Lawn Care Business Forum Lawn Care Business Book Lawn Care Business Blog Lawn Care Software
Home Forum Contract & Flyer Templates Blog Software Videos Podcast Calculators / Estimators Store Mower Review Design It Yourself Lawn Business School

Go Back   GopherHaul Landscaping & Lawn Care Business Marketing Forum > Just starting your lawn care or landscaping business? > Starting a lawn care business.

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.

Service Agreement **- NEED TO VENT


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.
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 04-24-2010, 10:28 PM
HDfromTX
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Service Agreement **- NEED TO VENT

Some of yall might know me from the introduction forum but I have been in the lawn business before about 10 years ago. Back then I was doing yards for family friends and their neighbors nothing to big about 20 customers. Well, this time around I have done good for my first month with landing 15 customers a week and growing everyday. But here is my problem and I need advice before I land anymore business -

I had my first failed relationship with a bi-weekly customer. The only reason I believe is the guy was trying to stiff me out of services. He called me up one Saturday around noon and asked if I could do his lawn, I did have an small window between 2 other customers and told him I would try. Before he hung up, he told me that he was interested in a bi-weekly visit and that he couldn't pay me until the following week until he got paid. I told him that I would try and fit him in that day and that I would be in touch. I called him later that day and rescheduled due to my first customer adding some services to her visit. I told him that since I missed that day that I would take off $5.00 for his first visit due to rescheduling. Not a problem, mowed his grass Monday and offered more services if needed and left. I emailed him today due to his phone not accepting calls, I told him that I had him schedule for Monday morning and that his total due would be $55.00 ($25.00 first cut ($5.00 off discount) then $30.00 for second cut)... I got a quick reply back that he didn't agree with the charges and that he wanted to be mailed an invoice and that he would find someone more reliable - wait a minute, you told me that I did a great job and basically now Im financing your first cut because you were broke and didn't have any money. Im ticked but I try and let my customer service kick in through email form and try to get through the bottom of this (remember he doesn't have a phone, probably cause he didn't pay that bill). Anyways after bouncing emails he told me that I wasn't reliable and that I ran over a sprinkler head, WHAT??? I do all of my own work and mostly mow high end homes, I know what I hit and dont hit with all my equipment. I try to make arrangements with him to come out and make it right but all he wants is an invoice with the amount owed. Im through playing games, and I am thowing this one in the bag as a lesson learned. It has been a BS day, and glad a new one starts in less than 2 hours.

NOW - How to Design a Service Agreement without making a customer feel like the are under a contract. Anyone have ideas? All I want is it to listed services offered under a "lawn visit", how often they want services preformed, the $$$ amount they agree upon, and payment options. In my eyes this sounds like a contract but in reality this is the only way I can justify taking on any more new customers. I never had this problem before but this problem took my Saturday and threw it in the garbage.

Thanks in advance and sorry about the novel.
Reply With Quote

Stop guess-timating. Learn how to estimate and make money! $$$
Mow Time Estimator Lawn Care Price Estimator Mulch and Topsoil Calculator Snow Plow Estimate Calculator


  #2  
Old 04-27-2010, 11:26 AM
jasonw's Avatar
jasonw jasonw is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,008
Rep Power: 7
jasonw is on a distinguished road
Default

Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
I see a couple of problems here.
#1- You offered to do work knowing full well he didn't have money.
#2- You will make everyone pay with service agreements for one person? You ask about service agreements without making them think they are signing a contract. I hope this was misworded, If not you are a very dishonest untrustworthy person. A service agreement IS a contract. I never have needed them and never will use them. I am a good judge of character and do good work and have no need to "swindle" someone into a contract to keep there business.
Here is my advice. File a complaint with the local D.A.
Ask to be met at his house with a local officer, Provide him with an invoice and demand payment with said officer present. If nothing more he will know you mean business and at least pay what he owes. Local authorities are more than happy to mediate situations like this. Unfortunately sense it was a verbal agreement I am not sure if you are in a legal position to goto collections and charge interest. You will have to check your local and state laws about that. All this will work but is assuming you are running a licensed business. If you are not licensed then the answer is shorter "You are screwed" learn and move on. For example here in Ca the SLB specifically states if you are not licensed you have NO legal weight to attempt to recover lost fund do to a non paying customer. In short do NOT ever do work for someone who has already stated they have a problem with paying for the service. Next time if they get paid next week schedule them for next week.
__________________
White Company
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-28-2010, 02:52 AM
HDfromTX
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Okay first off I misworded what I thought a service agreement might be. Im not looking for contract, just something that explains to a customer that these are the services that I offer for xx.xx amount of dollars and anything other service is considered extra.

I have talked to another lawn guy in the area, he told me that what he does whenever he recieves a new customer. The first time that he invoices them he staples a letter to the invoice just stating how he sets his schedule, what to do if you need extra service done, how he schedules due to weather, and a simple area at the bottom that has your first estimate written on it. There was probably more to it but he didn't have a copy in his truck at the time.

His letter idea is what Im considering... But to be honest, I think that one bad customer experience out of 15 new customers isn't too bad. I have learned my lesson through all of my negative happenings so far and I think in time I will be able to weed out the good people from the scammers without thinking twice about it. I think most people will agree when you start out in this competitive market, when someone calls and wants service then you try all you can to gain a customer.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-28-2010, 06:00 AM
cklandscapingorlando cklandscapingorlando is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 198
Rep Power: 7
cklandscapingorlando is on a distinguished road
Default

Bi-weekly was a warning sign. Then no money was an alarm. Any bi-weekly you should demand payment before work starts.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-28-2010, 11:31 AM
Steve's Avatar
Steve Steve is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 36,381
Rep Power: 10
Steve has disabled reputation
Default

Hi HD,

Did you check out the contracts and service agreements in the lawn care template section?

You will most likely be able to find something you can use there.

In this situation though, even if you had one, this customer sounds like a train wreck and most likely it would have been problematic anyway.

As you are getting back into business now, what could be happening is that you are getting your feet wet again and you are trying to get your bearings straight with all these customers.

After you get a few that are not problematic, you will begin to see the problem customers coming at you from a mile away.

Don't worry about a handful of customers now being idiots, it will improve as your senses improve.

What's your thoughts on all of this?
__________________
- Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-28-2010, 01:53 PM
jasonw's Avatar
jasonw jasonw is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,008
Rep Power: 7
jasonw is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cklandscapingorlando View Post
Bi-weekly was a warning sign. Then no money was an alarm. Any bi-weekly you should demand payment before work starts.
Why? All my mowing are biweekly and I have NEVER had a non payer. Not even a late payer. All my clients are trying to force checks down my throught 2 weeks before there money is even do.
__________________
White Company
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-28-2010, 05:36 PM
cklandscapingorlando cklandscapingorlando is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 198
Rep Power: 7
cklandscapingorlando is on a distinguished road
Default

Maybe you have a diffrent market than I. 90% of bi-weekly here simply want that because they have no money. It would cost to much for the time it would take to keep a property looking top notch on a bi-weekly. That means they will only have you mowing so the place looks like hell. You dont get work from dust bowls and here if it's bi-weekly it's a dust bowl. I have a few great bi-weekly's but most are PITAs
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-28-2010, 07:23 PM
Byron3243 Byron3243 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 33
Rep Power: 5
Byron3243 is on a distinguished road
Default

For most lawns that i mow for residential customers, I have a carbon copy proposal sheet that i just write in how often its to be mowed the price of each service and that a bill will go out at the first of the month and its due in 15 days. I can do it right on the job. I havent had any prob with this yet. Its not really a contract it just basically says when i mow you pay. For commercial accounts i do have a couple different contracts.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-28-2010, 08:24 PM
TeamDynamic's Avatar
TeamDynamic TeamDynamic is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 51
Rep Power: 6
TeamDynamic is on a distinguished road
Default

Service agreement/Contract call it what ever you want, but you should always get something in writing. It's sad to say, but a handshake just does not cut it this day in age. If a customer racks up a huge bill and doesn't pay, it is a pain in the neck to take a verbal agreement to court.

People aren't as scared of contracts as they used to be. Every time you sign a credit card receipt you are signing a contract. Most customers view a contract as a professional way of doing business.

Don't try to fill your contract with to much legal jargon. The contract should contain service prices, payment terms, and what happens if you damage their property. Keep it short, simple, and explain it to them. Make it known to the customer that the contract is a benefit to them (Your company is held liable if you damage something etc.)
__________________
www.TeamDynamicOnline.com
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-29-2010, 01:46 AM
jasonw's Avatar
jasonw jasonw is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,008
Rep Power: 7
jasonw is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamDynamic View Post
Service agreement/Contract call it what ever you want, but you should always get something in writing. It's sad to say, but a handshake just does not cut it this day in age. If a customer racks up a huge bill and doesn't pay, it is a pain in the neck to take a verbal agreement to court.

People aren't as scared of contracts as they used to be. Every time you sign a credit card receipt you are signing a contract. Most customers view a contract as a professional way of doing business.

Don't try to fill your contract with to much legal jargon. The contract should contain service prices, payment terms, and what happens if you damage their property. Keep it short, simple, and explain it to them. Make it known to the customer that the contract is a benefit to them (Your company is held liable if you damage something etc.)
I still stand by my way of doing business. No contracts, Never had a non or late payer. Never had a problem at all. In fact one of my clients specifically fired there last guy because he had them on a contract, He would mow and charge them when it didn't need to be done, Sometimes he would never show up but still charge because the lawn was short but according to his contract he got paid. As far as I care people around here can keep pushing contracts and I will keep taking there clients,
__________________
White Company
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Monthly Agreement Question sasquatchmonk Starting a lawn care business. 5 08-11-2009 06:58 PM
Another New Service, well actually two picframer General Talk 20 05-10-2009 04:07 PM
Signed Or Verbal Agreement? DENMAN Starting a lawn care business. 5 03-29-2009 02:11 PM
Snow PLow Agreement JMM0254 General Business Discussions 1 10-23-2006 01:03 PM
Copying service prices from 1 service to another Gopher Tech Gopher Software Support Archived Question & Answers - Read Only 1 05-09-2006 06:08 PM

» Recent Threads
  RatingTitle, Username, & Date Last Post Replies Views
Trailer tires
J.A.S.LawnService
09-01-2014 10:17 AM
Yesterday 09:57 PM
by curts lawn care
4 815
Lowballers scrubs &...
Darksteel
01-13-2014 07:35 AM
Yesterday 08:42 PM
by curts lawn care
57 6,591
new to the forum
SGlawncare
09-16-2014 11:20 PM
Yesterday 08:29 PM
by curts lawn care
3 121
Looking for feed back on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
Yesterday 08:38 AM
Yesterday 05:10 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
2 88
Price to apply fertilizer
SS.Lawncare
09-15-2014 11:10 AM
Yesterday 03:58 PM
by stevef1201
8 265
Help With Snow Blowing...
Robertf31
09-13-2014 10:55 PM
Yesterday 12:34 PM
by Steve
11 461
Non-Stop Summer?
SouthallMowing
09-14-2014 10:51 PM
Yesterday 10:48 AM
by stevef1201
6 272
Tribulations of working...
stevef1201
09-13-2014 08:37 AM
09-16-2014 10:43 PM
by SGL1
6 350
Poll - net income
Dan5082
11-15-2010 08:08 PM
09-16-2014 04:44 PM
by jrs.landscaping
12 3,118
Getting lowballed!
PineHillLawn
06-27-2012 07:23 AM
09-16-2014 01:25 PM
by jrs.landscaping
24 4,773
snowplowing
jshak40
09-01-2014 07:20 AM
09-16-2014 01:16 PM
by Steve
21 1,196
Compare this summer to...
Steve
09-03-2014 12:52 PM
09-16-2014 11:20 AM
by Hanks Lawn Care Services
15 1,003
thinking about throwing...
veteranslawncaresystems
09-09-2014 10:31 PM
09-15-2014 03:41 PM
by Steve
12 693
Hello
Robertf31
09-12-2014 10:34 PM
09-15-2014 03:17 PM
by Steve
2 308
Newbie......Again
Jibber
09-13-2014 12:17 PM
09-15-2014 02:54 PM
by Sprinkler Buddy
2 305
Replacing a Shindi T-27
Dan Tanner
09-13-2014 12:59 PM
09-15-2014 02:31 PM
by Steve
1 271
need help with starter...
GoGreenerKS
09-12-2014 04:23 PM
09-15-2014 02:25 PM
by Steve
3 321
Brake job!
kslawn
08-30-2014 07:49 AM
09-15-2014 02:16 PM
by Steve
12 1,013
Hello
jawnebgoode
08-28-2014 08:37 PM
09-15-2014 02:15 PM
by Steve
3 794
Employee uniforms
Gerardo_Landscape
01-21-2014 11:11 PM
09-15-2014 02:12 PM
by Steve
5 917
Greetings from the north
Northwoods Outdoors
09-13-2014 08:55 AM
09-15-2014 02:07 PM
by Steve
1 286
darleneh
darleneh
09-15-2014 12:33 PM
09-15-2014 02:07 PM
by Sprinkler Buddy
1 153
My 1st bid
WesleySnips
06-11-2014 03:13 PM
09-15-2014 02:05 PM
by Steve
29 1,710
New Aerator
Chaz
09-09-2014 11:43 PM
09-15-2014 01:50 PM
by Steve
9 535
Yearly contract Pricing
jrob0691
08-21-2014 08:57 AM
09-15-2014 01:23 PM
by stevef1201
8 1,183
Scag turf tiger hydrolic...
ExtremeLawncareServices
09-04-2014 10:55 PM
09-14-2014 03:06 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
8 702
These are the days on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
03-22-2014 09:12 AM
09-13-2014 09:14 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
116 7,926
getting ready to start
calebmoss
05-23-2011 09:35 PM
09-11-2014 12:21 PM
by Steve
34 11,199
Stihl pull cord replace
SGL1
09-03-2014 09:22 PM
09-10-2014 12:25 PM
by Steve
9 719
Softball field
kslawn
08-15-2014 09:28 AM
09-10-2014 12:16 PM
by Steve
18 1,441
Lawn Route Templates
Landscaper1165
08-30-2014 01:52 PM
09-09-2014 08:05 PM
by Landscaper1165
4 931
New truck and trailer...
Johnny Rocket
05-14-2012 03:41 PM
09-09-2014 07:23 PM
by Matther777
18 6,526
What gets you bad press?
Steve
09-09-2014 11:48 AM
09-09-2014 07:21 PM
by Matther777
2 421
Signs on your snow plow?
Steve
01-15-2007 01:07 AM
09-09-2014 11:42 AM
by Steve
19 6,164
Exmark Lazer Z S-Series...
BLC7
08-22-2014 10:18 AM
09-08-2014 08:08 PM
by avetslawncare
12 1,224
New to the business
flamingyouth87
09-05-2014 11:52 AM
09-08-2014 11:55 AM
by Steve
3 630
Hello from Ohio
kurtwin
08-28-2014 05:06 PM
09-08-2014 11:51 AM
by Steve
7 906
Facebook
element009
03-23-2011 08:36 AM
09-07-2014 07:35 AM
by avetslawncare
24 7,693
Help pricing cut down 7...
Bradcook21
08-26-2014 11:17 PM
09-06-2014 02:09 PM
by Bradcook21
8 991
billing matters
sbuchanan8154
09-05-2014 09:56 AM
09-05-2014 03:00 PM
by Steve
3 602
Thoughts
googus
09-05-2014 07:28 AM
09-05-2014 02:23 PM
by Steve
2 558
Backflow Tester
flowcheckllc.2014
09-03-2014 04:37 PM
09-05-2014 02:15 PM
by Steve
3 642
Collections & collection...
jscarolina
09-03-2014 04:39 PM
09-04-2014 03:14 PM
by Steve
2 660
Sod
RosalesLawnCare
08-27-2014 03:47 PM
09-04-2014 02:42 PM
by RosalesLawnCare
4 915
Lawn needs top soil What...
jymie
08-26-2014 11:01 AM
09-03-2014 12:07 PM
by Steve
7 985
Hello! New here and...
CaliforniaFriendly
08-29-2014 11:30 AM
09-03-2014 11:15 AM
by Steve
4 889
Mowing 7 acres
avetslawncare
08-31-2014 04:24 PM
09-02-2014 03:11 PM
by Steve
5 877
New to the industry-...
Lsmain
08-31-2014 10:53 AM
09-02-2014 02:58 PM
by Steve
1 799
Walk Behinds and Texas...
SGL1
08-26-2014 03:53 PM
09-01-2014 11:36 PM
by SGL1
7 989
Stihl engine isn't...
Marcintosh
08-12-2014 08:30 PM
08-28-2014 09:28 PM
by Marcintosh
12 1,296
» Popular Tags
2wd 4x4 apartment lawn care estimate article marketing bid care charge collections subcontractor commercial credit card ecosymbiosis employee problems exmark fall ferris financing four wheel drive franchise gopherhaul grass gravely hardscapes health honda how much to charge hydraulic installation landscape services lawn lawn care busines plan lawn care business lawn care business seo lawn care business show lawn care business website lawn care business website seo lawn care website leaf managing a lawn care business marketing mechanic monthly mow mulch mulch price native plants new buisness new business outdoor environments patio install podcast push versus ride scag scag v-ride schedule search engine optimization seo snow plowing starting a business steep lawns stihl sulky theft of services toro tractor auger trailer mate pro truck new used landscape walk behind walker won't return wright stander rh
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.1.0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:21 AM.


(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:21 AM.

(C) 2011 Riggs Publications - Terms of use & Privacy Policy