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Contract for Government Account

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by ktfbgb, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 818

    Hey guys. I just secured snow removal for 6 Head Start Schools. For those of you unfamiliar with Head Start it's a government funded pre school program for low income families. They operate mostly out of the old portable style school buildings. Many times they are located in a low income neighborhood where a separate contractor or the city does the roads and in some cases actually does their parking spaces as well. So most of the snow removal is shoveling the sidewalks around the actual buildings and playgrounds. My company has been doing their building maintenance on these schools. The director sends me an email with the site location and list of work to do. This is the work authorization and there is no contract for the project because it's just maintenance and usually just $1000.00 or less per invoice. They are good payers, I've never had a problem. They are technically net 30 but typically pay in 10 days or less after receiving the invoice.

    Here's my problem. They want us to provide the snow removal for them on the same basis. Just do it, invoice them, and get my check in the mail. This is my first government snow removal gig so I'm Leary of doing it without a contract. I know it's hard for someone to actually sue the government but I'm sure they can sue me for slip and fall etc. The reason they don't want to sign a contract is because they actually have no idea exactly what they need. They know walks for sure but are unsure which sites need the parking spots plowed and which ones don't. I explained that I need to know my scope of work and if we don't know the scope then I can't give them a price. It's government so they don't care about a price just want it done and then billed. I explained that if I don't know what we are doing that it's going to be more expensive flying by the seat of our pants until everything gets worked out. The director understands this, and I have all the conversations on email for reference. He said that the previous director had no information about snow removal needs when he left so until we go through a season to find out exactly what they need they want flexibility and will pay for said flexibility.

    Would you guys just have them sign a contract minus the cost page just so that you have a signature for all the liability/hold harmless stuff? I'm really not worried about getting paid as they are good payers and even though it's six sites, it's really not a whole lot of work so if something happened and they did stiff me I would probably only be out around $1000 for a small storm so my risk is relatively small.
     
  2. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,295

    Not knowing what is require is something more common with resi's but ewe dew kum across it with kommercial kustomers on occasion. Since you are a professional you should be able to guide them as two what they need for service along with cost. I'd suggest ewe give some thought to how the properties need to be serviced and put it in a bid/contract. Ewe need to start somewhere udderwise theer's an good chance they wont be happy and that's doesn't do ewe any favors for future work.
    I don't care if thay are good payers, people change jobs and tribal knowledge is lost, a contract is for both parties.
     
    FredG likes this.
  3. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 818

    That's what I've been trying do, educate them on what they need but it's kinda like herding cats. I'll keep the pressure on them though, it can't be that hard for them to figure out what they need. Like I said the walks are straight forward and I know what they need. It's just them actually getting on the phone to find out what sites need plowing and which don't. I guess I can easily give them a contract with the walks in there and say the plowing piece will fall under a service call which is outlined in the contract. Thanks Buff. I just wasn't sure if other gov. Entities operated this way too.
     
  4. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 818

    I guess maybe I didn't make that part clear. They are confused about what parking lots they are responsible for and which ones are under a different entity which I can't help them with lol.
     
  5. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,295

    Herding cats is best done with a 12gauge with a 9shot tube...... just say'in.....
    Since the walks is the easy thing I'd suggest doing a little recon in the am noon and pm to see how the property is used during bizzy times of the day.
     
  6. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 818

    Good advise. I was already gonna do a drop off and pick up recon but hadn't though about doing a lunch time one. Who knows how many moms bring the kids lunch instead of sending it with them.

    And I like the way you herd cats Thumbs Up
     
  7. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,008

    One, if it's a Government support project. We are supplying the lunch. Have them sign a contract stating it's a time/material with a hold harmless.
     
  8. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,237

    Could you go to the City and see exactly what they do handle for them? Even if it's subbed the city should know. Little scary to go in blind.
     
    ktfbgb likes this.
  9. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 818

    Thanks fellas. I was a little stressed and a lot of tired yesterday. Did a down and back to Phoenix for the wife's doctor appt. 5 hours driving and of course trying to conduct business on the phone and over email it he whole time, you guys know the drill. Anyway had a good sleep and time to think about it and then just confirmed my thoughts with the replies this morning. I just gonna give them a contract for time and material with all the different snow services line itemed with minimums. I know it's not ideal to charge this way but I'll have minimums in there so that I can turn a profit. Plus I add 50% to hourly rates for guys over and above the labor burden for each person so I turn profit either way.

    I'll recon each site, take measurements, etc. just like always. They may not know what they need but I'll know how long each site will take so I can plan my route. The only bummer is gonna be all the paperwork tracking everything. But I'll track everything so that I can hopefully just give them a seasonal price next year if not at least an incremental price for all sites lumped together so there's will only be one invoice to fire off after each storm. Thanks guys Thumbs Up
     
  10. ktfbgb

    ktfbgb Senior Member
    Messages: 818

    Yep I'll call the city streets dept and find out just I have more info going into it.