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How do I get people to sign a contract?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Joel D, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. GreenUtah

    GreenUtah LawnSite Senior Member
    from SLC, UT
    Messages: 866

    I'll agree with many of the others, remove the word "contract" from your vocabulary.

    In it's place, proposal, service agreement, work order are all fine. You want any of them to carry the following:
    - Your price per service and what exactly is being provided for that price
    - the length (term) of the ordered work and the frequency that it will be performed. (a date window with weekly, bikweekly, etc.
    - The terms of payment (monthly, weekly, 30 day net, etc.)
    - What happens if they are late or do not pay (late fee %, collection fees, etc,)
    - and how they give notice to terminate the agreement.

    Most of those can be in preprinted fields at the bottom just above a signature and people will never think twice about it.

    From a closing perspective, the phrase is, "Here, If I can just grab a signature we'll get you started."
    If they ask what this is, you simply reply that "It's just an outline of the work you asked for and the price we quoted you, so that you have it for your records."

    That allows you to shift it to their benefit and keep it low key...you'll have far greater success getting the signature if you keep it just a matter of the mundane and routine, for the customers benefit.

    and be sure to give them a copy..lol
  2. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Utah is right, ask for the signature very low key and non nonchalantly and keep the conversation moving, make it a routine procedure, company policy type thing. If they bark at it you'll have to either be prepared to say that's the way we do business at xyz company or we can't schedule the work without a signature, or worst case we're sorry we can't work without a signed service agreement.
  3. Daily Lawn/Landscape

    Daily Lawn/Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 695

    It's like this. If they don't sign a service agreement we don't provide any service. PERIOD
  4. Mayers

    Mayers LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 18

    I don't call it a contract, it's a service agreement that spells out what you can expect from me and what I expect from you. If someone doesn't sign it I won't start service.
  5. Joel D

    Joel D LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    I call it a lawn care agreement also. I picked up a new customer yesterday, and had her sign it. At first she was like, "I don't want to sign a contract." So of course I told her is just terms agreement. I then got schooled on how it is still a contract. Turns out she is a lawyer. She signed it, and I left feeling like an idiot.
  6. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    ok i read most of the replies than i stopped so if someone else said what I am going to say Im sorry.

    I am currently working on two documents, 1. a terms of service sheet that the customer will sign to acknowledge that they understand what services will be conducted at our standard. 2. A service agreement that will state the agreement between the customer and I. I will allow the customer to terminate the agreement as long as they send written notice 2 weeks prior the termination. The two weeks will allow me to be notified of the issue, and it will give me some time to fix the issue, and if they would like to continue they can if not they can walk away as long as all previous balances are paid in full.

    A contract (service agreement) can be a verbal contract as long as it does not exceed $500. It does not need to be on paper as long as it doesnt exceed 500 (weekly mowing doesnt exceed 500 EVER). so if your not doing major jobs, you really dont need a contract.

    As long as you are a professional company and represent yourself correctly a customer shouldnt mind signing an agreement. For example, take a cell phone company such as verizon if you went in there and the employees were dirty, talked as if they were talking to their friends, and looked unprofessional would you sign a contract with them? No probably not, but since they are a professional company we all do. Most of us probably dont even read the terms of service, we sign because how they represent themselves.

    Good luck
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,937

    This is one of the best posts on this thread. One does not have to be a lawyer to understand this. Trying to redefine terms for your convenience changes nothing. Which round file was used to file your document when you left the house?

    The next post speaks of Verizon. Their document is "service agreement" but all the nomenclature around the transaction is always termed "contract." Look at the advertising, "... this phone on a two year contract is just $49...."

    Remember that many (most?) of our residential customers are those of enough means to hire an LCO to cut their grass. Many of these people are in business of some form. And, most likely they deal with contracts, service agreements, legal documents every day. They better understand transactions for products and services far better than anybody who cuts grass. These are commonplace transactions for them, and undoubtedly have more than $1,000, $1,500, or $400 riding on the deal. They could have millions involved. And, they need to have legal protection, and a contract that is well crafted to cover many aspects.

    My point is that we can easily forget who is across the threshold of the door. I suspect they are far, far more skilled and experienced in dealing with contracts than any of us who spend most of our days cutting grass, spreading mulch, or trimming bushes. We might pull a light blanket over the eyes of a few, but probably most are in a position "to school" (using the previous comment) the average LCO about contract-based transactions.
  8. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Just your luck, LOL but she is right!

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