Contract or No Contract?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Exact Rototilling, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I have 2 mowing clients that are weekly. Rototilling jobs have ceased for now. All verbal agreements and no written contracts. We have agreed on a scheduled time with an alternate day. I trim, mow and blow and I am paid for each service. I show up the following week and repeat.

    Am I doing something wrong? What is the advantage of having a contract for the customer & me?
  2. wooley99

    wooley99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I have a couple properties on contract for year-round, maintain everything in the lawn. And a few that I maintain weekly on a handshake so I'm very interested in the replies of those that actually know what they are doing.

    Separate question just cause I'm curious, what do you charge for rototilling and where's the demand?

  3. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    At this time, I only do contracts for semi-big landscape jobs. None of my mow customers are on contract. But I am thinking about going with the contract next year for mowing.
  4. MeadowsLawnCare

    MeadowsLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    I let the customers choose. They either go one month payments on contract or verbal if they only have up to 2 mowings per pay. A benifit of contract is to state legal things in writing such as "were not responsible for damage to malfunctioning sprinkler heads" Stuff that you verbally agree on will hold up in court much better when its in righting :p
  5. J&T Kiev

    J&T Kiev LawnSite Senior Member
    from N.W In.
    Messages: 416

    I use a contract for landscaping installs, and Lawn Maintenance. There are some good reasons for residential and commercial contracts. Signed contracts make your company more appealing when you go down to the bank and apply for a loan , and more valuable if you should ever sell, Give you added leverage if you need to take a customer to court for non-payment,put customers on seasonal contracts, put in a cancellation clause, fuel surcharges etc. With a contract, youÂ’ll have a solid document of all pertinent information.
  6. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,612

    other then not being responsible for damages, What does a contract state? If a business signs your contract but in return doesnt like your service, can he or she just let you go or its an agreement that you get paid anyway?
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378


    As for Rototilling I charge $49 min and that covers the 1st hour beyond that I charge an additional $49 per hour incrementally. There are some low ballers in my area who charge less. Some jobs only take 20 to 35 min or so but I do a knock out job and most people really notice especially when someone else has tilled for them in the past. It is not uncommon for people to be so impressed that I'm paid more than my quoted price. I've had several referrals from my 1st phase of customers. I mainly try to compete with what would be a minimum charge for some one to rent a quality decent rear tine tiller for 2 to 4 hours. The soil here is very rocky which means you take a serious beating as well as the equipment. Tilling season is in the spring to early summer. Not sure about fall tilling but I'm expecting only a fraction of the work. I'm planning on being licensed in a neighboring state which means collecting state sales tax etc and I expect to be absolutely swamped next spring.
  8. HBLandscaping

    HBLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    Can someone send me a copy of the contract they use. I have a real short (3-4 line) contract and I want to redo mine in the off season and have a really clear, Clean, professional looking contract. I want to see what others have in their contracts that I may put in mine, I'd like to see the different wording that is used, Payment time lines & non-payment clause, cancellation clause/fees, Change order fees, fuel surcharges, additional cost, etc.

  9. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I use what I call "agreements". it's a non-binding service agreement, cancelable by either party for any reason at any time. Basically, it spells out what I will provide in terms of services, when and how the customer will pay, but leaves both the HO and myself with an easy out if for whatever reason, we want to sever the relationship. Commercial accounts, which I don't do, would require a contract in most cases, and is in the best interest of both parties.

    My HO's like having something in writing that says what they will get for their money, but aren't comfortable signing a legal document. It simply clarifies what is and what isn't included in the service plan they want. Never had a cancellation. The argeement has helped to clear up some misunderstandings. If the customer is a headache, I also have an out.
  10. NC Greenscaper

    NC Greenscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    PM me with your email and I'll send you a copy

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