Wanted, a simple contract

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by crawdad, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    Ya, ya, do a search, you're gonna say. 2702 results to sort through, most with obscure thread titles.
    I've had this mowing job for three years, dealing with the, I guess she's the VP, she's the bosses wife. The other day I get a phone call from a foreman that I have worked with, at a local construction company. He tells me the boss-ladies brother has been laid off from his job, and he will be doing the mowing, "for 4-6 weeks." Ok, big deal, two lawns, I'll replace them. After getting off the phone, I begin to stew. If they want to help him, hire him at the company, I think to my self. The two lawns are every other week lawns. Mowing day rolls around, I drive by the main office, it's half mowed. Next day, it is finished. Scalped. Another week rolls by, the second lawn that I mowed for them still isn't mowed! Looks like crap. I stopped in at the business across the street, where everyone would get in the window and watch me mow. Told them, I am not responsible for that mess across the street. This guy is taking my work and making me look bad. I am expecting a call from them sooner or later, and I want to be able to say that I will bring the paperwork to the office to get them back on my schedule.
    I have not been using contracts, as it seems that the market will not bear it in this locality. Now it seems that I need to rethink this policy, and need something basic as soon as possible. I may not get these lawns back, when they hear their new prices, and I bring a contract to their office. That is OK with me, but I want to see the look on their faces when I tell them they need to sign up, or I won't do the work. They are contractors, they don't use verbal contracts for their projects.
    Please keep the "I told you so" posts to a minimum, and thank you in advance for the help.
  2. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    No one wants to share a simple contract? I gotta do a search tonite, I guess. I went by one of the lawns yesterday, still not mowed. I want to be ready if/when they call.
  3. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 269

    I've got a contract that I've been using for residential this year. It works great for residentials, but I know it won't do for 99% of commercial accounts.

    I'd love to see some example commercial contracts.

    What is the primary difference between residential and commercial contracts? Just the term of the contract?

    DFW, TX
  4. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

  5. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Messages: 1,647


    I have to tell you.

    I've been watching you............................like what I see...........your a big help here :)

    Is your program able to sleamlessly work with QB?
  6. lrose2

    lrose2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165


    Just sent you a PM.
  7. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

    Gopher 2003 Plus & Pro can export your customers, payments and invoices with line item details to QuickBooks via an IIF file. We are working on tightening the integration so that it will eventually be as seamless as possible. Right now there is an export step involved in transferring the data. This step is very simple. But we are going to make it even easier in the future.
  8. crawdad

    crawdad LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,938

    Thanks, I'll check out those links tonight.
  9. lrose2

    lrose2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 165

    Well, crawdad, did you find what you were looking for?
  10. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Crawdad - maybe the question is a little ambiguous. What type of contract do you want? I can think of several things that would make a response a little more helpful.

    You mention a business, so is your contract for only commercial work or will you use the contract to handle residential customers as well?

    Will your contract be a fee for service or installment type contract?

    You will also need to make some business decisions when you write your contract. When you write a contract you are stating the method in which you operate your business.

    One consideration you'll want to make which is what you're asking in your first post is what you want to do about customer cancellations. Do you want to legally bind your customers to your contract even if they're not happy with service? Often times you'll see in contracts that either party may cancel the contract with written notice, maybe 48 hrs notice. Some have 30 days notice. Even though you have a contract for a 1 year period, what happens when a business is sold or moves? Do they still have to pay you for the entire value of the contract? My opinion - I'd let them out of the contract.

    Other things to think about when writing your contract:

    Time frame for payment
    Penalties for late payment
    NSF fee
    Collections policies and fees
    Personal guarantee from owner of business for account balance
    What is the time frame of the contract?
    What is the scope of work to be completed?
    How is the work priced?
    What about change orders or amendments to the contract?
    Liability concerns
    Warranty issues (if you're doing installations on the contract)

    Often a contract is set up with the front side identifying who is "Offering" the services and who is "Accepting" the services. Also define what work is included (scope of services) and the pricing. These are the variable factors.

    On the back side of the contract you would have the general terms and conditions where you lay out the provisions for payments, collections, NSF, liabilities, change orders/amendments, etc.

    Remember that each state has different laws so you'll want an attorney to review your contract to make sure the statements in your contract are legal in your state.

    Also, residential work has different requirements for contracts than do commercial customers. I would highly recommend your consulting with an attorney for the residential if you're in this line of work.

    Hope this helps a little.

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