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Are contracts binding

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Joe T, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Joe T

    Joe T Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 3

    I have two signed contracts from commercial accounts. Signed in September for the 2012-2013 season. I have staked the property and when I went there today, there was another company's stakes there. Talked to owner who signed the contract and they said they decided to switch companies. I have been doing this lot for 15 years. Do I have any recourse. Too late in the season for me to replace this with another job.
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    All depends,does it pay enough to hire a lawyer to fiht it? In most cases if it were to go to court the contract is the law.
  3. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    Depends on the verbiage of the contract. If it's airtight, they will have to pay you, plus any legal fees.
  4. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    out of curiosity. How did that conversation go? I'd like to hear how you've handed it thus far, and what the client said to you.
  5. Joe T

    Joe T Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 3

    The verbiage reads at the end "I have read and understand this document and agree to abide by the terms listed and hereby enter into a contract for the purposes listed above." He signed both contracts. When I went in to ask him about the stakes that were put there with mine, he said, Oh by the way, my sister (partner) got someone else to do the jobs this year. When I told him he had a contract, he blew up and said if we wanted to get a lawyer to do so. I knew, with his personality, that he would go on the defensive. He has always been very happy with my work so this came out of nowhere but he is kind of a bully. I guess he wasn't even going to tell me if I hadn't stopped in. I was flabbergasted. Just goes to show you how little loyalty is out there.
  6. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    We are going through that right now

    If your contract is written properly you will prevail. Don't give in to them. You've made a commitment to them and they made a commitment to you. Make them pay. Giving in just shows them that you are "just a lawn guy". Try breaking a contract with the bank on a promissory note and see what happens. Is their success any different than yours? Only if you allow it to be different. Set higher standards for yourself and what your services are worth for your company, your employees, and your customers.
  7. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Are you the other contractor described in this thread:

    But seriously, seems opinions in that thread are the opposite of those found in this thread.

    Anyway do you want to work for someone who wants you gone but is forced to keep you by a court settlement? They're going to pick every nit possible and look for every excuse to get rid of you. Might be better to take it to court for monetary damages than for keeping the contract.
  8. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    I am a person of principal, and if a guy was flip with me like the gentleman you speak of was to you, I would take him to small claims court to try and get a settlement against him. In MA, even a verbal agreement is a legally binding contract, although at times very difficult to prove. So if you have a contract to provide a service on paper, you should be good. Plus, the thread holy cow mentioned was all about crappy service, not doing the job right yada yadda. I don't think the opinions voiced there relate to your specific case. Have him summons to court, rattle his cage. He'll realize from then on to think twice about being a cockface.
  9. Joe T

    Joe T Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 3

    I have done him a wonderful job over the past 15 years. In fact, because he was such a long term customer, I would even do a clean up of his aisles during the day and not charge him every time. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my lots and he has never had any complaints. I agree that I wouldn't take him back now after the way he spoke to me if he paid me double. I have turned jobs down this year because I was full and now lost 2 contracts. And he never even contacted me to let me know! I told him we were both businessmen whether he knew it or not and he told me not to go there and he could do whatever he wanted to do. I don't let anyone treat me like I am beneath them - I would rather lose the business. After all of your great comments, I am contacting my attorney first thing in the morning. None of us need customers like that - we work too hard.

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    You can argue that you are losing income from this because its too late in the year to sign any other contracts, You commited to him, and him to you, By him breaking the contract you now have a loss of income. Take him to small claims and at very least try and get a settlement for lost wages. Had you known earlier he was dropping you, you could have pursued other work to supplement this.
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Are you drunk? Because your making sense.
  12. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    100% agree!
  13. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    Contracts are legally binding & you can sue. My experience has been you won't get the full amount though. In my case it my settlement paid slightly more than the attorney fees. Check on the maximum amount you can get in small claims, you don't need an attorney for that.
  14. camp61

    camp61 Member
    Messages: 41

    Sounds like you'll get your chance the first big snow and his employees can't get in or out of his lot!!!! Price is double to clean up the mess!!!
  15. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 622


    Did you talk to your lawyer?
  16. Shop's Lawn

    Shop's Lawn Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    I just finished a small claims here in wi. This is what happened in wi. I signed a one year deal with a company for lawn and snow- I have in my contracts that if they cancel they owe me 50% of what is left on the contract- My contract started apirl 1st, we did spring clean ups,edging and mowing for month of apirl- They called to cancel may 2nd- so only a month into the contract. The amount was $1350.00 per month- they sent me a check for 600.00- I did not cash! very important do not cash a check if not full payment! My lawyer then filed a small claims for the month of apirl so 1350.00 so then there was 11 months left on contract, I took pics the next day they called to cancel of propertys to show they looked good. They never called to complain once and I got a email april 17 everything looked great. We sued for 7400/ some change- meditation did not work out- went to court trail- I was awarded full amount plus lawyer fees- I have 800 into laywer fees but wi state law for small claims they only allow 150.00.
    A contract is a contract. end of story- but think hard if you feel you could get them back and want them back do you still take it to court? pretty much you wont get them back I would assume then- I didnt want this company back- I only give my customers one shot, I dont deal with slow payments, people that complain! loss of income due to going to court you wont get anything- I tried in my case but judge said 90% you wont get anything.
  17. Snow Picasso

    Snow Picasso Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Agree 100%! Unfortunately in our business we are looked upon like 2nd hand citizens! We are a dime a dozen.....so I've been told. Most of us run this as a business, a primary source of income. You have to prepare, repair, and plan to service your customers. You have contacts in place to acknowledge what you will do, what they will pay, and how long you will do it for! With their signature comes their approval! You have time and money already invested in them! They need to pay you for that! My contracts have a 30 day written cancellation notice in them. If they should cancel they still have to pay me for any event during that 30 day period. I would send them a bill for every service the other company has provided. I'm sure they will contact you and then you work out a settlement! Good Luck!
  18. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    I'm guessing your claim will exceed the $3,000 Ohio small claims limit. Unless your a corp, you could always file a claim pro se, but my advise would be to utilize a well experienced council, who deals w/ these types of cases within the county of which you will be filling. Even though they will take 1/3 & the claim generally will only cover your losses, you can also file for damages as the court see's fit, as well as court costs associated. The good thing is you have 15 years of comparables, which could pay you an average sum, less expenses.