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2004- 2005 Service Agreement

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by JPMAKO, Nov 8, 2004.


    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    Here it is.
    I would greatly appreciate some feedback, comments, corrections, anything you may have. Also if anybody wants to use it or modify it feel free...


    Attached Files:

  2. andersonbldrs

    andersonbldrs Member
    Messages: 34

    this seems pretty good and well thought out for the most part. I would change the bottom part where you call the "client" back to "customer" as thats what thier refferred to in the begining. As well as have blank areas to fill in the name of the "customer" in the begining portion. unless this is just a proposal, in that case you would save most all of what you have there for the actual contract.
    I also include in mine some movement of dirt and gravel is normal and to be accepted by owner as same. Snow is to remain on owners property. And around here on commercial our trigger is 2" Nice job on that contract by the way.

    Tom anderson
  3. eng50

    eng50 Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Not sure if you thought about actual removal of snow, or stacking in excess of what a plow can do? Bobcats, loaders, or other additional equipment you might need in larger events...Thats the only thing I thought of, otherwise a very nice well organized contract!

    Good luck..

  4. THREE W

    THREE W Senior Member
    Messages: 122

    I did not like the termination part, in that "either party can terminate with
    fifteen days notice"

    The reason for the contract in the most part, is so they are committed to you for the entire season, obviously there are reasons for you to terminate
    (no payment,etc).

    I think it gives them an out, which could happen if they found a lowballer, or late in the season they think they have spent to much $$ and don't want to finish and decided to gamble.

    You already have it worded that the contract expires on March 31. I would leave it at that.

    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    Snow Plowing Agreement

    Thank you for your input guys.
    I have made some changes, and I think that it is good now.

  6. ALEX516

    ALEX516 Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    Nice Job

    Nice job on the contract, I would include as stated previously a clause/section on heavy equipment, etc as it's better to read a bit more and have everything spelled out completely BEFORE hand than to argue it after the fact...
  7. salt shaker

    salt shaker Member
    Messages: 65

    contractual obligations

    I would have to agree that this is a well thought out contract, but have many people signed on for the year? If they have, more power to you, can you be my salesman. This contract says that you are not responsible for what ever happens on their property. You can royally f-up and not be held accountable. I've seen allot of businesses (good paying accounts too) that have gone with different contractors, because they take responsibility for their actions during the plow season. If I saw this proposal/contract, it would be the last one I would consider. Guys we are supposed to be Professionals, let other businesses know that, and we won't have to worry about low-ballers ever again. :gunsfiring: I agree with you not being responsible for where cars are parked, thats great! If the contractor doesn't notice you ripped up a 50' strip of sod because it was covered in snow, and he never saw it in the 48 hr. time period are you going to fix it? You even have written in here bare pavement will not always be acheived. Are you even going to show up!!? Bare pavement will commonly occur if your level of service is where it needs to be. I'm not trying to bash this proposal/contract, merely thinking the way one of your potential customers would!

    This is part of your contract for reference

    The contractor will not be responsible for the following: Damage to existing landscaping nor any damages that occur to asphalt or concrete surfaces as a result of our snow plowing or de-icing services. Contractor assumes no responsibility for vehicles parked illegally or in areas that the contractor has stated to the Customer to be in a location that causes a hazard or impedes performance of our work. The Customer must notify contractor within 48 hours of any other damages. Failure to report damages constitutes a waiver and the contractor is released from liability. Customer understands that plowing, shoveling or de-icing of a particular location may not clear the area to "bare pavement" and that slippery conditions may continue to prevail even after plowing/ shoveling or the application de-icing materials has occurred. Customer understands that the Contractor assumes no liability for this commonly occurring condition. Customer agrees to defend and hold harmless the contractor for any and all trespasses or suits that may arise as a result of this commonly occurring condition.
  8. John from OH

    John from OH Member
    Messages: 35

    "The Customer must notify contractor within 48 hours of any other damages. Failure to report damages constitutes a waiver and the contractor is released from liability."

    Salt Shaker, while I understand your position that we are professionals and need to conduct our business as such, a clause like this is needed in today's market place. Commercial and multi-unit residential properties have so much traffic, delivery vehicles and such, that can damage garage doors, barriers, fences, etc.. This damage often gets blamed on the snow plow contractor after the snow melts in spring. Good dependable operators know when they damage property and should note it on their route sheet so that the customer can be notified and repairs made. I have had instances where "Snow Plow" damage to vinyl siding, was reported as late as October for the previous winter and repairs were expected to be made. Since we had not done any work on that property in 7 months, any number of vehicles could have caused the damage. Since a certain % of people are always looking for something for nothing, it is our best interest to protect ourselves.

    The above being said, I think its good business to monitor and take responsibility for our actions. I do preseason walk thru's as my crews install plow markers and detail any damage to anything that might get construed as plow damage and I take pictures. Everything is documented as to date and time. I try to spot check for damage after every snow if possible. Post season we walk thru as we pull plow markers, note damage that I feel we did, and repair it. When we pull markers, we take topsoil, seed, and Penn Mulch and repair our turf damage. I try to be reasonable and fair, but I still have a 48 hour clause in my contract, it has yet to cause a client not to sign with us, it has saved our rear too, along with documentation.

    "Customer understands that plowing, shoveling or de-icing of a particular location may not clear the area to "bare pavement" and that slippery conditions may continue to prevail even after plowing/ shoveling or the application de-icing materials has occurred."

    I believe this clause is in Allin Companies's Contracts. I have one around here somewhere that I picked up when I saw John speak about a decade ago. Its more of a legal protection that the client is aware that under certain circumstances that bare pavement may not be achieved even with good faith efforts. It is not in anyway meant to be a license to under service an account, it is just a statement that in the real world, weather conditions may hamper our best intentions. It never hurts to try to protect yourself.

    Its not my intention to knock what you posted, just to clarify reasons that it might be prudent to include them in a contract.
  9. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

  10. JPMAKO

    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    I have read all of your criticisms, suggestions and I really appreciate all of it.
    In the agreement there is a section that covers me in case I need to take out the loader and move piles. It is on the bottom of the first page.
    This is what it says:
    *In the event that it becomes necessary to move or remove piles of snow, there will be a charge of $100.00 per hour for loader services.
    There will be a minimum charge of one hour allowed for equipment loading, destination charges and equipment unloading.

    As for the clauses in my contract (48 Hours - Bare Pavement) I only use these because of the liability issues. I would like to think that I am a professional contractor. These clauses are mandatory in the this particular business. I for one and not going to let some "lady" come walking out her door and fall on ice say that it was my fault that she has a broken hip.
    That is why I put the Bare Pavement clause in my contract. I do not want some "lady" owning my landscaping business because of her own negligence.
    Same thing goes for the 48 Hour clause. I have heard of people calling other contractors in April - June saying that there was some sort of damage and that the contractor is responsible to pay for it. Even though there was no evidence that the Snow Plowing contractor had caused this damage.
    Not me, I cannot have some "Guy" calling me in August saying that I killed his Japanese Maple Tree even though I know I went nowhere near it.
    I do not believe for a second that these things make me unprofessional in anyway. Maybe my agreement is a little harsh but it covers me. and if people don't like it they don't sign it. I have a very tight Snow Plowing route and all of my clients respect me as a professional business person. I have not lost one client do to my services or contract in over 10 years. I run the business they do not. I have about as many Snow Plowing clients as I can handle with 3 trucks going out. I am not really looking to take on any more this year so the way I see it It is MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY! My company has strict policies and I adhere to them.

    Does anybody else have a copy of your agreement that I could see?
    It never hurts to look at a bunch and utilize other ideas!

    Thanks again guys,
  11. salt shaker

    salt shaker Member
    Messages: 65

    Now this is conversation

    When someone asks for someones opinion this is what they should receive. Get down to the nitty gritty. Every single one of you is correct. At our company we have the same, if not more of these similar clauses in our contracts. They are just not as vague. I agree whole heartedly that damage should be reported within 48 hrs. as to address the problem right then and now. Just be a little more explicit in your contracts. John from Oh. you explained the exact thing that we do at our company about staking, damage details, and the like. I completely agree with what you had to say. DJL if you are on top of all your accounts drifting and blowing snow can be addressed. Do Not wait for your customers to call you when it becomes a problem. We actually have people who go around at 11:00pm-7:00am and a full time staff that monitors accounts during the day to look for these problem areas so that they do not occur. You could do the same, it just depends on what kind of service you want to provide. The service that John from Oh. and I are talking about is where this industry is heading, if it's not all ready there. I'm saying in a contract try not to lead the potential customer on that you can not give them the complete level of service that they deserve. Like I replied, look at it from your customers point of view. Sure cover your rear, but do it in a way the customer still sees you as responsible enough to believe you are going to do the best job possible. You are all correct in saying that in this day and age people want everything for free. Find out what their concerns are and make sure you take care of them and everyone will be happy. Guys I've been in this business for 13 years now, and this is all I do, sell snow removal services(year round) believe me when I tell you I UNDERSTAND . Try selling this in April-June. I just wanted to give you an idea how allot of customers would read this contract. If you guys are upset with me, sorry :nono: but JPMAKO asked for comments and that is what I gave him "straight-up". We have had more than one instance where damage was supposedly OUR fault, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose no matter what is in your contract. It boils down to how bad do you want to keep each account.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2004
  12. JPMAKO

    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    Salt Shaker,

    I thank you for your constructive criticism. This is why I posted this contract, I find it very helpful to get the opinions of other professionals in the same business. In my area there is allot of competition, and it seems that everybody is enemies when it comes to business. So getting help or sharing ideas with other contractors is unheard of. That is why I want to see other contracts. I have spent allot of time developing a contract for my particular business that I thought covered everything. If there is something else that anybody thinks I should add please let me know. All help is greatly appreciated.

  13. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343


    I would think about having your contract reviewed by an attorney. They would be able to insert words or change your wording around so that it would better hold up in a court of law. Or, better yet, avoid going to court and the customer realizing he doesn't have a chance of pulling the wool over your eyes. Just some more advice.

    Salt Shaker,

    I don't think its a matter of "staying on top of it". I have two types of service contracts that I have. One is like the soup to nuts never worry about a thing, the other is what I call a pay for service. Most clients do not want to pay what it costs me for the first but rather choose the latter. So, I set it up that if you call me back due to wind drifts, township plows plowing you in etc. it is this fee. I find that works for me. You don't agree?
  14. salt shaker

    salt shaker Member
    Messages: 65


    I guess I' m just to accustomed to the way we do things. There is no soup-nuts contract. Our level of service is the same for a $250 a year contract, as it is for a $5,000 a year contract. Each one gets around the clock service but what actions are performed on their property is determined by their service agreement. In a way we have different agreements for different customers, but they still get our full attention. Obviously you are not going to make any money if you are servicing a property 50x a season, but only had in your agreement 30x. That is why it is so critical to make sure you understand the customers problem areas before you design the contract to fit their needs. Use a standard proposal that can be re-worded or changed to fit each customer you have. Have a safe and profitable winter season.
  15. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    Salt shaker, I think I'm on the same page as you are?.?.?.

    I sell reliability, dependability, & quality with my business. I won't confuse level of service with quality of service. In other words, I'm still going to do the best job possible and not cut corners (you know, not take the extra time to shovel out in front of the dumpster or clean all the way to the curb). However, if you are paying me to plow your driveway and the driveway only, I'm not going to get out of my truck to do your sidewalk. That costs me time and money and the customer can opt to pay for that service or not. Same goes for deicing. If you don't sign up for it I'm not going to put it down just so when I leave the lot/drive it is "bare" pavement. That is what I mean by level of service. Agree or not?
  16. salt shaker

    salt shaker Member
    Messages: 65

    Same book, same chapter, same page, 1 sentence ahead(keep reading)

    I would have to agree, There is a fine line between level of service, and quality of service. As long as you work to exceed your customers expectations, then you are just that much ahead of your competition. Allot of contractors won't go that extra mile and they lose their customers because of it. Going back to the original post, keep in mind your quality and level of service that you will perform when writing up the contract. Do not hide anything, and lay it out on paper. This way the customer knows what to expect. If you exceed those expectations you will have them for years to come. I hope that JPMAKO benefits from our writings.

    Have a safe and profitable winter season! :waving:
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2004
  17. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    Well said SALT SHAKER. :)
  18. madadam

    madadam Junior Member
    Messages: 11


    I liked the cotract. Could you send it to me via e-mail? Had problems trying to open it in my word pad. Send to marinetech02@netzero.net
    Thanks alot
  19. timm9

    timm9 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    I mentioned this last year but I'm not sure that it got noticed. Possibly they do not have this in other parts of the country. In California, the "land of many lawsuits" one thing that many industries do is have an Arbitration Clause. This is part of a contract/agreement etc. that binds both parties to Arbitration instead of hiring attorneys and spending thousands of dollars before ever getting to a point of settlement or discussion. I would never enter into any agreement in either of my businesses (real estate & snow) without an Arbitration provision. If you are interested I have a sample.
  20. JPMAKO

    JPMAKO Senior Member
    Messages: 660

    I had never even thought of that.
    Please I would really like to see a sample of that clause.

    Thank You,