a guy i know been in business 23 years. he always laughed at me, because i demanded signed contracts, pre payments, and took nay payers to court. he used to say, "if you can't float your customers, you don't deserve them! and, contract, what the hell is that? that's the dumbest thing i ever heard. and, due date? that's rediculous, hey, i like when they don't pay, i know i'll get it eventually, it's like money in the bank to me. ." well well well, guess who came knocking on my door today...or i should say, crawling up the front steps. he looked so pathetic, he really did. "bob, i need your help.....it aint like it used to be. can u help me make a contract. what should it say? how do u do it? how do you get your money in advance, instead of chasing it? i need help." i said, "sit down george...no, not there, that's my seat, sit over there, towards the back. ok, you got any cash? (he coughed up 2 twenties) great, that'll do for now." and i proceeded to tell him about how he should do things. the man was defeated, whooped, beat down to a mere boyscout. he went on to tell me, how i had the advantage, because, i started up (11 yrs ago) when the industry was changing, and i got wise to the crap. he said that, "in the old days, within a 30 mile radius, there were maybe 5 lawn companies, and we all named our price. business was done on a handshake, and we all did well. boy, has that changed, i'm afraid this business has changed, and i have not adapted very well." i looked at my watch, asked him if he had anymore cash on him, he said no, so i threw him down the stairs. so tell me, has anyone been in the lawn business 20+ years, and how was it, in the old days?