...!
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Turn the other guy in if not licensed and take the other guy to court for not paying if he doesn't. You have a contract. And the guy has already proved he isn't worth retaining.
  3. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I will turn the applicator in for not being certified but will wait until he has a few weeks of hell mowing that turf!

    As far as the company...they are a very well known home plan company...sell a lot on the internet.... too bad they have no respect for landscapers and lawncare what so ever.... Explains why they never keep a LCO for more than 2 years at the most.. Shows the importance of pre-qualifying in depth to begin with...

    By the way I was told by the Owner today that it's "ridiculous that a Lawn Care Company would have contracts that automatically renew!":p

    OBRYANMAINT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    I don't doubt your situation ....but i stay is constant contact with many of my customers, especially at season changes, thats when other lco's are on the hunt for lowballing and such.

    I will call or stop by many at least once a month to pick up a stick and then to stop in and talk for a minute.

    Keep those lines of communication very open

    even though it is frustrating you may be better off without this customer, I also hate something like that happening at seasons start
  5. Nebraska

    Nebraska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I agree, yet this one was always communicated with even more than most...every 2 weeks!

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