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Ever have a customer drop you for this?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Pro Lawn Care, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. Pro Lawn Care

    Pro Lawn Care Member
    Messages: 36

    I took over another contractor’s workload recently and sent out new contracts to all his customers. I guess he never had contracts with them at all (all small biz. and resi.) I have received a few phone calls on it but it was well received by everyone I thought. Today I received a contract back for a small biz. lot and the post it note attached said “I am sorry but I was looking for something simpler than that”. I don’t understand that at all? I called the women and she said “plowing snow is simple; the whole signing a contract thing is just over complicating it.” I than called the man who’s accounts I took over and asked if he ever had any problems with any of his customers and he said “no” so I asked about her exactly and he had nothing but good things to say about her. I called her back and told her I am sorry but I cannot provide you with a service without a contract to protect myself in the event something should happen and I also reminded her it also protects her too. She wanted nothing to do with it??? I know I did what I had to do there but has anything like that ever happened to you?
  2. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,279

    Some people are old school. Depends on the person, business, and relationship on how I would proceed. Most importantly what's your gut feeling.
  3. paponte

    paponte Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    You should check with the County that you work in. In our County we are required to be licensed and insured, and have a written contract for any work we perform. If we do not have a written contract, we can actually be fined something like $500.
  4. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    walk away
    Not only will you not get paid, but they'll whine about something and say 'we had an agreement" or unmarked stuff or something.

    people who don't want to sign contracts (that are relatively simple, I mean if you hand me a 5 page contract, I'm not signing it either) are going to bone you.
  5. Precedence

    Precedence Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    What he said X2..

    I had that with a business last year, the lady didn't want to sign a contract and i took it on anyway (i learn the hard way sometimes). First they bi@tched about me coming to often to plow and salt and then they bi@tched about me not coming often enough, they didn't want to pay their bill either so they ended up dropped mid season.

    If they don't sign a contract they can go find someone else that's willing to put up with their BS.

    Try telling them this next time:
    People sign contracts for all kinds of things like cell phones and so forth, why should snow and ice management be any different? It's a service, and not just a luxury service like a cell phone, it's a critical service so why should it be handled in anything less than a professional manner?
  6. Dissociative

    Dissociative 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,066

    i disagree.....if the old guy said shes cool STICK WITH HER..

    who has customers to lose in this day and age?.....rewrite it as a "agreement" and dont require signature....then its and "oral" contract...

    basically.....why throw away a known good customer cuz she dont like your papers?....at least try her for a year before you throw her away...
  7. Dissociative

    Dissociative 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,066

    i do like this response though....BUT...any customer today is a good customer...
  8. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    I sure wouldnt pass up an account
  9. Winterized

    Winterized Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    When I have been on the other end of it..... one time with a national motel chain..... new owners. Worked for old owners for years, never signed anything.

    I would not have signed their contract either because it just plain scared the hell out of me !!
    Was ridiculous !!! Never worked for them again either, not sorry.

    I have never used contracts, only agreements that are drop dead simple and short, only a couple paragraphs. Written to give the people an easy out if they want, and still cover my butt.

    People can throw a contract back in your face too. For me it's not worth the hassle and potential to create hard feelings.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  10. ajman21

    ajman21 Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    not to pirate this thread but how long is ur contract? mine is three pages for comercial. seems fine for comercial but just mention a contract to residentials around here and more than half will turn tail and run.
  11. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    Worst issue we have was in one of these arrangements....the quote, "...we agreed you were to do this or that..." You will hear this later so IMO put it in writing now and agree to it.
  12. serafii

    serafii Senior Member
    Messages: 287

    Something like this has happened to me a few years back. My dad went 20 yrs without sending out contracts to our residential clients because they are all yearly clients.

    3 years ago we had an abnormal winter with about 400cm of snow(the average is 215cm) So after that year I sent out a contract simply saying that it would cost X amount per centimeter if we exceed 230cm. Just to cover the extra expenses in fuel, employees and what not. We do monthly around here and not per push.

    Of all my 90 accounts, one man called me and left me a message saying he did not want to sign. So I called him n asked why not and his reason was "its been 20 years that we've had verbal agreements. I don't want to sign anything because it will ruin our relationship. But however I will tell u verbally that I agree and will pay what ever amount I owe you extra if we exceed 230cm"

    The last 2 winters we got about 180cm of snow each winter and he gave me an extra 200$ a year out of good will.

    So I would say call her back, talk to her and take th account.
  13. jgoetter1

    jgoetter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    Its not you, its her. You can't please everyone. One of the best things I've learned is that not everyone will like my style and there's nothing I can do about it.

    She doesn't like the contract; but the next guy will.
  14. Pro Lawn Care

    Pro Lawn Care Member
    Messages: 36

    My resi. contract is 2 pages (one side of page only) and my com. contract is 4. I don't think that is bad?
  15. Pro Lawn Care

    Pro Lawn Care Member
    Messages: 36

    HAD this happen a time or two! and thats why I use contracts!
  16. Pro Lawn Care

    Pro Lawn Care Member
    Messages: 36

    I will have to ask my lawyer and see about this. I never herd of that but there is a lot of things I havent herd of as far as the law is concerned! LOL
  17. Pro Lawn Care

    Pro Lawn Care Member
    Messages: 36

    I really like this! Mu gut says walk but my pocket says try to work with her? I have had bad advise from both in the past!! LOL
  18. Pro Lawn Care

    Pro Lawn Care Member
    Messages: 36

    I think I have a plan! Resi. bill per push but it is billed out monthly (easier to keep track of who paid) and I think I will accept her verbal agreement if she would like us to do the work. I will try her for 1 month and if she is late or don't pay then she is gone and she will have a good time finding a new guy on short notice! What do you all think? I really hate to lose clients but I really need to cover my rear end too. This verbal contract may work but I really don't want this to become a trend!
  19. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Knock on wood or whatever, but in 10 years of all commercial good paying accounts, we have only givin them a copy of insurance and price. To be honest , I think it all boils down to just try to do the best you can to avoid claims. Granted crap happens . Thus, why we see many using sub-contractors that are on the hook. We have a good relationship with a CO that subs us work and we massage his customers as if they are ours. A claim is on us though if we hit something and we have. If its a good account I would waive that contract and just do it, but I would go see the lady and do a little schmoozing to get back on the same page. My end up being one of the best accounts.
  20. Pinzgauer

    Pinzgauer Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 134

    My agreement (I dont call it contract) is 4 pages long. My accounts are all residential and I never had a problem getting it signed. I always say that my insurance requires it and that I wouldn't be covered if I did any damage. Never lost a customer over it.