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Bought accounts this year.. think I'm getting screwed

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  • Bought accounts this year.. think I'm getting screwed

    This is my first year in business. In May, I paid $8k for 23 accounts that gross $3k a month for lawn cutting and $12k for spring/fall clean ups. He originally wanted $12k for everything so it seemed like a good deal at the time. Well, over the course of the next couple months 8 people quit. Now another person just quit cause I don't do snow plowing. He told me he would take care of the snow plowing the first year but he hasn't answered his phone for me or any of the customers the last 3 months. So I basically paid $8k for 14 accounts.

    When we made this deal he ASSURED me nobody would quit. 9 quit so far. He ASSURED me that he would stay on with me the first year to answer phone calls and such. Never answers one. He ASSURED me that he would do the snow plowing the first year so that nobody would quit. Well now it appears he won't be doing that either so it looks like I'll probably lose even more. I've worked this entire year to pay off what I dished out and by the time next year comes around I'll probably only end up with 10 accounts. How badly am I getting screwed here and is there anything I can do about this?

  • #2
    Was anything is writing or was it all verbal? If it was all verbal, theres really nothing you could do.

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    • #3
      Happens all the time. Buying accounts is just a bad idea. Try and build the business is all you can do. Tough lesson learned I'm sure.
      Don't Keep Replacing Lawn Sprinkler Heads
      Protect them with "Sprinkler Buddy"
      CLICK HERE > http://www.sprinklerbuddy.com

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      • #4
        Not too sure if this will help, but if it was verbal, send him a letter via certified mail. Outline everything he has not held up to and put a little note that you'd like to get it resolved or you'll be in talks with your lawyer.

        Was there a non compete involved, or a clause saying he can't come back and take all his customers back??

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        • #5
          Not too sure if this will help, but if it was verbal, send him a letter via certified mail. Outline everything he has not held up to and put a little note that you'd like to get it resolved or you'll be in talks with your lawyer.

          Was there a non compete involved, or a clause saying he can't come back and take all his customers back??
          We did write up a contract but nowhere in the contract does it state what happens if people quit. Same thing with the snow plowing. It doesn't state anywhere that he was to take care of the snow for the first season. Those two things were agreed to verbally. The guy went to school with my sister and lives around the block from me. He had this whole demeanor like yea I know your sister and we're practically neighbors, so I'm not gonna screw you over. He seemed like a trust worthy guy so I went with it. "How many people could possibly quit" I thought. The contract only states non competition and the said price for said number of accounts. It also states that he is relieved of all liability and insurance.

          Here is what I agreed to in the contract, word for word:

          "Party Two agrees to pay the estimated sum of $8,000 for 23 lawn accounts in said towns. It is the duty of greenscapes to maintain the proper customer service of the listed accounts in order to retain yearly contracts."

          Well I did maintain the proper customer service. Everyone quit for reasons unrelated to my service. They either moved, couldn't afford it anymore, or some other reason out of my control. That's the part that I feel I may have some sort of case against him. Except, how do I actually prove before a court that the people who quit did so for other reasons, not having to do with poor service?

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          • #6
            Happens all the time. Buying accounts is just a bad idea. Try and build the business is all you can do. Tough lesson learned I'm sure.
            yup I'll never do this again thats for sure..

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            • #7
              Doesnt look like anything you can hold him to. Customers can quit for any reason (contract or not). A contract only makes it harder for them to quit, but they still can. In the case your in, looks like your out 8K.

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              • #8
                i am sorry to hear it did not work out for you but from the sounds of it there might not be much you could do about it because you both had some of the agreement on paper but yet some other key area's of the agreement were not included in the written agreement and mostly agreed upon verbally.

                i know a few people that bought existing businesses and it worked out well for them but i know dozens of guys that got screwed buying businesses almost the same exact way in what happened to you.

                all you can really do from here is hope to retain all the people you can to get a further return on your investment and hopefully you can recoup all your money and some more for your troubles and chock it up for experience and avoid that from happening again.

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                • #9
                  The guy doesn't own the customers so I have no idea how he thought he could sell them to you. Boggles the mind.
                  Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                  • #10
                    We did write up a contract but nowhere in the contract does it state what happens if people quit. Same thing with the snow plowing. It doesn't state anywhere that he was to take care of the snow for the first season. Those two things were agreed to verbally. The guy went to school with my sister and lives around the block from me. He had this whole demeanor like yea I know your sister and we're practically neighbors, so I'm not gonna screw you over. He seemed like a trust worthy guy so I went with it. "How many people could possibly quit" I thought. The contract only states non competition and the said price for said number of accounts. It also states that he is relieved of all liability and insurance.

                    Here is what I agreed to in the contract, word for word:

                    "Party Two agrees to pay the estimated sum of $8,000 for 23 lawn accounts in said towns. It is the duty of greenscapes to maintain the proper customer service of the listed accounts in order to retain yearly contracts."

                    Well I did maintain the proper customer service. Everyone quit for reasons unrelated to my service. They either moved, couldn't afford it anymore, or some other reason out of my control. That's the part that I feel I may have some sort of case against him. Except, how do I actually prove before a court that the people who quit did so for other reasons, not having to do with poor service?
                    well brother you should rethink need to adjust to the situation if i dint have a truck ill rent one and if i dint have the money rent a plowing truck ill be shoveling snow,about start doing snow removal. to cesar what is from cesar.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, Grass Doctor hit it right on the head.

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                      • #12
                        "Party Two agrees to pay the estimated sum of $8,000 for 23 lawn accounts..."


                        Seriously? "estimated sum"? Sounds like he could say you owe him MORE if he wants.

                        When I was 14 I sold a dirt bike with a note signed by the buyer ("sold as is") that was probably more legally binding than the example you posted.





                        Good luck. Learn and move on.
                        I guess I just live in an area where "buying accounts" isn't necessary because there are always people out there looking for a lawn guy.
                        Advertise.

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                        • #13
                          Sorry about all this happening.

                          How did all this go down? When you put your feelers out saying you were interested, did he take you out with him to meet the customers before you bought the customer list? Did he tell you how much he was charging each customer and did that price seem to be appropriate to you?

                          Did you get any equipment out of it?
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                          • #14
                            easy there fella's! I'm sure he feels like cr@p after spending a hard earned 8K. Maybe we should try to keep the bashing comments to a minimum? Afterall, he was just trying to make a living. We've all made bad choices. I KNOW I HAVE!!!!

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                            • #15
                              Sorry about all this happening.

                              How did all this go down? When you put your feelers out saying you were interested, did he take you out with him to meet the customers before you bought the customer list? Did he tell you how much he was charging each customer and did that price seem to be appropriate to you?

                              Did you get any equipment out of it?
                              well he posted an ad on craigslist and i contacted him about the accounts.. it turned out he was friends with my sister in HS and knew most of my sisters friends. no equip was included and he never introduced me to the customers. he just sent out a letter notifying them. he sent this letter out a month after me giving him the money. he did show me a contact list with all the prices and drove me around to see all the properties. most of the accounts were right next to each other too which was good. seemed like a good opportunity to add onto the 15 accounts that I had already gotten myself, putting me at about 40 accounts in my first year. plus my father was letting me use his truck, trailer and equip to help me get started so not too many start up expenses. i didn't mind droppin some money as long as they were good accounts. we both didn't really see the point in getting an attorney because we felt like it was simple really.. "you don't screw me over, I won't screw you over" i've worked for my father landscaping for about 14 years and i've never seen accounts quit unless you do a pretty bad job. so i was confident nobody was really going to quit. based on that, I guess i didn't really see the point in getting an attorney. even when i asked him "ok but what if some people do quit?" he replied "trust me nobody is going to quit as long as you do a good job" well, i did do a good job. while i know this is partly my fault, i'm just pissed off this guy can't keep his word as a man. he assured me and gave me his word nobody would quit. ultimately that's why i never went with an attorney because i decided to trust him and now he's just avoiding me like a plague. if it were 2-3 i wouldn't sweat it. but we are looking at nearly 10 now and almost half the accounts.

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