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How do contracts work?


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  #1  
Old 09-23-2007, 01:48 PM
FourSeasons FourSeasons is offline
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Hi everyone. This is a great website with so much good info. I'm 25 and I just started my lawn care business in May and have had great success in the Seattle area. I definitely see the potential of where this is gonna go. I have a question regarding contracts. I want to start my customers on contract work but I don't understand how they work. Do I charge one flat rate per month year round no matter how many times I service a month? I don't know if customers will go for paying the same amount per month for me to come 4 times in the summer and 1 in the winter. Or do I add up the number of times I expect to service their lawn a year? Then average it out into a monthly rate. None of my customers are on contracts but I plan on switching as many I can over to ensure year round income. I have all residential customers. Thanks for the help. Rob - Four Seasons Yard Care
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2007, 11:38 PM
S.P.Martin Lawn Care
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
A contract is an agreement between the customer and the service provider that spells out the terms and conditions on what, how, and when services will be performed, as well as how you will be paid. Check into your state business and consumer protection laws to see if any language is required. Examples might be 3 day waiting period, exit clauses, mediation or arbitration requirements, and so. Failure to include this stuff may land you in hot water, an unenforcible contract, or both.

It sounds like mowing lawn takes place year round in your neck of the woods with a slow down during the colder months. Take a look at how many times you anticipate mowing a lawn each month, some weekly, some every two or more weeks, and total it up to give you the number of times per year you will service it. Multiply that by the fee so you have a figure to work with when negotiating with the customer.

The contract should be for the season or calender year. You can offer the customer the option of paying weekly, monthly, or yearly, let them decide. I offered a 10% discount for paying for the season up front with good results that gave me some working capital. Not every customer can do that so the other options will likely be more palatable.

I highly recommend looking over the sample contracts located elsewhere on this site. There are lots of great ideas on what to include.

To give you peace of mind, spend some money on a lawyer experienced in contract law. They can produce a contract as only a legal mind can. Just be prepared with items you wish to incorporate, a list of questions to ask, and be able to explain your goals, plans, and customer base.
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Old 09-25-2007, 08:18 AM
FourSeasons FourSeasons is offline
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Thanks for clearing this up for me. I appreciate all the good insight.
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2007, 11:41 PM
pnplawn
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I will also do a contract Agreement on any job that is over $500.00 and most of the time if its over $100.00 I will ask for half up front other half when the job is complete. This has worked out for me many times. anything under 500.00 Ill eat if I have to, BUT I can say I never have had to do that.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:21 PM
Clean Lawn Clean Lawn is offline
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My business is now set up using a contract for any work that we do for a customer whether its is year round lawn service maintenance or us coming in one time to do some landscaping. Then not only do I have it in writting for my records but if something goes wrong on anyones part we fall back to it for the resolution of the problem.
For lawn care maintenance year round we charge per visit. So if its spring or summertime (we change to weekly service for my customers in the spring unless they specificly state they only want to be serviced twice a month) so they will get charged for 4 visits that month and in the fall and winter we go to bimonthly.
So for example lets say someone has a 1 acre lawn and contracts us for one year for the property at $60.00 per visit at a weekly rate. The contract for that customer will state that and when it changes in the fall to bimonthly because growth slows down then the price would change to show a bimonthly service.
Hope that helps. Its sounded like you were asking regarding that so figured I would throw in my two cents of how I do my costs in my contracts. Also I am pretty sure I have some old contracts I looked at to get ideas how I wanted my contract to be if you need something to use as a base for your contracts. Let me know and give me an e-mail address and I can send them to you.
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Old 10-05-2007, 05:31 PM
pnplawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (Clean Lawn @ Oct. 04 2007,9:21)]The contract for that customer will state that and when it changes in the fall to bimonthly because growth slows down then the price would change to show a bimonthly service.
Are you telling me that you drop the price when the season slows down? Because when I do a contract I charge same for the whole year rather I mow every week or once a month.
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:22 PM
FourSeasons FourSeasons is offline
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[quote]Hope that helps. Its sounded like you were asking regarding that so figured I would throw in my two cents of how I do my costs in my contracts. Also I am pretty sure I have some old contracts I looked at to get ideas how I wanted my contract to be if you need something to use as a base for your contracts. Let me know and give me an e-mail address and I can send them to you.

Thanks. My email address is fourseasons_yc@yahoo.com

[quote]Are you telling me that you drop the price when the season slows down? Because when I do a contract I charge same for the whole year rather I mow every week or once a month

Where do you get your same monthly price at for the whole year? Do you add up the times you plan to service their lawn for the year and average it out into a monthly figure? Or do you charge the same flat rate no matter how many times a month you come. And if you did it this way then I would assume you would base your price on the busy time of the year when your servicing once a week. Right? And if thats the case I wouldn't see how customers would want to pay the same amount a month for you coming once a week and then twice a month when it slows down. I know if I was the home owner that wouldn't seem right to me to be paying the same amount for less service. I would think that the price drops. Unless this is how the lawn care business works. But isn't that more of how a commercial contract works. I just started in May of this year so I'm still not sure.
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Old 10-07-2007, 12:25 PM
FourSeasons FourSeasons is offline
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How do you do the quote so that it shows up in the white box like that?
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  #9  
Old 10-07-2007, 02:32 PM
pmblair
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You started the quote right.... just at the end of the line you're quoting, you have to remember to put [/quote] so that it closes the quote.
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Old 10-12-2007, 10:31 PM
Clean Lawn Clean Lawn is offline
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Sorry did I give the impression I lower my pricing because of the time of year?I have a weekly and a bimonthly lawn service amount for my customers. That is the only difference.
I am sending you those contracts also I did not forget I got sick for a week....ugggh!
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