PDA

View Full Version : Contract OR No Contract ??


gomarshall12
02-03-2013, 09:21 PM
Simple question ... CONTRACT or NO CONTRACT?

I want to see everyone's opinion, and WHY? for BOTH Residential AND Commercial contract OR no contract use.

mac83
02-04-2013, 05:53 AM
I do not use contracts for ( Res. ) Work . I do use contracts for ( Commerical ) Work.

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
02-04-2013, 07:21 AM
Many residential customers don't like signing contracts, Up until last season I never pushed the issue but I had two customers that I could not collect $$ from because I had no signed agreement in place which prevented me from going after my money....

This season I will have all signed agreements in place, it's just good business :cool:

I find it easier to sell if you have an out for the customer, I include a just cause section which allows the customer to terminate the agreement with a written notice and a fee.....;)

jsslawncare
02-04-2013, 08:03 AM
I don't have contract's for anyone.

gomarshall12
02-04-2013, 09:56 AM
Many residential customers don't like signing contracts, Up until last season I never pushed the issue but I had two customers that I could not collect $$ from because I had no signed agreement in place which prevented me from going after my money....

This season I will have all signed agreements in place, it's just good business :cool:

I find it easier to sell if you have an out for the customer, I include a just cause section which allows the customer to terminate the agreement with a written notice and a fee.....;)

I could certainly see the benefit of having one. I feel it will be a harder sell, but that is something to save your butt in the end if it comes down to it.

Cashin H&P
02-04-2013, 10:12 AM
I have contrats for all maintance accounts worth over $200 a month, so all lawns that are $50 + per cut. I do this because I feel that is the amount of money that is worth going to court for if the custome doesnt pay. I agree with having a way for the customer to break the contract, you need to cover your ***.

bblawn08
02-04-2013, 02:55 PM
we have contracts with everyone we do buissness with, we used to not have res. contracts but then some people wouldnt finish paying at the end of the year, so now we do contracts for everything we do some still dont like it but once we explain why we have to they dont seem to mind signing it.

LawnBoy0311
02-04-2013, 04:10 PM
I don't use contracts. It's been a good selling point for me. The customers don't feel like they are stuck with me and it gives the the choice to go if they want. But I don't advertise "No Contracts", nor bring it up in conversation. If they ask I tell the there isn't one. It puts them at ease with me and makes them more comfortable. I haven't had any big problems with non payers...I have a nice letter I send to them and they usually pay. This year everything is prepay so I won't have to chase money. I'm taking the Cheese approach on things.

I see both sides to the story though. If it's a big job like some of the guys were saying, a contract would be a good thing.

Maybe one day I'll look into doing them, but if it works for me now, theres no point to change it.

dpld
02-04-2013, 04:50 PM
i use contracts for everyone and everything and i think it is foolish to not use them.
the problem is there is confusion as to what the contract means.

my contracts are a clear outline of what will be done and for how much and the customer is signing it agreeing for the said proposal and is promising to pay for what is done.

there is no commitment and if someone wants to opt out they are free to do so and just pay what you owe and we will be on our way with no hard feelings.

some companies use contracts as a means to rope people in.

most commercial insurance carriers want to see a valid contract in the even of a claim and contracts are one way of them preventing insurance fraud.

it is also a very important tool in collecting your money if legal channels need to be explored.
i have in 23 years only had one person that i had to go to court with and it was because of that contract as well as my other means of record keeping that pretty much made it a clear home run shot for me in the court room and proved the dude was just trying to get something for nothing.

unfortunately in this day and age you can not go by the gentleman's agreement anymore.

it is also how you present it.
i go there with my quote sheet and fill it all out and give them a detailed estimate and tear off two of the three copies and hand it to them and tell them that if they want to move forward just sign the authorization to do the work and return 1 copy and we will schedule the job.

most of the time they sign it right there and then and others may have to wait for their hubby to look it over and then they send it.

the word contract never gets uttered out of my mouth, it is a authorization to proceed with the work.
it is required by my insurance carrier.

even if it is a lawn contract where you will be there for 8 months or so the contract just outlays the schedule, duration and cost of the work and the billing terms and if someone wants to bail in june they are free to do so, it's their choice.
i have heard of guys that use automatic renewal contracts that include penalties for early termination and those are the contracts that give them a bad name.

all you need to do is have the pen and paper version of the gentleman's handshake agreement for your typical everyday job and for commercial you always got to have it in writing and you need to be a lot more detailed.

gomarshall12
02-04-2013, 06:54 PM
i use contracts for everyone and everything and i think it is foolish to not use them.
the problem is there is confusion as to what the contract means.

my contracts are a clear outline of what will be done and for how much and the customer is signing it agreeing for the said proposal and is promising to pay for what is done.

there is no commitment and if someone wants to opt out they are free to do so and just pay what you owe and we will be on our way with no hard feelings.

some companies use contracts as a means to rope people in.

most commercial insurance carriers want to see a valid contract in the even of a claim and contracts are one way of them preventing insurance fraud.

it is also a very important tool in collecting your money if legal channels need to be explored.
i have in 23 years only had one person that i had to go to court with and it was because of that contract as well as my other means of record keeping that pretty much made it a clear home run shot for me in the court room and proved the dude was just trying to get something for nothing.

unfortunately in this day and age you can not go by the gentleman's agreement anymore.

it is also how you present it.
i go there with my quote sheet and fill it all out and give them a detailed estimate and tear off two of the three copies and hand it to them and tell them that if they want to move forward just sign the authorization to do the work and return 1 copy and we will schedule the job.

most of the time they sign it right there and then and others may have to wait for their hubby to look it over and then they send it.

the word contract never gets uttered out of my mouth, it is a authorization to proceed with the work.
it is required by my insurance carrier.

even if it is a lawn contract where you will be there for 8 months or so the contract just outlays the schedule, duration and cost of the work and the billing terms and if someone wants to bail in june they are free to do so, it's their choice.
i have heard of guys that use automatic renewal contracts that include penalties for early termination and those are the contracts that give them a bad name.

all you need to do is have the pen and paper version of the gentleman's handshake agreement for your typical everyday job and for commercial you always got to have it in writing and you need to be a lot more detailed.

Thank you! That was very helpful :)

turfmaster
02-06-2013, 12:38 AM
Contracts for commercial and contracts for residential only if they request it.

Norcal
02-07-2013, 10:59 PM
I don't use contracts. It's been a good selling point for me. The customers don't feel like they are stuck with me and it gives the the choice to go if they want. But I don't advertise "No Contracts", nor bring it up in conversation. If they ask I tell the there isn't one. It puts them at ease with me and makes them more comfortable. I haven't had any big problems with non payers...I have a nice letter I send to them and they usually pay. This year everything is prepay so I won't have to chase money. I'm taking the Cheese approach on things.

I see both sides to the story though. If it's a big job like some of the guys were saying, a contract would be a good thing.

Maybe one day I'll look into doing them, but if it works for me now, theres no point to change it.

I agree with the contract thing we don't use them we have a service agreement and we prefer year round service and if you start a month you finish it. If there is a problem with the service tell me and I will step my game up if you still dont like my best tell me to kick rocks and i will be done at the end of the month. based on this I still have the first 25 to 30 account I singed 4 years ago and still getting new account based on this method hope I still have them 10 years from now and the new account to come up to 77 now and not looking back I love game. Nothing like writing your own ticket.

LawnBoy0311
02-08-2013, 05:42 AM
I agree with the contract thing we don't use them we have a service agreement and we prefer year round service and if you start a month you finish it. If there is a problem with the service tell me and I will step my game up if you still dont like my best tell me to kick rocks and i will be done at the end of the month. based on this I still have the first 25 to 30 account I singed 4 years ago and still getting new account based on this method hope I still have them 10 years from now and the new account to come up to 77 now and not looking back I love game. Nothing like writing your own ticket.

I can't agree more. I think it gives an edge over your competition. Or it may attract the wrong type of customer....who knows. I did a quote yesterday for a lady, she said she wanted to sign up and asked for the contract. When I explained I don't do them, she laughed and said my services get better and better. I explained to her that if she isn't happy, let me know and I'll fix it. If I can't fix it, kick me to the curb and we'll both more on. It makes them feel at ease, and a good selling point is "I have to earn your business each month by not having a contract". I do, however, send out new customer letters explaining in detail the job to be performed and payment.

I think for commercial accounts its just plain stupid not to have a contract. I worked for a fairly large family owned company before, and it was a HUGE PITA trying to collect from other companies. Not to mention, those contracts were what kept them in business. A good one has to be in place with every detail written out.

dpld
02-08-2013, 10:38 AM
I can't agree more. I think it gives an edge over your competition. Or it may attract the wrong type of customer....who knows. I did a quote yesterday for a lady, she said she wanted to sign up and asked for the contract. When I explained I don't do them, she laughed and said my services get better and better. I explained to her that if she isn't happy, let me know and I'll fix it. If I can't fix it, kick me to the curb and we'll both more on. It makes them feel at ease, and a good selling point is "I have to earn your business each month by not having a contract". I do, however, send out new customer letters explaining in detail the job to be performed and payment.

I think for commercial accounts its just plain stupid not to have a contract. I worked for a fairly large family owned company before, and it was a HUGE PITA trying to collect from other companies. Not to mention, those contracts were what kept them in business. A good one has to be in place with every detail written out.



i am confused as to why you think a customer can not do all of the above with a contract?

a contract and a service agreement are the same thing essentially for this business and a contract is not only good for you it is good for the customer too.
it protects them from a guy saying he will cut their lawn for 30 bucks a week and decides after he realizes he priced it too low from raising it to $40.00.

all it is doing is outlining what you will be doing and what you will be charging for it and when it will be done and for them by signing it is saying i authorize you to do the work as described above and i will make payments according to the terms of the agreement.

if it is a maintenance contract mine clearly state that if at any time a customer is not satisfied with my services and i have failed to remedy the issue they can at any time cancel my services and will only be responsible to pay for services up to the point of cancellation.

in 23 years i have never not gotten a job because i gave them a proposal in writing and required a authorization signature.
maybe the area's we live in are that different but in my region you can not do a estimate or get a job without someone asking you to put it in writing.

LawnBoy0311
02-08-2013, 11:21 AM
i am confused as to why you think a customer can not do all of the above with a contract?

a contract and a service agreement are the same thing essentially for this business and a contract is not only good for you it is good for the customer too.
it protects them from a guy saying he will cut their lawn for 30 bucks a week and decides after he realizes he priced it too low from raising it to $40.00.

all it is doing is outlining what you will be doing and what you will be charging for it and when it will be done and for them by signing it is saying i authorize you to do the work as described above and i will make payments according to the terms of the agreement.

if it is a maintenance contract mine clearly state that if at any time a customer is not satisfied with my services and i have failed to remedy the issue they can at any time cancel my services and will only be responsible to pay for services up to the point of cancellation.

in 23 years i have never not gotten a job because i gave them a proposal in writing and required a authorization signature.
maybe the area's we live in are that different but in my region you can not do a estimate or get a job without someone asking you to put it in writing.

I think thats it right there. Don't get me wrong, I have everything backed up. For example, I won't start a job until an email confirmation is sent. This way it's all documented. Hacking into an email and reading emails is the same crime as opening a mailbox and reading letters.

I don't know how much this has to do with it, but part of promoting my company is saying I'm a USMC veteran. With all government work around here, and many military bases, a lot of people relate to me and I relate to them. I got a new customer yesterday, she works for the government. She asked about my service, I briefly told her about it, and we shook hands and went from there. This area also has A LOT of guys doing anything and everything to make a quick buck. Many are unreliable and do terrible work. Showing up on time for appointments goes a long way with a lot of people I sign up. You'd be amazed at how many customers say "Wow, I can't believe your on time", or "Thanks for even showing up!"