contract or not?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by lsu03, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. lsu03

    lsu03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    how do you guys handle just a "handshake contract"? do you mow when they want or according to your schedule? how do you not lose them? would you sign a contract w/ a college kid, or would you trust him with just a handshake? they could trust me, but most ppl think of all college kids as one.

    also, the first place i am advertising is in an upscale neighborhood where most ppl are doctor, lawyers, ect. and dont have time to do yard work. would it be to my advantage to offer full maintenance?(weeding, mulching, fert)
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    handshakes are ok.... most places it's a binding contract.
    of corse written contracts are the best. you just have to do a judgement call.

    dont be surprised if you get little or NO responce from the "upscale" neaborhood. sometimes there hard to break into, but after you get your first one and people see you there. it will creat the domano effict..

    dont ask Y
  3. M&SLawnCare

    M&SLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 306

    I've never had a customer sign a contract. I guess it just depends on where your working and the type of people you get. Handshake agreement just seems much more personal and friendly than signing a paper imo. But for higher end residential and commercial lawns I'd offer, but not require them.

    As for scheduling i cut all my lawns weekly or bi-weekly. So we set a day and i just show up the same day every week. As long as your reliable, and do a good job, you shouldn't loose customers mid season. Handshake deals revolve on trust (which is built on reliability and quality). Once your customers trust you, you wont loose them to anything but low balling, something contracts wont help you with.
  4. lsu03

    lsu03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    thanks for the responses so far.:)
  5. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    I've never used contracts myself except with commercial properties. Some people swear by them while others don't bother with them, both have their pros and cons.

    I've found that people don't mind signing a agreement of payment terms but they don't want to be bound by a contract that binds them to a certain service provider for the season.
  6. outcold00

    outcold00 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    what if its raining that day? do you still mow? or just come back the next day? i mean in you mow in rain, crappier cut, and possible mud marks, so how can you even do that to a customer? i have seen people on the thread who say they mow even if its raining or if it doesn't need mowing, or if its brown, i dont get it
  7. kip huddleston

    kip huddleston LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    had a small commercial account last year that was a hand shake agremant. when i called before the season started they were going to have a gay that worked for them that was starting to mow lawnstake care of it. 3 months in to the season got a call from them to come back they couldnt get him to mow. it looked bad when i got it back took me the rest of the season to get it to looking good agian. so if you do good work and they want good work done they will stay with you or will come back. you could just offer a contract to them set up how you and them agree on.
  8. kip huddleston

    kip huddleston LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    we have some companys that that trim and edge ect. when its rainingthe company that does my wifes company that im trying to get does that me if i can i move my jobs that day back a dayif i can
  9. Midwest Lawn Services

    Midwest Lawn Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 211

    I agree. Commercial is a must, and most commercial clients won't even look seriously at your bid without insurance and a contract. All my commercial accounts have them.
    Residential accounts are different. We have never had a contract with any of them. If you are on a monthly payment plan with them, and they don't pay, don't go back! Trying to win a claim in small claims court is not worth your time or the small amount of money you would recoup from the client.... if you win. Just my .02 worth!
  10. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,733

    I have never used a contract. I only do residential and have never had a problem. I leave Fridays open for extra work or the slim chance of rain. I offer anything and everything. If I can not do it, I get someone to do it for the customer.

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