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: 36,537
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
Business Name
sanchez5
10-28-2014 11:55 PM
Today 04:30 AM
by SGL1
9 263
Client won't pay...
WesleySnips
Yesterday 02:53 PM
Yesterday 08:21 PM
by SGlawncare
6 134
"Price...
Mr. Mow
Yesterday 03:21 PM
Yesterday 05:52 PM
by Mr. Mow
2 112
Hi Steve From West...
Mr. Mow
10-21-2014 01:59 PM
Yesterday 03:09 PM
by Mr. Mow
4 550
Pavers
crieg122
10-28-2014 02:49 PM
Yesterday 02:09 PM
by Steve
5 231
Difference between lawn...
sanchez5
10-29-2014 04:20 PM
Yesterday 02:08 PM
by Steve
2 170
Gie-review / What's new...
ExtremeLawncareServices
10-25-2014 09:19 AM
Yesterday 02:04 PM
by Steve
6 440
My Newest Toy (B.P....
Dan Tanner
10-23-2014 05:50 PM
10-29-2014 12:26 PM
by Steve
6 528
West cost lawn prices
SGlawncare
10-09-2014 09:51 PM
10-28-2014 11:08 PM
by SGlawncare
4 884
Say Hello !!!
Steve
03-19-2007 11:18 AM
10-28-2014 02:51 PM
by Steve
1,193 341,068
Help a brother...
tbtigers03
09-28-2014 11:41 AM
10-28-2014 02:38 PM
by Steve
14 1,921
Business Cards
crieg122
10-25-2014 12:03 PM
10-28-2014 02:37 PM
by crieg122
4 398
Lawn Care business...
crieg122
10-23-2014 01:23 PM
10-28-2014 11:28 AM
by crieg122
15 711
So how do you guys...
Mr. Mow
10-26-2014 07:55 AM
10-28-2014 04:56 AM
by Billy Goat
2 339
Pressure Washing Like a...
TNTurf
08-01-2014 11:47 PM
10-27-2014 10:36 PM
by SGlawncare
12 1,254
new to the forum
madmedic8575
10-24-2014 02:52 PM
10-27-2014 12:14 PM
by Steve
1 350
Dealing With Gas Can...
Mr. Mow
10-21-2014 01:41 PM
10-26-2014 10:59 AM
by stevef1201
13 719
Leaf removal
madmedic8575
10-24-2014 04:14 PM
10-26-2014 07:45 AM
by Mr. Mow
5 482
raking leaves ?
robert8509
10-22-2014 09:19 PM
10-25-2014 12:09 PM
by biglee
10 624
Leaf Box & Loader Set...
ringahding1
10-21-2014 06:20 AM
10-25-2014 11:46 AM
by crieg122
6 619
hey everyone
robert8509
10-22-2014 08:16 PM
10-24-2014 11:07 PM
by robert8509
7 520
12 Years in Business!
Chilehead
10-23-2014 08:07 AM
10-23-2014 11:08 PM
by Chilehead
2 439
Cheapskate Landlord...
Mr. Mow
10-20-2014 06:33 AM
10-23-2014 05:55 PM
by biglee
13 772
Hi from SoCal
Jmoney
10-23-2014 11:29 AM
10-23-2014 12:51 PM
by Steve
1 400
Workmans compensation...
CDLAWNCARE
10-15-2014 08:05 AM
10-23-2014 12:33 PM
by Steve
5 868
Pda
stevef1201
10-18-2014 02:05 PM
10-23-2014 06:12 AM
by ringahding1
4 695
Hello, from TEXAS
sanchez5
10-17-2014 09:56 PM
10-22-2014 01:27 PM
by Steve
6 758
Organic Lawn Care...
NHray
10-17-2014 06:05 PM
10-22-2014 01:23 PM
by Steve
3 726
first year update
cmdlawncare
08-12-2014 05:41 PM
10-22-2014 07:47 AM
by ringahding1
4 1,716
What parts do you carry...
Just for Cuts
10-17-2014 09:08 AM
10-21-2014 01:36 PM
by Mr. Mow
16 1,007
Jungle to Beautiful
stevef1201
10-17-2014 09:54 AM
10-21-2014 01:26 PM
by stevef1201
11 867
These are the days on...
ExtremeLawncareServices
03-22-2014 09:12 AM
10-21-2014 01:19 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
158 11,983
Sunny Beach Tennis...
SGL1
10-19-2014 11:24 PM
10-21-2014 01:04 PM
by SGL1
4 596
Have you ever had to...
SouthernRootsLawnCare
07-26-2014 02:41 PM
10-20-2014 08:34 PM
by biglee
10 2,191
Look out Bob Villa -...
Mr Dave
09-30-2014 10:06 AM
10-20-2014 05:42 PM
by SGL1
7 1,683
how to fi d commercial...
mchampion319
10-19-2014 09:50 PM
10-20-2014 04:41 PM
by Steve
1 567
Hello From Tennessee
mrmann901
10-17-2014 10:02 PM
10-20-2014 04:24 PM
by Steve
1 634
questions on order to...
jack2048
10-13-2014 11:15 AM
10-20-2014 03:27 PM
by Mr. Mow
15 1,088
This sucks...
Matther777
09-18-2014 04:56 PM
10-20-2014 02:14 PM
by Steve
14 2,619
Cement mixer
KevinsLawns
10-15-2014 08:03 PM
10-20-2014 02:11 PM
by Steve
7 819
Hello ! New guy Rob here
RWorthley1
10-17-2014 04:05 PM
10-20-2014 02:09 PM
by Steve
1 666
Snow Blowing
gwilson98
10-12-2014 02:21 PM
10-17-2014 02:51 PM
by Steve
6 1,010
Spreading Weeds?
WesleySnips
07-27-2014 09:46 PM
10-17-2014 07:49 AM
by SGL1
6 1,307
Grasswhoopins.com Anyone...
GRASS WHOOPINS
06-21-2011 11:38 PM
10-16-2014 01:30 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
42 9,717
I Want to buy old...
ExtremeLawncareServices
10-10-2014 10:04 PM
10-15-2014 09:12 PM
by ExtremeLawncareServices
6 1,024
Do you find weed eating...
chuck2s
10-15-2014 02:10 PM
10-15-2014 02:10 PM
by chuck2s
0 748
Incorporating &...
WesleySnips
10-01-2014 09:39 PM
10-15-2014 01:37 PM
by kslawn
20 1,883
Falling into business
stellarmowing
09-28-2014 04:35 PM
10-15-2014 05:57 AM
by ringahding1
8 1,870
Apartment Complex and...
lxarth
06-22-2011 01:10 PM
10-14-2014 06:25 PM
by jrs.landscaping
42 10,007
I LOVE hedge trimming
stevef1201
10-13-2014 09:05 AM
10-14-2014 01:06 PM
by Steve
5 883
» Popular Tags
4wd 4x4 aerocore apartment bid apartment lawn care estimate applying article marketing auger bid blades bush care charge collections subcontractor commercial decorating deliquentaccounts demonstration ditches employee problems estimate exmark ferris four wheel drive gopherhaul gravely growing a lawn care business how much to charge how to installation introduction john deere quik trac kawasaki landscape services lawn lawn care 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 mulch new mower patio install podcast pto redmax reo running a business scag search engine optimization seo shell snow snow plowing sprayer starting a business steep lawns steve stihl theft of services top dresser toro toro grand stand trailer mate pro tree turfgrass consulting walker
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.1.0

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:22 AM.


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

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:22 AM.

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