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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

to sign or not to sign a contract that is the question


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:57 AM
z50kidd z50kidd is offline
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Default to sign or not to sign a contract that is the question

On this business I am starting,I bought this mans equipment,and he said the customers were thrown in at no charge.But no guarantee on customer base.All his customers (residential) were by hand shake,no contracts signed.He has been in business for 4 years.He is leaving the business due to health reasons.I stand to inherit 40 customers from his original base of 50.Some of the ones I won't get were his family members,church members and one is moving (renter) military.I am torn on this,because a contract would be nice for year round.As it is right now,he only cuts his customers once a month in dec,jan,feb.But he told me ,alot of his customers did not like contracts.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:47 AM
cklandscapingorlando cklandscapingorlando is offline
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I dont do contracts for resi. It's a waste of paper. Your invoice every month is gonna do the same as that contract in court. What you need is a non compete from the guy your buying from. If the deal is free work and your only paying for equipment, then why do you care? Count your blessings if their really free I would say
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Old 01-09-2010, 12:57 PM
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How did he help you and the customers with the transition? Did he take you to each client and give you a chance to meet with them?
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:41 AM
C&R_Lawn_Care C&R_Lawn_Care is offline
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i agree with ckland

resi customers do not really like contracts just becuase .... If you lose one there is 1000 more wanting there lawn cut

but when you get into commerical work where is not as many so make a contract and do your best/





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Originally Posted by cklandscapingorlando View Post
I dont do contracts for resi. It's a waste of paper. Your invoice every month is gonna do the same as that contract in court. What you need is a non compete from the guy your buying from. If the deal is free work and your only paying for equipment, then why do you care? Count your blessings if their really free I would say
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:41 AM
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I always do contracts with residential, unless its towards the end of the season like end of August. Here is the reaon why. My contract is outlined as follows: their name billing address and actual address of property to be serviced. A number to contact them at, and some general terms. Terms such as what their service is limited to, a line stating the yard should be free of obstructions such as toys, lawn furniture, trash prior to our visit. Also all pets must be secured as to pose no threat to my personnel. A line stating if they need to postpone a scheduled service, they must notify us within 48 hours so as not to pay a fee of $20 fee for us wasting our time to come out when service wasnt wanted at that time. any of all services listed can be terminated at any time by either party for any reason and all monies owed shall be owed at time of termination. Payment for one time services is due upon completion of service. checks returned for insufficient funds would incur a $50 service fee and may interupt reoccuring services. I think you need to have a contract on top of an invoice. if you don't they may try to take advantage of you and pay you when they feel like it. try to get additional services for free and more or less take advantage of you. If anyone would like a copy of my general service aggreement (GSA), let me know and i will post it on here. I took several GSA samples on here and made my own from pieces of each. I have also tweaked it over the past few weeks to add in the fact i am implementing monthly prepayments and only accept weekly payments on a case by case basis.

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Old 01-25-2010, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
If anyone would like a copy of my general service aggreement (GSA), let me know and i will post it on here. I took several GSA samples on here and made my own from pieces of each. I have also tweaked it over the past few weeks to add in the fact i am implementing monthly prepayments and only accept weekly payments on a case by case basis.
I'd love to see it here, thanks!

Can you tell us a little why you use it? Do you feel there have been issues you have dealt with in the past that lead you to the point of using a contract?

Do you feel they are there to help protect you from getting burned by the customer? Or what is your view?
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve View Post
I'd love to see it here, thanks!

Can you tell us a little why you use it? Do you feel there have been issues you have dealt with in the past that lead you to the point of using a contract?

Do you feel they are there to help protect you from getting burned by the customer? Or what is your view?
ok attached is my General Service Agreement contract for your review. I value everyone's input to improve.

I added in the monthly pre-billing due to several extremely late payments last year. I don't want to deal with that headache no more. You want to pay weekly. there is a fee. as you will see in my contract. I feel this contract binds me to them over some kid in the neighborhood going door to door for on the fly mowing and doing a crappy job. I had this happen as well last year. I had a contract with one client. they hired for the day some kid to do their yard for half the price. no trimming, no cleanup. grass everywhere. I called them on the day i was scheduled to service their property. they told me they had it done but it needed to be cleaned up. When i asked why and they told me. i told them the contract you signed was terminated when you hired someone else to mow your lawn. Maybe I was wrong, but they agreed i would service their property. No one else. I felt it was a conflict of interest and got out of the contract. I also had passed out additional flyers in another neighborhood. one woman hired me after the fact that she hired someone else on a verbal agreement only. no written contract. so when i showed up to mow, he showed up 30 min later and was pissed. we exchanged words and i simply said. i have a written contract with Mrs...... Did she sign one with your company. He said no, just a verbal agreement and left. so she hired me for a cheaper rate and it was documented. If she wanted to hired someone else , she would need to call me to terminate the contract first before going with another company. It worked out. he never trimmed every time. didnt cleanup completely. his men were drinking on the job so she says. She told me she didnt even know i was there half the time and by the time she noticed i was there, i was done and collecting my payment.

Well bed time. let me know what yall think of my contract and if i need to reword any part. or add or delete anything.

thanks in advance for your reviews.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:10 AM
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There is a lot of great stuff in there.

First off, I was wondering, how to you start your new customers when it comes to billing?

I am guessing you meet up with them, walk their property, figure out how much to charge and then present them with the contract. Once they sign it, do they hand you a check for the first month's mowing in advance? Or how does that work?

What kind of response have you gotten for charging in advance?
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:38 AM
cklandscapingorlando cklandscapingorlando is offline
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We'll see if it loads. If so this is our standard contract. You need more specific in terms of what your doing
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:44 AM
psparaco psparaco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
There is a lot of great stuff in there.

First off, I was wondering, how to you start your new customers when it comes to billing?

I am guessing you meet up with them, walk their property, figure out how much to charge and then present them with the contract. Once they sign it, do they hand you a check for the first month's mowing in advance? Or how does that work?

What kind of response have you gotten for charging in advance?
the process for me usually goes as follows: I put a flyer out, they call me to inquirer. If they ask for an estimate. I schedule a time when we are both available or go out right after they call. I come out to walk the property. Discuss any thing else they may need, answer any questions. Note any obstructions which will be required to be cleaned up or moved prior to my arrival. If all goes well which is normally does. sit down with them and go over the contract. It takes roughly 5-10 min for them to read it over and give me any questions. I don't allow them to sign a single line until they fully unsterstand it.

I havent done the charging in advance yet. This is a new bill method i am enforcing. Last year i did property inspections on sundays. Called them up to confirm they wanted it done which was a hassle. Alot chose to wait to the last minute to have it done. This year i plan to have certain days pre scheduled for each property. either it gets cut or it don't. If they dont want it cut. its their responsibility to call me as stated in my contract. I plan to follow the contract to a T. I also dealt with people paying me 2 weeks pasts the time the money was due. I gave everyone 5 days to pay for their service and a handful had issues with that. I dropped a few clients cause of that. If you have to pay your mortgage/rent, any utility or cable bill a certain time of the month. then they need to pay me the same way. Its all about budgeting.

I plan to purchase the gohpher software. I love it just dont have the money for it yet. print out an invoice with 4 dated services for the upcomiing month. and hand deliver or mail to them the invoice. and either they cut me a check then or call me to arrange a time to meet up prior to the first mowing to pay me. It looks good on paper. I hope it turns out good when it all goes down. I'll let everyone know what happens when the time comes.

time to get the little one to school. Be back shortly.

Paul
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