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Unacceptable Contract dates

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Mar 3, 2003.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087


    This year I decided I wanted to attempt to adjust my commercial to residential ratio a bit. The idea was to land some major (for me) commercial sites as well as some small ones.

    Luckily I had several inquiries last fall and was asked to place bids on some sites. So I did. I gathered the data and gave some pretty solid proposals. Some of them were a little on the high end because they were looking to improve from the current contractor.

    Now in the past 3 weeks I have declined to contract on 4 of my proposals. Why? UNACCEPTABLE CONTRACT DATES! I was asked to bid for March 1st to March 1st annual contracts. Now the following have came back like this...

    2 government paid contracts. 1 for grounds maintenance, 1 for athletic turf. These proposals were acceptable less one minor deviation. The 2003 annual budget is still not set. So the existing contractors have been offered an extension of their contract at current rates. Now get this! Through July 1st! This is when they want me to start, July 1 to July 1. NO THANKS!

    2 separate but linked large apartment complexes. Pretty much the same deal, but in this case they want to wait to adjust the budget for it because they are in the process of closing on additional investors. So the current guy remains until June 1st, at which time i could take over from June 1 to June 1. NO THANKS!

    For me, these are sizable jobs and the projected profits were rather large. I am so disgusted with this! I never heard of such a way of trying to contract. Those dates are just unacceptable for me period. Plus I can't believe the current guys are willing to accept these extensions into mid season. I guess maybe they are smaller,less time consuming jobs to them maybe? Or they are just desperate to hold on to the income as long as possible?

    Dang now! What's the odds of that? 4 of them! Now let's add some insult to injury. Again I was sought after to bid on another commercial site. So I did so. Now this location was mid-stream of a buy out at the time and the soon to be new owners had the manager to ask me to submit a bid.

    This one was to be seasonal. March 1st through the end of leaf season. Worked the proposal up and had it ready to submit January 2nd, when the new owners were to have full ownership. Well closing got strung out until last week.

    The manager is still holding my proposal for review when they arrive for the budget meeting, at which time they now wish to meet with me personally to discuss some additional renovations and other add-ons. But back end paperwork ect and weather has delayed our meeting since they must fly down from New York.

    The first payment was scheduled to be due on all the above contracts on March 1st. Lost $$$$$$:cry:

    This is all so stressful for me :cry:
  2. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    Why are the dates unacceptable. If it's a year round contract that pays 12 payments.
  3. NC Big Daddy

    NC Big Daddy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    Whats the big deal?
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I thought that was obvious. If I were to take one, much less 4 of these. I'd get robbed on the deal. Why because they are larger contracts for a solo guy like me.

    So for $X that I would get paid for the June to June contract would be 1 yrs pay. But my time would be tied up and sold for any more mowing from now March 2003 to March 2005. This is because I can't schedule now and there is no guarentee that the contract will renew next June leaving me empty until spring again. That amount of time tied up for the contracts just doesn't seem all tht fair to me.

    Who in the heck in their right mind tries to contract lawn maintenance using such dates?

    Now that I think of it, I know why the guys signed on for the contract extensions. Good money and a very good chance no one will take it from them in mid-season. So they get signed another year.

    Humm....might not be a bad idea to accept the work if I am short of work this season and can fit it in.. Pretty good chance a man wolud keep the job a long time and be able to easily get annual increases with that kind of contract dates....
  5. J&R

    J&R LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 835

    If you sign 1/1/03 or 3/1/03 for let's say one year 12,000.00 in one year you get 12,000.00 I see you point you want payed before you start the work.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Yes if it's $1,000 a month or $12,000 annual contract, by signing now on big contract I have to resrve the time now, March, until July, no pay. then I work and get paid for 12 months. At the end if i get dropped for a lower price, there I am in July with a big gap of time to fill from then until March again. so really I could end up being tied up 24 moths for 12 months pay. Heck at best even if I renewed next July, I still loose 4 months, March through July this season.
  7. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I and probably about 1000 other LCOs wish they had those problems. If you refuse to accept your bids do not expect to be asked to bid again at any time in the future. More than likely you will be black balled. Their are certain issues a customer drives in my business and certain issues they don't. This is defintely a customer driven issue. If a couple of months either way is a make or break issue for your business, then I would venture to say you are too small to adequately service the clients needs to begine with. Your reaction and decisions are unsound. Simply put, you are cuting off one of the many hands that feed you.
  8. lsylvain

    lsylvain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 779

    I would love to have your problem.

    You can pick up as many accounts as you can handle by yourself now and then take 4 months to buy new equipment and find a really good employee and so on.

    I agree that if you lose the contract the next year that will kind of suck, but not really.

    I pick up more customers mid to late summer than I do any other time of the year. It starts getting hot and people get sick of cutting their own grass, scrubs start to quit because its to hot for them and so on.

    Do you have $12000 worth of work you can get from someone else?
  9. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Hate to say it, but I agree. That's business. Getting steamed over it will not help things. Yes, it's a goofy situation and isn't the most ideal. Sounds like you just need to pass on it. Although, situations like that are ideal for some companies. I'd love it. I've got so much spring and early summer work with applications, mulching, lawn installs and plantings, and everything else everyone is gungho to get done right away, the last thing I want to do is cut grass. When the dry hot summer gets here, those monthly accounts are looking pretty good. I suggest taking another look at the opportunities right in front of you. Or, if you aren't in the situation to handle this deal, you'll just have to pass, that's life.
  10. beck

    beck LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    Why not propose a contract length of July 1, 2003 to march 1 of 2005?

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