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pboy8634
02-23-2010, 06:09 PM
Being 17 years old, is it necessary for me to have my customers sign a contract? I don't have any type of business insurance.



-Preston

racerdude711
02-23-2010, 07:01 PM
Preston-

Because of your age, you can't legally sign to a contract. You have to be 18 in most states. I'm from Nebraska, and you have to be 19 here. I'm 16 years old, will be 17 in a month, but I kind of think that people are drawn away from contracts. In fact, I advertise the point of "NO CONTRACTS". Some people don't like the feeling of being tied into something, just my opinion.

Anyway, how long have you been doing lawn care? How many customers do you have? What state are you in?

ProCut TM
02-23-2010, 08:09 PM
I call mine a customer agreement not a contract, it is month to month as does not lock anyone in. It is in your best interest to do this so you have a leg to stand on when a customer stiffs you on a bill (yes it will happen from time to time). Also do yourself a favor and get a liability ins policy, it's cheap and will help you land better clients.

pboy8634
02-23-2010, 08:14 PM
Yeah that makes since, thanks for your input.


Last summer was my first year to really get into the mowing business, I serviced 5 lawns, mostly people i knew or relatives. It whooped my ***, I had a 21" push mower, Echo trimmer, and a Pro Pollution hand blower. The worst part was defiantly edging the lawns with my trimmer, so I invested in an Echo edger at the end of the summer and it cut my time on the yards down so much. I have a Dodge Ram 4x4 lifted 5", and loading and unloading the mower sucked too, I even have a nice little scare on my forearm from touching it to the hot muffler.

But this mowing season I hope to have about 10-15 weekly customers, and I have a buddy that's gonna be helping me this year. He's got a little 4x6 trailer for the mowers and I'm in the process of trying to find a used backpack blower to buy.

pboy8634
02-23-2010, 08:16 PM
I call mine a customer agreement not a contract, it is month to month as does not lock anyone in. It is in your best interest to do this so you have a leg to stand on when a customer stiffs you on a bill (yes it will happen from time to time). Also do yourself a favor and get a liability ins policy, it's cheap and will help you land better clients.

John, am I able to get a liability ins policy at this age? And also, do you have your customers resign your agreement every month?

lklandscaping
02-23-2010, 08:20 PM
John, am I able to get a liability ins policy at this age? And also, do you have your customers resign your agreement every month?

You can "set" how long the agreement is for.

Watchout working with a friend. I did so a few years back, and it has some cons. Make it clear that it is not a 50:50 business.

lklandscaping
02-23-2010, 08:21 PM
You can "set" how long the agreement is for.

Watchout working with a friend. I did so a few years back, and it has some cons. Make it clear that it is not a 50:50 business.

Also... Sometimes it is better (and not to mention more economical) to hire a day laboror for some weeks.

ProCut TM
02-23-2010, 08:25 PM
You will have to check with your insurance agent for that. Worst case scenario you have a parent get you the insurance until you can get it on your own. You do need a business license to get ins. they are cheap too. Best to be legit, it will help you gain trust and more clients. If this is something you want to pursue and grow as a career get it right the first time. Repeat and referral business is how you grow a successful business.

I only have them sign the agreement at the beginning of the year not every month.

lklandscaping
02-23-2010, 08:29 PM
That's what I had to do...... It sucks at first but I can tell it's worth it now.

pboy8634
02-23-2010, 08:35 PM
Watchout working with a friend. I did so a few years back, and it has some cons. Make it clear that it is not a 50:50 business.

Yeah, I was thinking 60:40 if it's me and my friend. If i decide to hire two other guys I'll go 40:30:30.

Does that sound reasonable to you?

pboy8634
02-23-2010, 08:36 PM
You will have to check with your insurance agent for that. Worst case scenario you have a parent get you the insurance until you can get it on your own. You do need a business license to get ins. they are cheap too. Best to be legit, it will help you gain trust and more clients. If this is something you want to pursue and grow as a career get it right the first time. Repeat and referral business is how you grow a successful business.

I only have them sign the agreement at the beginning of the year not every month.

Do you mind showing me an example of your agreement? Or maybe give me some idea's on what to include

ProCut TM
02-23-2010, 08:46 PM
if you only have 5 accounts right now there is not reason in the world to bring on any help. play it smart, work by yourself and save the money for bigger better equipment. Your first mission should be to get a bigger mower. I recommend a 48" walkbehind and some ramps to load it in the pick-up.
this would be way more important than the back pack blower and a friend.

bigger deck = faster cut = more profit = more time for more customers = more money

picframer
02-23-2010, 08:53 PM
As John mentions best to register and at least get Liability insurance, may be different there however here you can set a company up and get insurance at the age of 16 however you have to be 19 for a contract, 16 for an Agreement.

We only enter into contracts on the lawn care side if it's a commercial account or we do quite a few private communities and they want 2 or 3 year contracts which is fine.

Almost all of our spraying is a simple agreement by email, I keep it very simple, same with leaf collection or cleanups but I always have something in writing or email.

Landscaping, excavation and tree cutting/chipping is contract however that is an insurance requirement.

psparaco
02-23-2010, 09:16 PM
When i started my business April 2009. I started every client i gained with a General Service Agreement. Its like a contract but worded as an written hand shake so to speak between the client and myself. I am attaching it for anyone to use. As for going legit. I haven't done it yet. The cost for me where I live for getting my S-corp and fed and state id's are $$$. money i don't have right now. The few snow removals i did this past winter just helped put food on the table. My goal this year is to to get all the licenses, insurances, etc needed to be legit. But if spending the money on better equipment gets me more clients. I'll spend it on that verses being legit. My dad told me if you can spend 600 and get a trailer or rider then do it and it will allow u to get bigger jobs. whats a piece of paper gonna do but put money in uncle sam's pocket. Its not helping you out. only them. Unless ur vehicle has your company name on it. then sure go legit. But for now there is no difference from when i cut grass at age 15 except i have a car and a family to feed. Back then i had 12 clients. from last year i managed to end the year with 19 clients. I figured out i can handle up to 40-50 clients per week before i need to hire/pay someone to help me. My fiance will be helping me when she can which works cause i wont have to pay her, even though she'll see the money one way or another lol. everyone on here is right though. if you got the money to get licensed, insured. the whole 9 yards. then do it. if you could spend that money on a down payment on a truck. then get the truck. the truck will allow you the means to get more clients. the piece of paper won't. well thats my opinion. oh and forgot one thign. my contracts are for 1 year. If they wish to continue the next year they just let me know and no paperwork is needed, since they already signed 1 the previous year. Now if they disgarded the contract. they must resign it. since i made several changes to my contract between december and now. I plan to ask everyone to resign a new contract with me this year.

psparaco
02-23-2010, 09:27 PM
nevermind. its giving me errors attaching the file. So i uploaded the file to my file locker on my internet service provider. click the below link for the agreement. For those of you who wish to use it. please private message me with your email addy and i'll send you the word (doc) file.


http://home.comcast.net/~psparaco/SLC/GENERAL SERVICE AGREEMENT.pdf


paul

ProCut TM
02-23-2010, 09:34 PM
use should not speak in a public forum about breaking the law. it's not about feeding uncle sam, it's about doing the legal thing and staying out of jail and remaining fine free.

You get caught once and that food on your table will not happen, then where will you be? The fines for riding dirty out weight the costs of being legit

you do not need an s-corp or even an LLC
just a license which is dirt cheap anywhere ($65 per year here in FL)
then when you get a few more bucks you step it up and get insurance

you will get more accounts with a LICENSED & INSURED sticker than you will with a bigger mower.

if you don't have good advice it's not worth giving.

racerdude711
02-23-2010, 09:47 PM
Yep I agree!

The people who end up on top, play by the rules. (when it comes to business)

lklandscaping
02-24-2010, 06:02 AM
if you only have 5 accounts right now there is not reason in the world to bring on any help. play it smart, work by yourself and save the money for bigger better equipment. Your first mission should be to get a bigger mower. I recommend a 48" walkbehind and some ramps to load it in the pick-up.
this would be way more important than the back pack blower and a friend.

bigger deck = faster cut = more profit = more time for more customers = more money

Yeah, I was thinking 60:40 if it's me and my friend. If i decide to hire two other guys I'll go 40:30:30.

Does that sound reasonable to you?

He couldn't be more correct. Make the company well established before you bring on and assistance. If you get a large job, or something that requires more than 1 person, than bring on help just for that job.

If for whatever reason you do hire someone, than make sure if he is supplying you with a trailer it is included in your auto insurance, and you cover repair costs. Because he is supplying you with a trailer, your 40:60 pay sounds fair.