Is a Hand Shake Good Enough?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Freddy_Kruger, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,064

    How many ppl use a hand shake rather than a contract? and why? (I prefer it because I almost never get ripped off and I'm not going to sue anyone anyhow):canadaflag:
  2. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 2,412

    I also use a hand shake and thats it. Haven't got ripped off yet.
  3. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    I use a handshake as a greeting, not a formal agreement. If I feel that I am going to need something other than a verbal agreement then it's contract time.
  4. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    I have used both, specifically the agreement/contract for commercial proporties, verbal agreement for residential.
    A verbal contract is legally as binding as a written one. Now some on here will say ya but it more difficult to prove and easier for the deadbeat to fight against. I had to take only one guy to court last year based on a verbal contract, and won the judment very easily.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I think a service agreement or contract as you may call it, adds another layer of professionalism to your business. This industry is not highly regarded by many people, and a SA at least makes the customer realize that they are hiring a business vs. something else. Not saying that if you go the handshake route you are unprofessional...

    A service agreement at least spells out and clarifies some of the basics...price, frequency, billing method, etc. People aren't usually paying full and complete attention to everything that is said to them, I prefer to have the important stuff laid out on paper.
  6. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    I have done it with a handshake for 9 seasons. I think I have been burned once or twice for a few hundred bucks each time. But thats still darn good.

    This year, I have a service agreement that I will use on certain types of customers only.

    I tend to avoid asking someone, who probably is a lawyer,and lives in a $750,000 home, to sign something.

    They like me, I like them.

    I would suggest some sort of service agreement for the client who gives you any signs of a red flag.

    But, in all honesty, anyone is capable of screwing you over. It's not a bad idea to have something in writing.

    See how I played both sides of the fence in my response? I'm good at doing that:)
  7. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454

    Last year I was pretty adamant about service agreements, this year not so much. I picked up a couple new LOLs (little old ladies) and I didn't have the heart to ask them to sign anything. The only area that I'm a stickler about is the chemical apps. Everyone signs, and I blame it on my insurance company.

    That being said, this is all just for residential accounts. Commercial will always be contracted.
  8. ArkansasLawns

    ArkansasLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Residential - no
    Commercial - yes
  9. westwind

    westwind LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    If your accounts are contracted then it is a equitable asset. Meaning you can use your accounts as leverage for loans or to sell. Not contracting accounts in my opinion is un-professional. Established companies use contracts as a way to forcast revenue as well as adding equity to your business. Why would'nt you contract all of your accounts??
  10. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    People are sometimes afraid of signing anything.

    Some other guy will get the job.

    I like the idea of having chemical app. customers always signing.

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