Can you believe this!!!

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Pilgrims' Pride, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. Pilgrims' Pride

    Pilgrims' Pride LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA.
    Messages: 481

    Got a call from a customer that I have been working for for over three years.
    Customer says I never had an agreement with you for this year and I have been using trugreen.
    I'm stunned.
    Again I've worked for this guy for three years and he has always been a "blank check" kind of customer.
    He has been a slow payer from time to time but he always paid.
    The man has a hefty balance with me for four visits and he says he doesnt think he owes me anything.

    I start in September of every year thanking people for the business for that season and remind them that I will do my best to contact them over winter to discuss the next year.
    I do point out that if I do not reach them I do expect to return in the spring unless I'm notified otherwise.

    Everyone gets at least two letters like that before the end of the season.
    Then they get a renewal letter with prices for the season and a prepay option. Again I remind them that if they don't call I'm coming.

    It's JULY now and Mr. Silly Homeowner is calling saying he didnt get a letter and did not know I was coming.

    OH MAN!
  2. Hamons

    Hamons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    Signed contracts are a good thing in situations like this
  3. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 707

    I feel your pain Pilgrim.

    This is why we only do one application at a time, What I mean is we do an application, it will be about 6-7 weeks before we're scheduled to be back out....thats plenty of time to sit down and write a check to us. We also send statements out to anyone who has a balance that has reached 30 days...anyone, no matter how well we know them or how long we have serviced them.

    Of course there are times when we need to be on property before the 6 weeks, like when we do a lawn app and 2 weeks later need to do a tree/shrub app. But even in these situations, with new customers, we give them a call and ask them to leave a check before we can do the tree app.

    Anyway, sending monthly statements to every customer is a good idea (or as we do to every customer with a balance that has hit 30 days) If you had been doing that you could have ended this customer relationship long ago and wouldnt have to deal with 'how i'm i gonna get paid for services rendered?'

    good luck with that
  4. Pilgrims' Pride

    Pilgrims' Pride LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA.
    Messages: 481

    I was bit@hin to my wife about this guy.
    She had a great idea how to fix him.
    Boy I'm glad the wife is on my side!
  5. Evergreenpros

    Evergreenpros LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,154

    Legally you can't form an agreement by sending somebody a notice stating "If I don't hear from you we have an agreement" So he's right about not having a formal agreement for a yearly lawncare service. However:

    1. He was fully aware you were servicing his property.
    2. He has had your service before, he was aware it wasn't free.
    3. Conversely there was NO contract between parties that even implyed the service was free.

    In short, he was reaping benefits from your service and not paying you for it. Send him a nice letter, settle for half, and add a few days to your life by letting it go.
  6. Brody11

    Brody11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I feel your pain. You do the right thing by servicing his lawn, which is what you assume he wants, and his laziness to call and cancel is your fault. Take him to small claims, if it is enough money,you will win. He should have called you after the first service.
  7. beransfixitinc

    beransfixitinc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    So, in that respect, how do you explain the number of websites and services that continue to charge a credit card a monthly fee until they are notified that you no longer wish to receive and use their services? I believe that if the person has signed something before that has included some kind of clause like this, then by all binding means, it should be legal for you to take him to court for 1. Not notifying you, and 2. not paying for services rendered.
  8. Ryan Lightning

    Ryan Lightning LawnSite Senior Member
    from CA
    Messages: 554

    Tell him to show proff he has used trugreens services. If he did, I would forget about it.
  9. MrBarefoot

    MrBarefoot LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    "Legally you can't form an agreement by sending somebody a notice stating "If I don't hear from you we have an agreement""

    I am not sure you are legally correct, and different states have different laws. But I am sure (at least in Michigan) you can do this.

    If your bid form states that your service is an ongoing service, and you will return every season until canceled, then when the customer accepts the service then he agree's (whether he knows it or not) to that.

    We send postcards out over the winter to remind them that our service is ongoing and they need to cancel if they don't want our service.

    I have used this in small claims, and it has stood up to the "We didn't have a contract this year" defense.

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