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Are written contract's a necessity?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by WarriorLandscaping, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. WarriorLandscaping

    WarriorLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 291

    Hey guys,

    I always send my client's online estimates and invoices that are up to date.

    Unless the customer asks, is it a necessity to have a written and signed contract for potential audit purposes in the future? (worst case scenario obviously)

    What is the most important documentation to keep in the records for each client?
    (I have printed all my invoices from the start and logged them)

    I have started signing contracts this year and wonder if its a necessity to keep it up.
    (I find most of my clients don't even ask, it's me asking)
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,507

    Contracts protect the contractor and the customer from he said/she said mid understandings or assumptions

    They aren’t really related to audits
    What audits are we talking about? IRS?
  3. turbo_

    turbo_ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    What are you using for your online estimates? does it automatically store it to show as proof of work?
  4. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,373

    no it's not necessary.
  5. Smith Lawn & Landscaping

    Smith Lawn & Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 854

    Residential contracts not necessary but it does cover your a$$, now commercial that's a different story.
  6. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    I guess if I had a 12 month set fee, I would have contracts
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,507

    Store what?

    Contract states what you are going to do (scope of work)
    What they can expect (inclusions)
    What they need to pay extra for (exclusions)
    And how much it costs in what frequency

    And depending on your needs anything concerning cancellation

    For example
    You drive you to the customers lawn and you unload and they come out and say don’t do it.
    If you want to charge them because you’re out there
    Then you have a 24 hour cancel policy in the contract , if they don’t call you ahead of time, they’re getting charged

    Other contingencies like
    Dog poo
    Yard art
    Kids toys
    Do you charge extra for this stuff?

    If you do
    Put it in your contract

    A contract doesn’t have to be the binding grip of death
    Just sign this acknowledging you saw the rules and the price
    Understand the definitions and here’s a copy for yourself Incase you have questions.

    You can email out your contracts or have them signed in person
    They sign them and email them back or hand them back to you

    I generally have all my contracts in pdf form

    For email purposes
    The email saying yes I agree/do the work is the same as a signature legally
    Keep the emails

    You can make sub folders right in outlook by customer name and any email they ever send you or you send them you move to their file

    Want to find the contract or track a conversation you had with them
    Go to outlook and find their folder
    Done did deal
    turbo_ likes this.
  8. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 2,586

    My commercials have contracts. Residentials have Customer Agreements. Both outline the scope of the work to be completed and my policies. Eliminates the “I thought you said the price included ______?” problems from people who are either legitimately confused or trying to weasel more services for less money.
  9. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,507

    What’s the real difference between contracts and signed agreements?

    I mean after all
    You’re a landscape contractor, not an agrrementer
    Bcoogan23 likes this.
  10. Todd73

    Todd73 LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Florida
    Messages: 2,586

    Nothing. Just don’t use the word “contract” with the residential customers as some, especially the geriatric crowd, are put off by the term.
    DIYOKC and That Guy Gary like this.

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