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Customer won't sign Contract, now what ???

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Eyesell, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    I ran into a new customer today that owns a small strip mall, 3 stores. The guy that plowed his lot last year has moved so this business was open. I went to see him today to get him to sign my contract and he said " I don't sign contracts, if you want that signed you'll have to wait two weeks while my attorney reviews it".... he said the last guy plowed his lot for 5 years with no contract and he paid him cash every time and never experienced any problems.

    I told him that my contract states that I'm not liable for such things as scrapes in his concrete, landscaping issues, slippery conditions, etc. I also pointed out my different price levels, and a few other important items. I also told him with no contract, I'm not responsible for any problems that may occur. His reply " no problem " just show up, do a good and fair job.

    At this point I have several things in my head :dizzy: that I am thinking about. Great, no contract, paid cash what else, he's liable for everything because with no contract no one will know who is doing the plowing, with no contract basically he's not held to any terms of my contract such as conciliations....I don't know....... please help with any suggestions...

    And as always, thank you for taking the time to respond !!!
  2. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    that is suppose to be "cancellations" I can't type !!!:dizzy: :dizzy:
  3. szorno

    szorno Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    In Colorado a hand-shake is a binding contract. Check to see if you have the same. I have done without, but you have to talk it thru. Also, depending on where you are, 2 weeks wait for atorney might be worth while. Don't count on his cutomers not knowing who did the job. Word gets around quickly. Whether you go verbal/handshake or wait for written, just make sure there is understanding and a limit to your liability clearly brought up.:nod:
  4. jt5019

    jt5019 Senior Member
    Messages: 853

    I personally wouldn't plow without some kind of signed contract.If it was just a private drive i wouldn't worry as much about it.Its not hard to look over a contract. If you want give him the three weeks for an attorney to review it .He may be a great guy and always pay on time but you still have to cover your own butt...just my opinion
  5. timm9

    timm9 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    Last winter I did a bank parking lot. I had a contract that was signed. It stated that I was not responsible for walkways, etc. Well... someone fell, and the bank got sued. I found out later they wanted to sue me but the contract stated I was not responsible for the walkway where the person fell. They came to me this year and wanted me to be responsible for the walkways (more like future litigation). I turned them down. If it's commercial, HOA, schools, etc... no contract no service!
  6. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    If he dosen't sign my contract describing my services can I still be sued ??
  7. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    You can get sued for walking down the street with your hat on sideways......

    It's the difficulty of the defense that counts.
  8. chris08087

    chris08087 Junior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 27

    I think a lawyer would say "It was your job to clean the sidewalks/street/p-lot, and after you did this someone fell and hurt themselves. If you did your job right, they would not have fallen, so its your fault!", now if you can prove that you did your job to the best of your abilities(records!) that would help you defend yourself, but you could still be held liable in my oppinion, even without a contract.
  9. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    Of course you can be sued. The contract is your defense. It doesn't matter that he pays you cash. If he gets sued the first question will be " who plows your lot?" Do you think he won't tell to protect you? I will never plow without a contract. It also makes it easier to collect money if he doesn't pay.
  10. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    I don't know what to do, I like the theory "no contract, no plowing "

    thanks for advise !!
  11. greensideup

    greensideup Junior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 10

    Just my oppinion here but i would not do it without a contract everything from legal problems to not getting paid runs through my head on this one.

    I feel that snow & ice control is a different animal than other jobs in our biz, I would not think twice about a mulch job or some shrub work without a contract but a long running snow job with tons of foot traffic,,,,shew,,,makes me trembel.
  12. DadnSon

    DadnSon Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    The only time I will do snow removal without a contract is when someone waves me down after a snow fall and pay's me cash at my inflated emergency fee.

    Tell this guy that you are willing to wait the 2 week's for his lawyer to review the contract. Explain to him that as a business owner he should understand the liabilty aspects involved.
    Add that you had a similar arrangement in the past and learned that..."Once bitten, twice shy".

    If he seems reluctant, drags his feet or flat out refuses to sign your contract then, this should tell you that his business ethics are possibly something to question.

    Good Luck! from a fellow Michigan snow plower.
  13. Landscape80

    Landscape80 Senior Member
    Messages: 167


    O.K If the guy wants you to do the lots and sidewalks without a contract, and pays you cash on the spot.....great! BUT.....what happens when you plow and he doesn't pay? You don't have a piece of paper signed that says that the guy will pay you. Personally I beleive that commercial contracts are an absolute must, and residentials are no biggie. All of my commercial accounts are under contract and when the contract runs out, I have em' sign another one......just so I know that I get paid and so somebody doesn't steal the customer that I tried so hard to get in the first place.:nod:

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