Does anyone here do contract?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    I hear bad things about doing contracts and also good things. But a lot of clients I talk to don't want that. If I do develop contracts what would be my selling point.
  2. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    Budget. Same price all year. Everything is taken care of by you and only you.
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  3. RiggitanoLandscape

    RiggitanoLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Only for really big contracts like over 10,000.00 per year. In my part of the country it is like the wild wild west the cheapest wins and the more trash talking the better for most, so contracts are not really popular. The only selling point i can think of is if you can put grass cutting, lawn treatments, mulch, and clean up's on one monthly payment for the season, so they are not paying 1,000.00 out of pocket for the clean up job and paying extra for the treatments it will like one price that they pay over whatever the season is, like 6 months or 8 months, something like that.

    But again where I live you are lucky to get paid for anything and people think you are crazy for asking for any money at all for doing the job.
  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,062

    contracts are essential, if the client doesn't want a contract, then you dont want that client.

    You are a landscape contractor, contractors have contracts.

    The bad thing about contracts is if they are written badly.

    A contract can be as simple as something written stating "I will cut your grass, every time I do you will pay me $X.00" sign here.

    You can get contract lawyers to help you write more intensive ones. You can get green industry consultants to help you. You could get me to help you.

    Unless you find an angel, or do it yourself, It will probably cost you some money. But if so many successful companies are all using contracts, do you think it's worth paying to get them drawn up?

    I would say, resoundingly, yes!
  5. charmill26

    charmill26 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    I have never done a contract or have seen a reason to. I feel they definitely have their place though. From my point of view they would be a must have on the larger accounts like Riggitano said. I have a very high customer retention year to year. The customers I do work for chose me because they want me. (referrals only). For the last year the only customers I don't do work for anymore are the Pita's, the ones that have moved(I often get the new owner though), and the customers that are either too far out of my way or don't fit the type of customers I go for. I think if I was focused on high volume with a lower price and average quality a contract would be beneficial.
  6. charmill26

    charmill26 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    Also I might add I have never heard of any customers talk of ever having any sort of contract. I would think it also just depends on what part of the country
  7. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    Not everything works for business or every customer. I have all my HOA's sign a contract. I try to push the year round service agreement everywhere I can. I handle over fifty lawns and only two of them are year around. I strive daily for much more. I have about half my other lawns on a signed standard service agreement. I went to a service agreement two years ago when a neighbor beat me out of $400. I did not dare take a contract to my existing customers. Each new customer signs some type of service agreement but it is bad for business to ask a customer to sign one that you have been doing business with already without one.
  8. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    Contracts protect you and the customer.
  9. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    I think right now, 75% if my customers are on contract while 20% are weekly pay per mows and then. 5% are mow bi-weekly or as needed. The non contract customers are very helpful for cash flow during peak seasons. I still try to attain more and more landscaping jobs to fill my guys' time. I'm in a tricky spot right now, and contracts are actually causing me some headache. I have way to much work for me to do by myself, but not enough to hire a guy full time, just maybe 30 hrs a week. With my contracts this time of year is nuts. Aeration then shrub trimming, weed treatment, leaf cleanup, mulch/needles and then still mowing. With contracts, all of that is included in the monthly price so you have to really budget if you plan on getting help. The customer pays x amount per month to get it done. They don't care what you have todo that month they just want it to look great so it is up to you as the owner to meet those needs on the price you quoted. This time of year I am covering cost and then some, but in two months it will almost all be money in the bank. Hope that helps
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  10. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,445

    While we have our customers sign contracts, they aren't contracts like some people assume with equal payments each month broken up. It simply states the work we will do, mow, weed, mulch, cleanup (whatever the customer wants for services); how often we will do it, and how much the charge will be. It really is only meant to keep communications clear and keep all customers on the same page. It also states what happens in case of rain, the height of grass cut is upon our discretion, etc etc. Just basically an agreement for the season. I used to send them out near the end of winter but I think I'm going to mail them all out the end of this season so I know exactly what customers want next year. When I sent them out in the early spring, there were always a handful of customers that we wouldn't hear back from until their grass was already a foot tall and a mess. If you explain to customers that you just want to keep an open line of communication and call it an agreement, you should have very few complaints. Such contracts are totally unheard of in my area, but I gave it a shot and got everyone on board.

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