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Too comprehensive contract?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by glenspot, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    This has only happened ONCE to me this year, but this prospect told me that my contract was too detailed (He said, "It looks like you had a team of lawyers write it.") He said that he felt that he was at a disadvantage.

    I, in turn, said I would be happy to modify the contract so that we were both satisfied with the wording...blah blah. At any rate, he went with someone else.

    Short of posting my entire contract here.....

    Has this been an issue for you? I've read of people who do handshake deals and others who want DETAILED contracts.


  2. Big Dog D

    Big Dog D PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,134

    If he didn't like it it most likely means that he is looking for somebody dumb enough to be a "patsy" in the event of a slip & fall and the contract did what it was designed to do!!!!!!!!!:drinkup:
  3. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Mine is the same way, and when my friends saw it (they both plow, also), they said I would be lucky to get anyone to sign it. They both agreed it is a great contract, well written, but it is just too much in favor of the contractor. Many of these places that I've bid don't even USE a contract for their previous guys. You almost have to "sell" it to them and explain that it is just an "agreement" outlining the "expectations" of each of you. This sounds a litte more milder and friendly. I know I for one - never use the word "contract". It has the same connotation as the word "obligation".
  4. sir spaniourd

    sir spaniourd Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    If they don't want to sign it or if they complain they are not worth having them as customers. in the long run they will give you lots of trouble. Many companies such as electric, gas, morgage insurance, etc, use contracts and their customers don't complain. What would happen if you don't pay you morgage on a regular basis? My advice is to make sure you are completely covered with your contract. Any legit business is covered by a contract and without one you have the risk of not getting paid for the work you perform.
  5. Makndust

    Makndust Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    I made up a contract this fall for some of the higher traffic customers that I have. They have always expected their private contractors to sign their contract in that past. When I whipped the old 2 & 1/2 page contract on them they almost had a heart attack. I told them that I would be happy to sign theirs if they would sign mime. They acctoully had to take it to upper managment to look over before they would sign. They both did sign eventoully though. I took the meat out of the contract and made up a small 1 pager for the others. I havn't sent it out yet though.
  6. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    I would like to see that contract. I have one but it feels weak. Let me know if you would be willing to let me look it over.
  7. Killswitch

    Killswitch Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Just about any attorney in the country could wipe your hind ends with these Contracts ...I dont care what they say or who signs them.

    Just sayin.

    I sub right now but have done it all, and frankly I prefer the handshake deals.

    There comes a time and comes a job that needs something in writing. I know this, but a short detailed "agreement" seems best.

    You are never going to cover liability to any extent via contract. Basically you are agreeing to payment/charge terms, and spelling out any special requests, or concerns.

    They are basically ongoing proposals in my eyes.
  8. kingriver

    kingriver Senior Member
    from alaska
    Messages: 217

    Was just wondering if you could let us see how your new contract was written. I don't believe that anyone here uses any type of contract. Ours, just states, trigger (3") and that we sand (on-call) only,,with a response time....:cool:
  9. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    My Contract

    I have no problem posting my contract...I know its fairly complex....but everything is there for a reason.

    Parts have borrowed or adapted from other plowsite members. Parts I added. Still other parts were adapted from the Quicken Family Lawyer program my wife had.

    Here's the meat of it:

    Snow Plowing Agreement
    2005 - 2006

    This Agreement is made effective as of ______________________, by and between ______________________________________________________, and Pavlovich Property Care, of 106 East Iron Street, Bessemer, Michigan 49911. In this Agreement, the party who is contracting to receive the services shall be referred to as "Client", and the party who will be providing the services shall be referred to as "PPC".

    1. SERVICES – PPC will provide the following services (collectively, the "Service"): Snow plowing and/or snow blowing at ________________________________________________. Plowing visits are made at 3” of snow, or at the end of the storm as determined by time and conditions.
    2. COMPENSATION – Client will pay compensation to PPC for the Services based on $________ per occurrence. Total amount due will be delivered monthly by invoice and payable on receipt. Payments not received by the end of the billing month will incur a late fee of $25 which will be billed on the following invoice. Additionally a finance charge of 1.5% will be assessed to all outstanding balances monthly.
    3. RENEWAL AND/0R TERMINATION – This Agreement shall terminate/will renew automatically on _________________.
    4. EARLY TERMINATION PENALTY – Based on this contract; laborers, stockpiles of supplies, equipment and other elements have been hired, purchased or reserved for work at your location. Because of this expense client agrees that in addition to any outstanding balance and in exchange for early termination of this contract a termination fee of $150 will be paid to PPC within 5 days of contract termination.
    5. HOLD HARMLESS – Client understands that plowing of a particular location may not clear the area to “bare pavement” – and that slippery conditions may continue to prevail even after plowing. Client understands that PPC assumes no liability for this naturally occurring condition. Client agrees to defend and hold harmless PPC for any and all trespasses or suits that may arise as a result of this naturally occurring condition.
    6. It is understood by the parties that PPC is an independent contractor with respect to Client, and not an employee of Client. Client will not provide fringe benefits, including health insurance benefits, paid vacation, or any other employee benefit, for the benefit of PPC.
    7. INSURANCE – PPC acknowledges PPC's obligation to obtain appropriate insurance coverage for the benefit of PPC (and PPC's employees, if any). PPC waives any rights to recovery from Client for any injuries that PPC (and/or PPC's employees) may sustain while performing services under this Agreement and that are a result of the negligence of PPC or PPC's employees.
    8. DELAYS – PPC is not responsible for delays in service caused by acts of God or other events beyond its control.
    9. OBSTRUCTIONS OR DEBRIS – Other than specified under paragraph one, PPC is not to be responsible for cleanup of storm damage and debris caused by nature (drought, hurricanes, heavy winds, tornadoes, freezes, etc) or through the acts or inaction of the client or other visitors to clients property (vandalism, construction, demolition, etc). If special clean up is required before regularly scheduled services are to be performed PPC will, at its discretion; (1) Delay service until cleanup is complete. (2) Perform contracted service around obstructions. (3) Clean and remove the debris and continue to perform contracted service to the best of its ability. Cleanup will be billed to client at the rate of $125 per hour plus costs of materials. Excessive litter or debris MUST BE PICKED UP BEFORE SERVICE MAY CONTINUE.
    10. VEHICLES – If vehicles or other obstacles impede the work of PPC, service will be provided in those areas to which PPC has safe and open access. PPC will return at its earliest convenience once obstacles or vehicles have been removed to service the balance of the covered area. Depending on the scope of the work this return visit may result in being charged as a separate occurrence.
    11. ADDITIONAL SERVICES – Requests for additional services not described in paragraph one shall be billed per PPC’s current rate and included in the invoice as described in paragraph two.
    12. This Agreement contains the entire agreement of the parties, and there are no other promises or conditions in any other agreement whether oral or written.
    13. If any provision of this Agreement shall be held to be invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remaining provisions shall continue to be valid and enforceable. If a court finds that any provision of this Agreement is invalid or unenforceable, but that by limiting such provision it would become valid and enforceable, then such provision shall be deemed to be written, construed, and enforced as so limited.
    14. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Michigan.


    By: ____________________________________________________


    Pavlovich Property Care

    By: ____________________________________________________
    Glen Pavlovich
  10. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Nope...that's just too much. Some of it is even confusingm in that it contradicts itself. ( This Agreement shall terminate/will renew automatically).
    The Acts of God is bad, too. Also, the part about the DEFEND and hold harmless is a BIG shootdown. Hold harmless is one thing,...but with the other, you are actually asking the company or corporation to defend you on suits. This will never happen.
    My contract was even worse than this, but I defined it down. As a matter of fact, I went with a smaller fonts and it fits on one sheet front and back. It is just SO much easier to read and understand, and is actually more detailed on the specifications.
  11. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    The renew/terminate is changed when its printed for the customer....it doesn't get to to them that way. the customer will get a contract that EITHER renews automatically on a certain date or terminates automatically on a certain date. not both.

    Beleive it or not, the only customer that gave me grief about it gave me trouble over the line in paragraph 10. "Depending on the scope of the work this return visit may result in being charged as a separate occurrence."

    The defend and hold harmless is exactly what we should ALL have in our contracts. Or else when someone slips and falls at some location you've plowed i can hear the client saying "I can't sue him, but here's the name of the guy who plowed... YOU can sue him. Just don't tell him I told you to." Then they don't have to make a claim on their insurance, and they make us look like the bad guy.

    The Acts of God line is bad? Why? If you are delayed because of something TOTALLY out of your control, should your client be able to sue you for damages? Such as: their lost income for the time period you were delayed?

    When I first started out my contract was something like 3 paragraphs. But then as situations came up, I added and reworded things.
  12. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,908

    I still have some of the same customers I had wen I started plowing, and It's been a while. I plow a law office, Dr office and a Dentists' lot, Mostly professional clients and not one contract, just a hand shake agreement. I've never been sued or threatened with a suite or ever have any problems with being paid.
    The only problems I've ever had was with residential drives, we don't do many of them any more.
  13. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    I'm thinking the defend and hold harmless part would be sufficient just with the hold harmless. The word DEFEND sparks a red flag as soon as people read it. They could ALSO intertret it that THEY would be obligated to help defend you in the event of a suit. If the management tells the person to go and sue you, how would YOU know if they said that. They could just do that, anyway. Also, the DEFEND part isn't going to stop them from doing that if they are going to do that, anyway. With the acts of God thing, it makes it sound as if you are anticipating on being late or incomplete. Afterall, a 2" snow is an act of God. It just doesn't seem client friendly or to be able to "sell" well. I DO like your insurance clause (line 7) in the fact that it actually INFORMS the client that they are released from any liabilities for you and/or your employees. This is a positive selling point while simply stating an obvious (maybe given is a better word) responsibility. Since it's already written in the contract, I would be tempted to either italicize it or bold it just for the emphasis on it. People like that sort of stuff whenever they read that THEY are being released of something.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2005