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Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by adrianvbarrera, Apr 10, 2003.
Please tell me what you think.
I didnt read through the fine print but it looks nice
It looks like you define things "as discussed". Could this lead to future problems?
Also - minor note, de-thatching is generally not considered the removal of "undecomposed" grass clippings - this I think is misleading. Since grass is primarly water - grass clippings bio-degrade very quickly. Thatch as I have heard it defined is the accumulated layer of dead bio-mass. Or dead bio-mass that accumulates faster than micro-organisms can break it down. Thatch typically consists of dead grass plants and the rhizomes, stolens and crowns of the plants which have more tannin (spelling?) do not decompose as quickly as they accumulate, hence the increasing layer of thatch in more active lawns.
You might just say the thinning/removal of the thatch layer.
Otherwise it looks like you include all of your services and will help a customer to know what it is they are getting. If you find that you're having to write a bunch of things in the margins to make notes for the customer - you might try making two separate sheets. One to cover your landscape maintenance. And a second one that is blank allowing you to write in whatever you need to. This will give you a lot of flexibility. Sometimes one proposal form doesn't fit all sizes.
Lastly - is this a contract? If so, where do you sign as a representative of the company?
The contract mentions nothing about a guarantee of work. It confirms pricing, but there is nothing in here to guarantee you will have work.
Can a customer cancel anytime? What are the requirements to cancel? Just a phone call from the customer?
Can a customer call up during a drought and skip this time?
Here is my contract.
I appreciate any helpful feedback with my contract as well.
It states that 30 day written notice of cancellation is needed. I will reword it to make it more clear that they are guaranteeing work for me.
I appreciate the info on dethatching....will reword it accordingly.
I agree with the fact that one proposal sheet might not include everything without looking like Krap. I will remove the "as discussed" clause from the proposal....better safe than sorry. Thanks.
I have added a space in which the representative of All-Pro should sign, but I remember talking to someone and them telling be that it was not necessary.
Thanks everyone for your input.
I'm not a lawyer - but a contract is an offer to perform services which the customer accepts. In fact, if you want to be technically correct, you should write "offer" over where the representative of your company would sign and "acceptance" over where the customer signs.
Someone asked if this is a contract, is it? If it is, you might want to look into home solicitation laws in your state. There are a lot of guildelines as to what your contract MUST say to avoid problems with home solicitation laws. Whether you choose to follow them is up to you, but it's worth looking into. In Ohio awards can go back to the customer for triple damages plus teh cost of the contract if the court finds in favor of the customer. So if the customer wants to nail you for nothing more than not having your paperwork in place - they can use home soliciation laws.
You might call your contract/proposal an agreement that the customer can cancel at any time. After all, their satisfaction is what should keep them coming back to you, not a required date. This also gives people some measure of security in knowing that they aren't locked into or committed to your company for a set period of time.
Just a few thoughts... hope it helps.
I saw your proposal template.
This is what I think about it. Remember this is just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt and a shot of Tequila.
1) Think about the 2% late fee. I don't think that customers will be motivated with that little penalty and you come off sounding like a bad guy.
2) your are charging $30 for NSF....the state of Texas limits that to $25....I might be wrong. You state that the charge is for NSF...what about stop payments....are those free of charge? You should state that if the check returns for any reason they have to pay a return check fee.
3) This document is not all that you are giving your customers is it?..the State of Texas requires that you give them a two-part form of a Notice of Cancellation. Which states that they have the right to cancel the contract within 3 days for any reason and they will get any money back that they have paid you. If you don't give them the form, all of your contracts are automatically VOID. Worst is that they are entitled to all of their money back even if you have mowed for months.
4) why are you giving your customers 30 days to pay you. 30 day pay cycle is mostly for Commercial accounts because it takes that long for the Accounts Payable Dept. to process the invoice. I would shorten it to 15 Calendar days and stop service after 7 days of delinquency.
You mow my lawn 4 times in the past month....you bill me. I sit on the invoice 30 days(4 more cuts) then you wait 15 more days(2 more cuts) before you stop mowing. That is 10 cuts in all....Lets say that your minimum is $30 then it adds up to $300 just on the mowing alone. Too much of your money in the customers hands.
Now going back to my proposal.
You state that No guarantee of work is stated....how do you do that. Where in your contract is that clearly stated.
Thanks for the help.
Thanks for the input. I am aware of the solicitation laws and will follow them accordingly.
Actually I had forgotten to write in a clause that our state demands to be put in this type of contract.
Thanks a million.
I appreciate the feedback.
++++This document is not all that you are giving your customers is it?..the State of Texas requires that you give them a two-part form of a Notice of Cancellation. Which states that they have the right to cancel the contract within 3 days for any reason and they will get any money back that they have paid you. If you don't give them the form, all of your contracts are automatically VOID. Worst is that they are entitled to all of their money back even if you have mowed for months++++
I have no idea about any law of this nature, but I would think that is probably more for door to door sales of material goods. I doubt the courts would let a customer change his mind AFTER you've mowed his lawn and applied fertilizer or whatever. That makes no sense. But if a guy comes along selling magazine subscriptions or whatever, door to door, that might be a little different. A customer can change their mind within 3 days and cancel...the seller isn't really out anything. But the customer can't return a mowing after the lawn is mowed.
I doubt I'll ever end up in court. The written form just spells out my requirements. Hopefully it eliminates any potential mis-understandings between the customer and myself. I think a justice of the peace would rule in my favor based on this form if the customer doesn't pay, though I'll probably just be writing those losses off anyway without trying to drag some deadbeat into court.
++++Think about the 2% late fee. I don't think that customers will be motivated with that little penalty and you come off sounding like a bad guy.++++
I don't really expect anyone to actually pay the late fee. But if they pay it, I'll take it. It's more of a negotiation tool. When a customer is late with payment, I'll call them and mention the late fee. But I'll let them know that if they make payment in full immediately, the LPF will be waved. To tell the truth, no one has ever taken the time to actually read my terms and conditions anyway before signing. I just hand them the clip board, they ask "where do I sign" and that's it. That's why I'm having them initial the part about skipping.
++++why are you giving your customers 30 days to pay you. 30 day pay cycle is mostly for Commercial accounts because it takes that long for the Accounts Payable Dept. to process the invoice. I would shorten it to 15 Calendar days and stop service after 7 days of delinquency.++++
I actually spent a lot of time thinking about this. None of the bills I get every month require payment within 2 weeks. Most basically give me till the next billing statement comes out. I figure I won't be any different. I'm trying to be as professional as possible, and I'm certainly not asking them to leave a check under the door mat each week. If a customer won't pay I'll be out a little more labor than I would with a 2 week due date. But at the same time, a lot of people only sit down to pay bills once a month. I'll see how collections go, and I might have to print up another batch of contracts stipulating 2 week payment due dates.
As for the NSF charge, I have no idea what the legal limits are. If a customer actually has the ability (money) to hire an attorney to fight me in small claims court (and I really don't expect to take anyone to court anyway) they probably have a legitimate reason for not paying.
Again, the contract is basically there to serve three purposes for me:
1.) The customer and I agree on price and it's in writing
2.) The customer understands that my service is weekly (as I explain verbally every time) and there is no skipping
3.) By having the customer sign a contract, or order form, or whatever you want to call it, it shows me that they're at least half way serious about paying the bill...if anyone refuses to sign the paperwork that could be a good clue that they have no intention of paying.
I wish like hell that I could run this business without extending any credit whatsoever. I just don't see that as a possibility. I thought about billing a month in advance, bounced it off the lawnsite folks, and the idea was shot down in flames. I might try it once I start getting calls from the yellow pages, but since my only advertising is cheap door flyers and business cards, I'd rather just avoiding the arm wrestling of getting a check before I've done any work.
Let me tell you what I am doing....most people here would probably not agree. I am invoicing them as the job is completed. No end of the month.....just invoice them when you are done with their lawn. Now keep in mind that I just started this past Monday 4/07/03. I dropped flyers during the weekend and just started working on Tuesday. We have a total of 5 weekly accounts for lawn service and two of those wanted other higher priced services(seasonal cleaning and trash haul off). All in all we brought in this week was $373 for about 1 and half days work. But it was scattered thru the week.
A business that is just starting needs all the cash flow that it can take in.