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Lawn Care Agreement

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by HB Lawn, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. HB Lawn

    HB Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 199

    I will be sending out the following as attachment to my yearly agreement, any thoughts, goood or bad????


    1. All HBLS customers will be assigned maintenance service on a weekly basis on a scheduled day each week during April to October and bi-weekly/tri-weekly during November to March. However, due to circumstances beyond our control (such as rain delays, grass not growing), the customer understands that there may be a delay in normally scheduled service. It is understood that the type and severity of the problem will have a direct impact on the amount of delay experienced. If it rains for longer than 3 days there will be no service until the next week at the normal service day.

    2. On the scheduled day of service, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the lawn is free of toys, hoses, portable lawn sprinkler, all gated areas accessible, and other objects that interfere with the maintenance of the yard. HBLS will not be responsible for damage caused to such items left on the lawn. HBLS has the right to refuse service or cut around without moving items, if the lawn is not cleared prior to arrival.

    3. For everyone’s safety, please use caution when approaching while HBLS employees are using equipment. It is especially important to keep children and pets inside the house while lawn care equipment is being used.

    4. If a pet is kept at the property, the lawn must be free of pet droppings when HBLS is scheduled to service your yard. Failure to do so will result in a $5 equipment cleanup fee.

    5. Any damages must be reported within 24 hours of service. Failure to report damages within that time frame constitutes a waiver, and releases HBLS from liability.

    6. If you use a lawn fertilization service, please schedule it at least one day before HBLS arrives on the property for your lawn maintenance.

    7. When HBLS arrives at the property to provide service, all tree limbs and palm fronds shall be kept trimmed so that no injuries occur while maintaining the lawn. If the tree limbs and palm fronds become unsafe to work around, the lawn area around these trees and palms will not be cut until they are safe to work around.

    8. This service will include: Mowing, Edging, Trimming and blowing off concreted areas. If you are not satisfied with the level of service you are being provided, please notify Harry Burroughs Lawn Service immediately (same day before 4pm) so that we can correct this in a timely manner.
  2. Scagguy

    Scagguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,522

    Well written imo. I like #4. Maybe you should move it to #2 as that is what it deals with. I'm implementing the doogie doo charges next season.
  3. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    #8 Just curious. Don't you work past 4:00 any time? also what if the customer doesn't get home from work until 5:00 or better yeat after dark some nite?
  4. HB Lawn

    HB Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 199

    We work in a retirement community only. We do about 30 lawns a day and are done around 4pm every day.
  5. Elite Lawn Care

    Elite Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    Put a collections clause in it also, "all bills will be paid by the 15th...failure to pay will result in late fees and possibly collections... all fees associated with collections are added to bill...returned checks subject to 25 bux plus bank fees..." things like that followed by their signature means very little trouble getting paid.
    also be more specific in your triming mowing edging, I learned that the hard way once, bid a property and had that in the contract and trimmed the house and garage, trees too, they wanted all of everything done all four acres plus barn plus hedges on far side of property... really they did because it was in the contract. Cover your own but, that what a contract is for.

    #3 should not say "use caution" it should read stay clear of all employees usign eguipment.
  6. Flex-Deck

    Flex-Deck LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,845

    To be perfectly honest with you, if I was your customer and saw that list, I would be looking for another company. Most people in my opinion hire the mowing done because they do not want to put up with some of the inconvieniences the job sometimes entails. Just my opinion.
  7. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    I'd have to agree ...that may not fly too high .....the idea is correct ....just some of the wording n the way it comes across ....kinda stern ....maybe just me ... but I also don't send out yearly aggreements ... as we cut year round

    I've been cutting down here fore almost 15 years ... issues like doggy poo .... palm fronds don't bother me ....(if one of my guys cut around a palm fron ...he'd get a day off without pay) .... locked gates n late payers .... that bothers me

    Maybe the rain is more of n issue in your part of Fl but over here .... we work in it fore the most part ...n never skip a whole week in growing season

    I under stand stuff on the lawn as it's a pain ....but not as much as finding new customers

    n if my guys broke something ....I step up to the plate n fix it ....I don't care if its a week later ....I'm no fool n have called bs on those that have tried ... but if it's clear to be us ....than that's on me

    n the 4pm thing .... that's ...well ....confusing ..... if we do a poor job ...it's a poor job n we fix it ... again even if its the next day ....I send my foreman out on his time ....n that usually fixes that

    I understand what your saying ...n not trying to be an A-hole ...just read it a couple of times ....give it too a friend to read ....

    Either way ....have a great Christmas
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Let's see....

    1. It is unclear from this language if the customer still has to pay for the mowing that got skipped because of weather causing a 3 day plus delay. I'd clarify that. An "assigned day" is a double edged sword that allows them to expect you on a certain day, but also causes them to think you forgot them if you change the mowing day. It limits your flexibility in scheduling. I prefer language that tells them you'll be out every 6-8 days. This gives you a way to get out early if you expect rain late in the week or are just running ahead of schedule and don't want to quit working. It also allows you to come out sooner when grass is growing faster, so it doesn't get too tall to handle. You may never do that, but if you say "scheduled day" many will hold you to it rigidly, and consider you "late" if you show up 8 days later.

    2. Sounds perhaps a little too stern. Better language would be "please clear any objects from lawn to avoid damage to them. We cannot assume responibility...etc. etc. I've had exactly zero damaged objects in lawn fights with customers in 15 years. So I wouldn't make a huge deal of it.

    3. good. But this is one area I would actually strengthen the language to make it clear you will NOT be mowing around kids or pets. Too much downside there

    4. i guess it's a personal thing, but I think this sort of thing comes with the business. If I had a dog I'd just find another lawn service rather than run around picking up in my back yard for the lawn guy.

    5. mistake. What if the customer isn't home for that 24 hour period? What if they don't happen to scan their entire property for damage every day? No reasonable person would agree to this term, and in law this might be what they call an "unconscionable" clause. This means a judge would throw it out anyway. So why turn customers off with it? If you broke something you broke it. If you didn't, them calling 2 weeks later or 2 hours later doesn't matter.

    6. Useful. But again, when you assign a single day of the week for service, you are going to run into problems with these companies if you get even slightly off schedule. Perhaps better language would be to suggest that they schedule apps more than 1 day before/after your visit so as to have a margin of error, and also to include language that you are not going to work around the applicator, they need to work around you, and that you will not be responsible for any re-aps needed. You're there 30+ times a year, they're out maybe 6-7. But they have a schedule and weather to work around too. So it's best to give each other as wide a berth as possible to avoid conflicts. Trying to be too strict will just make the customer think they need a "one stop shopping" lawn service that does both apps and mowing.

    7. Again soften the language to sound more cooperative. Perhaps let them know that if you find this situation when you arrive to mow, you'll leave a notice or them to modify the situation, and if not trimmed before then, you'll trim them yourself and bill them the next visit. And realize that sometimes it's easier to just take a minute and trim something yourself rather than make a big deal about it and sour a business relationship. If a property's trees are so badly overgrown that it's unsafe to mow the lawn you need to mention this to them at quote time. I've lived in Fla and am wondering why palm fronds would be a problem. Just ask the customer if they want you to pick them up and charge them or just mow over em.

    8. Again not everyone gets home and does an immediate inspection of the lawn. And who gets home before 4pm? Even retirees leave home. Just include something saying feedback is appreciated. If you have people calling 3-4 days later to complain about quality on a regular basis, you have a much bigger problem than when they chose to call you to complain.

    You also need to of course clarify things like trip charges for when someone has an obstructed lawn and you can't work (painters there, a party going on, etc) , and to let you know in advance if contractors or other "events" are going to be going on in the lawn. Also late payment fees and penalties and terms, and clarify what happens financially if you have to skip a cut because of THEM.

    Finally, remember that being a stickler for strict terms works both ways. The more you demand of them the more they may hold you to a strict interpretation of things. "you didn't show up on thursday, I'm not paying". etc. etc. Decide how important things are before codifying them. When you give a little, and show that you're reasonably easygoing, they will usually return the favor. Some won't, but you don't want to do business with those types anyway. With time you earn trust that is worth more than any regulations.
  9. Flex-Deck

    Flex-Deck LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,845

    I find it rather interesting that the posts supporting the "insert" with all its demands are posted by 1 and 2 year in business type individuals.
    The posts that tend to think the "insert" is abrasive, over-demanding, and possibly a scare off the customer type thing have been in business for many years. This is just one more case for having the age and years in business in the signature. Just my opinion. I have a post in the middle of this thread somewhere-Thanks Brad
  10. jbone

    jbone LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    I think changing the "language" of the insert would be helpful, and in regards to the fert apps. maybe having the customer contacting you to let you know when the application is scheduled or they call you to find out when you plan to mow, so they can schedule one around the other.

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