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Has anyone started using signed contracts for lawn care?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Pilgrims' Pride, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. Pilgrims' Pride

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

    I know we have talked about this before.
    But I was wondering if anyone has started using contracts.

    Til yesterday I have always done business on a handshake.

    Many time at closing the new customer will ask if they need to sign anything and I've always said no.

    But then the other day a two year customer beat me out of a treatment/payment.

    I spoke with the customer in the fall and confirmed (verbally) her service for this season.

    I did her spring feeding and the next day she called and said "I got this little note in my mailbox saying you did my lawn. I never signed up for this year and I'm using someone else this year. I don't know what to tell you about the bill, Good luck collecting!"

    I called her and she said the same thing again.
    The bill is for about $200.00.

    I know I could "sic the dogs on her". But at this time of year who has the time.
    I asked her if she'd split the bill with me since she did tell me last year she'd be back in spring. She said she'd think about it. I won't get my hopes up.

    Anyway, I drew up a contract ages ago that is very specific from end to end.
    My lawyer liked it and now I'm using it.

    I'm going to require signatures from all customers.
    I'm done getting ripped off.

    I got my first new signed account yesterday.

    Have a great season,

  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Here in Michigan, we are required by law to have a service agreement before we can apply any pesticides. The terms are then all just included in that,..including the continuing service from season to season, unless informed by customer.
  3. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Messages: 2,572

    I don't set foot on a property without written permission (service agreement/ work contract). First it proves I am permitted to be there....second, in court it proves there was an agreement.

  4. Tscape

    Tscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,370

    Exactly what I was going to say. There is no satisfaction like when a customer claims they didn't sign up for this year, and you send them their own signature right under the line that says, "this is a yearly service that will continue from season to season, until cancelled." I wouldn't do it any other way. Any customer that balks at signing a contract is trouble anyway.
  5. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,733

    In Wyoming, a handshake and a verbal agreement are considered to be a bonding contract.
  6. Garth

    Garth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    I always use a contract for services for one year. This includes a clause that states that if either party wants services to end it must give a description of why, thirty days to remedy the situation, and payment for all services rendered. There is also a clause stating that any attempt to collect payment is subject to 1.5% late fee and contractee paying all court cost and collection agency fees. This comes with a "Scope of Work" that list everything we will do to the property with any extra work done for an added fee. We haven't had any problems, and it's nice to have that signed contract copied for the crew chief so that some of the richer, "give me everything for nothing" people that we sometimes deal with haven't a leg to stand on.
  7. cleancutccl

    cleancutccl LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 698

    I use them to weed out the pita customers, anyone not willing to sign a contract is asking for trouble. Also my customers pay in advance for the season services with an equal monthly payment. The contract lays everything out and I make sure the customer understands it. Only had a few customers not take service because of it, better off anyway.
  8. Duramax99

    Duramax99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    NY it is required by law to have a signed contract to have maintenance services.

    No contractie No workie :blob3:
  9. Pilgrims' Pride

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

    The contract is pretty much what you have all described.
    To weed out the PITA's that I dont need and to make sure we all understand each other.
  10. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    "Never" do anything without a signed contract!!!! We tell all our clients its for there "Benifit"....I've stated the work and prices + NYS sales tax, now there is no misunderstanding...Plus if they default, its so much easier in Small Claims Court in the winter, You're always a Winner! payup payup

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