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Sample Contract

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by IrishHank, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. IrishHank

    IrishHank LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    To all of those who have more experience in this business than myself. This is my contract for residential accounts. I need some suggestions anything that should be added or deleted! Criticizm is welcome.

    Attached Files:

  2. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Messages: 1,053

    Get thirty days. My commercial contract is four pages! It is very detailed and provides for early cancellation. Yours is great for homeowners. But CYA on the commercial contracts.
  3. Heller Landscaping

    Heller Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204

    Lawncaresuccess has a great contract. It is really put together well. We use it and have not had a problem at all.:)
  4. IrishHank

    IrishHank LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    113 downloads, and 2 people have comments. It's not like I am trying to get something for nothing here guys! Give me some feedback, good or bad. If anyone has a sample of their contract, I would like to see it. IrishHank@msn.com. Thanks!
  5. Jason Pallas

    Jason Pallas LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,332

    Irish - feedback: it's not a bad contract - looks like it would do the job for 95% of the bids. Maybe a little short - but hey, like I said it should do the job 95% of the time. Short and sweet - if it's working for you, go with it. I don't have any major probs with it. If a customer wants a little more detailed or expanded contract, you've got lots of room to write that in. It looks fine.
  6. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 269

    ++++113 downloads, and 2 people have comments. It's not like I am trying to get something for nothing here guys! Give me some feedback, good or bad. If anyone has a sample of their contract, I would like to see it++++

    If Florida has the same grasses that I see here in North Texas, I would think that the Bermuda & St Augustine will go dormant during the winter. Unless you're far enough south that it doesn't go dormant.

    I strongly considered a contract along these lines, but decided against it in the end. This contract/billing set up provides you with a lot of protection against the "just skip me this time" phones calls. However, I assumed that many residential customers would call to cancel the service when the grasses entered dormancy. Each time that happened, I'd not only be losing a customer, but I would have cut myself short on the weekly mowings by not getting enough money per mow during the 100 degree summers.

    If you're far enough south that the grass doesn't go dormant, I would think you'll be ok with most customers, though there is still a risk that they may attempt to cancel after the weekly service is over and all they need is bi-weekly service for the next few months. You're getting a lot more per mow in the winter than you are in the summer. If all LCO's played the game the same way, you'd be fine. But there are cheap customers in this world who will save a buck every chance they get. A cheap minded customer may be tempted to find an LCO that charges by the mow, rather than by the month, come next November. I'd be concerned that you are giving your cheaper customers a reason to leave your service in the winter and you're working too hard to get them as customers and keep them happy in the first place.

    The other possible solution would be to do some sort of average billing, like the electric companies are doing. Basically, you write up a contract just as you have it, but if they cancel at the end of the summer, you send them a huge bill for service performed but not yet billed. Problem is, if you do that, you'll once again be providing incentive for the customer to call in the morning during drought conditions to say "skip me this time".

    Alternatively, if you made the contract a one year term, I would think you'd be protected from the cheap skates. But then you'd have to battle with the customers who are too afraid to sign a long term contract. And I think that would be even worse, since for most customers, this service is a luxury expense. This is a totally discretionary use of income for most home owners.

    I decided to set my contracts up on a per mow basis. But now, I can already see that I'll be battling the 'skip me this time' customers all summer when it's dry. So I'm revising my contracts such that they initial next to a sentence that states "If Customer Elects To Skip A Scheduled Mowing Due To Any Reason, Customer Will Be Billed For Regular Mowing That Week Even Though No Services Were Performed." In an earlier paragraph, my order form says "Weekly mowings from late March through mid-November." I think this will fly with customers. I probably don't want the customers who are objectionable to this anyway. But there is a certain amount of pressure for a customer to sign up when you're on their lawn talking to them about your service. Especially when the lawn needs mowing really bad and the weeds are knee high. When you're in this situation, believe it or not, you've got some leverage.

    I made my contract more like an order form than a scope of work. I wish I could post it and get feedback from others, but it isn't in Word, so even if I did post it, no one would have the necessary software to open it.

    One last thing: I would consider changing the cancellation requirements from verbal to written. I think it would provide you with more protection from the dead beats. I just know that eventually, you'll have some guy who won't pay and he'll say "I told you to cancel back on such and such a date". In my former life (telecom), we saw this all the time. Your defense, in court (if it ever comes to that) would be to say "Please show the court a copy of your cancellation letter." When a customer is cancelling, what do you care if it isn't super-duper easy for them anyway? And I promise, no one is going to refuse your service because of a written cancellation requirement. After all, you're out there mowing their friggin' lawn in 100 degree heat...it's not asking to much for them to send you a written notice that you've been fired.

    By the way, one of my friends is an attorney and he thinks that if the customer doesn't pay, I can get a lien on his property here in Texas. It's not a mechanics lien, but some sort of artisans lien or something. So far, everyone has paid me. But I know it's a matter of time till I get stiffed.

    DFW, TX
  7. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 269

    I'm going to try to attach my contract for you to see. I scanned it into JPEG format. Hope this works.

    I appreciate any comments on what I'm doing right/wrong with this contract. Each time I print it, it's costing $43.

    DFW, TX
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 9,404

    Looks O.K. to me. I have the paragraph below in mine in case they are thinking about not paying.

    In the event of default, the client agrees to reimburse Gesner’s Lawn Care & Landscaping, LLC all administrative costs, collection costs, attorney fees, recording fees and/or court costs. Client further agrees to pay a $20.00 fee for each check returned from the bank for any and all reasons.
  9. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 269

    OK. The system won't let me attach the JPEG because it's over 640 X 640. I'll try again with an insert of the JPEG into MS Word:

    Attached Files:

  10. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 269

    Ok. Here it is again. I need feedback from others on this board who have experience. This is the thrid revision of my contract. What should I be doing differently with regards to my contract? What am I doing right and what am I doing wrong?

    Thanks in advance,
    DFW, TX

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