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Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job
If you need help coming up with a bid for a lawn care, landscaping, tree cutting or irrigation job, post the specifics here and pictures of the job site. If you are looking to learn about bidding, review the jobs posted here.

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Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job

If you need help coming up with a bid for a lawn care, landscaping, tree cutting or irrigation job, post the specifics here and pictures of the job site. If you are looking to learn about bidding, review the jobs posted here.
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  #1  
Old 12-03-2007, 03:28 AM
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Weekly Mowing only!

All the contract outlines I've seen have a clause that removes the customer or company from continued service obligations with a 30 day cancellation letter.

My question is this: why bother with a contract if you will let the customer go if they cancel the contract properly?

my view is this: if you do good work - you will get paid.
If you do good work and don't get paid after 30 days, than you drop the customer. Has anybody had a bad experience with not using a contract for mowing service only?

Has anybody taken a client to small claims court for non payment issues?

What are your thoughts on this? Contract or not

Tom
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2007, 09:21 AM
S.P.Martin Lawn Care
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
If its in writing and done correctly, then there can be no misunderstanding.

Something else to consider is whether or not your home state requires by law a contract for proving services and what needs to be in the contract.

For instance, here in Maine if I solicit a home for business, a written contract is required with a 3 day cooling of period. During that period, the homeowner can cancel w/o any reason, only has to let you know they don't want the service. Failure to abide by this law has some very serious expensive repercussions, not to mention a criminal conviction if found guilty.

This law does not apply to commercial accounts or if the customer comes to you. I include the same language just the same.

Another good reason for a contract is the paper trail. You can use the contracts when you go to the bank for loans. Contracts show financial institutions how much you are really making with your enterprise. Taking the time to analyze them at the end of the year will also show where you are undercharging and what trends you need to follow up on.
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2007, 03:10 PM
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Here's another question I've been thinking about also, when I submit a proposal to a company which estimates the work they want and the price I will charge, and let's say they accept my bid and sign my proposal form which authorizes and agrees to all the details in it, should I then also sign a contract agreement with them, or do you think the signing of the proposal is sufficient??

Thanks,

ANDY
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2007, 04:19 PM
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Hi Andy:

On larger jobs, once the proposal is accepted, it doesn't hurt to go the extra step and sign a final agreement.

Back to your original question about the need for contracts: I have always felt $35 and $40 per week residential lawn care customers do not warrent the need for a contract.

If there is a dispute, do you really want to force a customer (or be forced by a customer) to continue doing business with you, even if only for 30 days? That will just make things go from bad to worse.

Residential customers are easy enough to replace so it's really not worth the effort to enforce a contract should the relationship deteriorate.

There are a few instances where, I think, contracts are needed. If you take on a large job which causes you to drop other customers or if you must buy additional equipment to do the work. Also, if the job requires you to purchase supplies up front, you should have think about a contract. Another time to think about a contract is if a significant portion of work is to be done at one time of year (for example leaf cleanup) with the promise that the customer will pay you to mow their grass next summer.

A purchase order doesn't always cover everything in a normal contract but it can be useful in certain circumstances. One time, I had a customer who only wanted grass in his back yard cut every other week but he would pay me the same amount each week. When June rolled around, he wondered why I wasn't mowing the back each time. I was able to show him the P.O. (signed by him) and he remembered making that agreement...all was settled.

These are opinions only. I know some guys like to have contracts for every customer. So, whatever works for you.

Keith
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2007, 03:35 PM
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all of my customers and contract maintence,but next year i think i am going to advertise for a per time. all my commercial properties and contract work. when some gives you 30days, you guys should have a breach of contract agreement in the contract also. i charge all my customers per time on all services i have preformed then subtract the amount they have paid. i will be taking a customer to court this year she quit after 7 months and the amount she would owe me at the end will be over 400$ so about the court if it is over 300 dollars i would try and get that money.
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:50 PM
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I dont use contracts for my customers unless it is for a large job. It can be a good idea to have an agreement spelled out in the begining listing exactly what services you will be providing before you start. Then down the road they cant try to pull a quick one on you trying to get you to do the gutters or something. it doesnt need to be a contract, just a duties performed agreement.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (S.P.Martin Lawn Care @ Dec. 03 2007,10:21)]If its in writing and done correctly, then there can be no misunderstanding.

Something else to consider is whether or not your home state requires by law a contract for proving services and what needs to be in the contract.

For instance, here in Maine if I solicit a home for business, a written contract is required with a 3 day cooling of period. *During that period, the homeowner can cancel w/o any reason, only has to let you know they don't want the service. *Failure to abide by this law has some very serious expensive repercussions, not to mention a criminal conviction if found guilty.

This law does not apply to commercial accounts or if the customer comes to you. *I include the same language just the same.

Another good reason for a contract is the paper trail. *You can use the contracts when you go to the bank for loans. *Contracts show financial institutions how much you are really making with your enterprise. *Taking the time to analyze them at the end of the year will also show where you are undercharging and what trends you need to follow up on.
Another good reason for a contract is the paper trail. You can use the contracts when you go to the bank for loans. Contracts show financial institutions how much you are really making with your enterprise. Taking the time to analyze them at the end of the year will also show where you are undercharging and what trends you need to follow up on.

GREAT POINT. Here in Kentucky we have simular laws and requirments.

and yes I have had to go to the extreme with a Hardscape Project. BTW we won our case, and there is a lot of details. You may want to add something like an early cancellation fee, this is to protect YOU it dosn't have anything to do with HOW GOOD or NOT SO GOOD of a job you do. This is 2007 and it is just good business to have a solid contract for all your customers, no matter what the job is. Even one time cutomers must sign a Estimate, Work Order and a Work Completion/Satisfied Form. These are types of CONTRACTS. I'm not giving legal advise, only good business advise. If some of these things are not in writing customer may cancel for certain reasons like being laid off and not being able to afford your service, you can waive the cancellation fee and work something out on any balance due to you.
But, for ex. A customer calls you ask to do a spring clean up they are to busy to do it. So you go there do the spring clean up charge $200 and then they add Mulching anonther $500, then want you to cut weekly 5 @ say $50 per = $250. Now you told them in the begining you would do a monthly invoice for the services you provide. maybe you get a deposit before starting (it is a good idea to ask for one if you don't) now a month has past and you invoice the customer and they decide well I can't afford this I cant pay you and you are already into the second month of cutting for another $100 so the final bill is over $1,000.00 not to count the lost time where you could have been working for someone that will pay you. Hope this help's and give some light on the IMPORTANCE of something in writing that is a contract.

Good luck
Tim
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2007, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]Work Completion/Satisfied Form.
Thanks for bringing it up.

Too often, we think payment implies satisfaction. *Customer satisfaction should never be overlooked. **On any larger job it is a great idea to have your customer sign off on the work. *This can be as simple as having him sign a "Completed" line on your purchase order. *Or, you can have him fill in a questionaire making sure he is satisfied.

For weekly mowing jobs, it is good to send a "Customer Satisfaction" survey to your customer mid-season...end of June is a good time. *This creates the same sort of paper trail Tim is talking about and it also lets you know if there are areas you need to pay more attention too.

You can use these surveys as marketing tools too. *If you are giving a quote to a big client, show him the positive responses you have as references.

Keith
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2007, 06:50 PM
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Thanks Keith!

I Also bought your book and I must say that its hard to put it down.

It's nice to see an author contribute so much information on a forum without trying to sell something outright.

Looking forward to future editions?

Tom
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Old 12-06-2007, 11:35 PM
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Hi Tom:

Thank you for the kind words.

Did you see the video showing you how to use the estimating calculators and google earth together?

I am totally fascinated with that technology.

It's located here: Estimating Calculator Demo


I'm planning more tutorials but first I need a couple Gopher Team lessons to show me how to spice it up a bit.

Keith
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