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Contract Opinions

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by CrisMurfy, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. CrisMurfy

    CrisMurfy Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I have been plowing commercial lots for years but for the first time I am going to begin to offer my residential customers driveway plowing. I have attached a contract that I have been working on, and I would like some thoughts on it. I have never done anything in the form of a contract for residential before so I kind of winged writing this. Any opinions as far as if anything I wrote is a bad idea, or any better things to add would be great. I am totally open to criticism if needed, because I would like to get this correct. Thanks in advance everyone!

    Attached Files:

  2. South Seneca

    South Seneca Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    I'm no expert on contracts. My first thought is, if you are working alone, and spending that much time out of the truck, you'll have a tough time keeping up with storms.
  3. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    It doesn't matter what WE think of your contract... after all, its free advice over the net... take it to your lawyer and see what HE thinks of it......
  4. JRS Landscaping

    JRS Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    first i would have the customer sign and date the contract on each page or make it one page. second i would not have the prices fixed i would leave blanks to fill in. i would not brush off cars for for free, i supply deicer and apply and charge for it. (more money and you dont have to ring the bell if its not out or its hard from water getting in it) shoveling should be done around cars/steps/sidewalks and included in your price. ( if they really dont want it you can just drop the price then accordingly then. think full service i would base your residential contract off your commerical contract, imo its more of an agreement of terms than a contract. i dont think it would hold up in court. if i was in your place i would take it to a lawyer and pay the few hundred and have it looked over and correct it, it will save you the headaches in the long run
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  5. CrisMurfy

    CrisMurfy Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    To answer the comments so far... I wouldn't be completely alone.. For now it would just be my 1 truck, but I will have people with me for the shoveling and salting..

    I am absolutely planning on having my lawyer look at it. I am just trying to have it ironed up as much as I can before bringing it to him.

    The shoveling around the cars included in the price, and supplying the ice-melt myself are things I will definitely change in the agreement.

    Thanks guys, just trying to get this as close as I can before my lawyer gets it. Much appreciated!
  6. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,557

    I wouldn't touch someone elses' car....liability right there whether or not its in your contract. I don't think people are going to like the whole, not responsible for your car deal either. If i had someone plowing my driveway and they hit my car, its their fault...its my driveway, if i'm home i'm going to be parked in it! You also mentioned you would shovel their walk but then said you aren't responsible for walkways or mailboxes....i don't understand how you can offer to do the walk but then not be responsible for it?

    Just trying to be the devils advocate i guess, better to find problems with it now than later when its in play....so, sorry if i sound like an a$$
  7. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    MCW you hit it on the head.
    1. do not touch their car
    2. most likely cars will be in drive shovel around
    3. do not salt unless they ask or if there is a ice storm period.
    4. sidewalks and mail boxes are more imporant then the drive to some peole.
    i have a customer whos mail man will not deliver mail if their mail is not clear (its in the street ) they are elderly you know how upset they get if they cannot get to their mail box to pay the electric bill. very
    5. leave the price blank each customer will be diffrent in some way some will want it done once before 7 am some will want it done after the storm mostt will not want a 2 inch trigger as they will not want to pay 200 dollars for a 8 inch snow fall.
    6. customer service make them happy and make them feel imporant.
  8. CrisMurfy

    CrisMurfy Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    All valid points. And no MCW, you do not sound like an a$$.. I welcome the criticism. I am going to edit the agreement based on everyones thoughts (because they are all valid arguments). I appreciate you taking the time to read through what I had.
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You need the KISS method.
  10. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    also you should include the steps and walks as one price with the drive also shoveling sounds so cheap do you have a snow blower?? if not you will need 2 ..1 to use and 1 for a back up .
    1- 2 stg and 1 single stg . shovel around garage doors and stairs and landing.
    blower will be able to get walways and sidewalks done far faster and more efficientt then shoveling.

    amend it to something like this:
    driveway , sidewalk , steps landing and clear in front of mailbox 75.00 this price is for a driveway 2 cars wide and 2 cars long approx 25 x 30 feet with 75 feet of sidewalk and 2 stairs including apron in front of drive for up to 8 inches of snow 1 x service to be cleared no later then 7am.. if more then 8 inches of accumulation is on site additional charges may apply

    also take de-iceing off there and put salting.
    calcium chloride extra
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  11. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    take out average size driveway. In my area, average size is like 2500sqft, but the next town over which we service in is around 5k. Just too many variables. Agreed, dont even bother touching the cars. when a scratch comes up your in trouble or if the people scratched there car themselves, they could say you did it when you were doing that, and boom your buying a new paint job. On residentials, we do larger depths, 2-6 then 6.1-12 then anything over 12 is $x per inch after or our hourly rate. We also state, that unless otherwise requested, we will clear your driveway by 8am and again by 430 pm in the event of all day snows. Prices listed above are for the amount of snow on the ground at the time of plowing, not the total amount of snow in the storm.

    sidewalks/walkways/mailboxes are the most important. Around here you have 24 hrs after the completion of snowfall to clear your walkway otherwise you face like a $50 ticket or something.

    for obsticals in the driveway we say this, we are not liable for damage to obstructions such as toys or other property left in the driveway or on the walks ways that we can not see at the time of service. We also stake our properties ourselves, and state that when you sign this agreement, your giving us permission to do so. Then we mark everything we may hit and the lawn and stuff too. We state for that, by signing this you are giving us permission to stake your property. We will not be held liable for property damage to anything in which we were not allowed to stake. We are also not responsible for the general wear and tear including scrataching, scuffing, and cracking of the ashphalt as a result of plowing operations.
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If your going to plow,then plow. As your shoveling a sidewalk the other plow guy banged out 3 more driveways.So unless your charging really good rates your losing money.
  13. Mass-hole

    Mass-hole Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 35

    This isn't a contract, but looks more like a bid sheet to me (and frankly not a very good one at that).

    You contract should describe in exacting detail what you will do, when you will do it, and what happens if you fail to do so. What your liability is, and what your customer is indemnifying you against.

    Here is a free-bee for you, I also provide a car brushing service for some clients. So our contract for car brushing reads in part: "The Owner is solely and entirely responsible for ensuring the safety of the Vehicle prior to the Vehicle being driven. The Company has communicated to the Owner that additional snow and ice will accumulate on the Vehicle between the Company’s completion of Snow Brushing Services and the time the Vehicle is operated. It shall be the Owner’s sole and complete responsibility to clear the Vehicle of any snow and ice having accumulated since the Company completed Snow Brushing Services, and snow and ice that the Company failed to remove during Snow Brushing Services prior to the Vehicle being driven."

    A good way to go about writing your contract is to think of every question, stupid or not, that a potential customer has asked you, and include the answer in your contract.
  14. peterng

    peterng Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    I just skimmed it but I'd say add a diagram if you are going to get out of the truck and provide hand services. I can't tell you how many ppl came up with the old 'oh ya I forgot to ask you about this area out back' after they signed.

    Ditto on do not touch their car. Do not lean on their fence or touch anything of theirs while you are there, as a rule.

    you definately need different rates for different size driveways. and based on grades, south/north facing/windy, uptown/downtown, gravel, arsholes, snow storage capacity, how many cars are parked in the driveway usually, retiree/7am departure, I could go on and on. I don't mean different rates for all those things, but they are all considerations when determining the rate. rates are indeed site specific on much more than area.
  15. plowman4life

    plowman4life Senior Member
    Messages: 557

    * Disclaimer
    MCM Pool Service will not plow within 3 feet from any parked vehicles, equipment, or any obstructions. We are also not
    liable for damage to vehicles, lawn, or property due to snow clearing. Please attempt to remove obstructions prior to our
    arrival. MCM Pool Service will not be liable for damage to pavement or any other surfaces contracted for snow removal.
    MCM Pool Service assumes no responsibility for slip and fall accidents or vehicular accidents as a result of slippery
    conditions. This is the case even when de-icing agents have been applied.

    this is the only thing you should look at.
    1 if you dont want to come within 3 feet of a car thats fine.

    2 even if the disclaimer says it. you are liable for any damage to persons or property that you cause thats what we have insurance for this wont hold up in court if they decide to sue you for crashing through thier garage door. as for the lawn explain that you wont be held liable for damage to the lawn if there are no driveway markers

    3 i would change the damage to pavement part to explain that while damage to pavement is unlikely it is possible and you will not be held liable for it or something to that effect.

    4 as for the slip and fall i would change that to you will not be held liable for slip and fall or accident if the customer is unwilling to pay for deicing materials

    you need to break it up with sort of a catch 22 kinda thing. you need to take some sort of liability. but you have to be able to turn it on the customer to CYA.

    so to sumerize i would just make it say not liable for damage to lawn or property (ie plants walls or pavers) if customer doesnt want driveway markers. not liable for slip and falls if customer is unwilling to pay for salt/deicing material.

    the key to the disclaimer is for your lawyer to be able to use it to poke holes in thier arguement thats how you have to write it.
  16. Harford13

    Harford13 Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Clearing off vehicles....... Really not a good idea unless you own a paint shop, Talk to a good lawyer, my contract is four pages, send me a pm and I'll send you a copy to look at