Contracts VS. Handshakes

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ONEBLADE, Sep 9, 2009.


    ONEBLADE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    I have recently purchased a mowing business from a family memeber with 2 kubota dz18's, trailer, blowers, trimmers and edgers with about 30 lawns. All of the lawns are on a handshake basis. I have not had any trouble yet with payment and all have stayed with me. I plan on getting more accounts. Should I start doing contracts or stay with the handshake?
  2. Kennedy Landscaping

    Kennedy Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,597

    I would say do contracts only for snow removal if you choose to do so and commercials. Just the residential mowing though I usually do a "handshake"
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I think as long as it's smaller accounts, you keep on top of getting paid (terms set up so you're not risking much if someone no-pays and you cut them off when they become past-due), and you're doing doing any big outlays of materials or anything, an informal agreement will do fine.

    The advantage is that people are easier to get as customers if you don't hit them with a big contract. That will lead to some flakes bailing after a month when the college kid gets home to take over, yes, but over time you'll wind up with people who want to be your customer, not ones who are forced to stick with you begrudgingly due to a contract. Do good work and be reliable and you'll have very few cancellations anyway. These days especially some people may not be up for a long term "commitment", so it may help make selling easier.

    Start doing commercial work and big ticket stuff and I'd definitely get it in writing.
  4. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I like doing "agreements" better than contracts. I have never done a contract with a residential customer. The agreement just explains what will be done by me and what the customer is expected to do (ie, picking up toys/dog poop in the lawn). This way the customer knows exactly what is done, and won't argue about what is to be done. The agreement is not binding in anyway, they sign both copies, and I keep one and they keep one. Though I have been doing "handshakes" with alot of my other customers in years past, not many problems with that though.

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