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Problem with clients & contracts

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by HBLandscaping, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. HBLandscaping

    HBLandscaping Member
    Messages: 63

    Im having an issue with clients taking our snow removal contract and crossing out and writing what they want on it and in it, signing it and returning it. I recieved 2 contracts back within the last 3 weeks (2 -3 months after they were mailed to the clients) and they both had marked out the "trigger amount" then one changed the price and both changed terms of the agreement. Both of these clients I have been plowing for for over 5 yrs and without a problem, until now. They all expect these contracts to be legal agreements. I have all clients or potential clients read and sign the contract and then return it to me, then after I recieve the signed contract back I sign off on it to make it a legal binding agreement. I've been doing it that way from day 1 just incase someone trys to make changes and sneak it by like now. Im glad I was thinking ahead when I did my contract that way.

    What should I do about these contracts?

    I have talked to 1 of them and tried to explain my concerns and work with them on the issues they brought up and didn't make any headway. The other one I can never get ahold of and has taken 3 months to get the contract back from them to start with. The second one is also a long story, The person who is in-charge of signing the contract isn't my contact person or the person who gave me the job. It is a church and a friend of mine got me the contract and over see's the ground, but do to his job being out of town alot the second in charge of grounds over see's it 90% of the time. This guy is in his late 80's and doesn't come around or do the job, but yet he's the one signing my contract.When working for this church it depends on the day who you work with/for, One day its the guy who over see's all work inside and out of the buildings, one day its the assist to that guy, somedays its the assist's son who fills in and over see's his dads work (due to his age) and somedays its the secretary who seems to be the only one I can reach and talk to, but she's not helpful because everything has to go through the others before she can act....Only things she's good for is getting my the payup within days of the snow.. ( Told ya long story....

    I'd hate to lose these jobs becasue they are close to both my home & shop and are great money for no hassal (until now :dizzy:)

    Anyone else ever have these issues with clients?
  2. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    LOL at the people who are changing your terms on your contract and sending it back to you. What a cowardly way for them to do business!

    You need to talk to these people face to face if possible, or on the phone at minimum. It is up to you how flexible you want to be in your prices and terms. If you can not get a hold of them then you need to leave messages letting them know they will not receive service until you agree to terms.

    As far as losing the accounts goes, I do not imagine they will be able to quickly sign someone else if they are giving you this sort of run around, unless they get a real low-baller.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Actually it's not a contract until both sides agree to the terms. You send out a proposal and they made changes to it . If you initial and sign it then it becomes a contract.
  4. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Grandview is exactly right on this one. I do all my signings in person. If there are any disagreements to it, then we hash it out till we are both happy. Make all the proper changes, and both parties initial and sign. It is not a contract till that happens. If you don't agree with the changes, then you'll have to do a face to face meet and work things out, or inform them that they will need to find another company to plow them.
  5. wirenut

    wirenut Senior Member
    from nh
    Messages: 529

    i wouldnt show up and when they call and ask why... i didnt agree with your terms...
    those type you dont need...

  6. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Actually, this is quite common in negotiating contracts. It's up to you to decide if you want to accept their "counter-proposal". If not, tear it up and (as a courtesy) notify them that you are unable to reach any agreement. If you want, sign it and return a signed copy to them.
  7. Send them a letter saying:

    We will not negotiate with terrorists....
  8. GreenManEnvy

    GreenManEnvy Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    Well, the trigger amount would be something I'm willing to change based on the client's desires, so in that case, I'd prepare another contract and take it to them to get signed.

    The changing price would not be something I'd go with, unless the client increased it. :D

    The changing terms could go either one way or the other, depending on what terms were involved and what they were changed to.

    I set a date to respond by on the contracts, after which the offer expires.

    In any case, you do need to discuss these with them, and, without a contract that's signed you shouldn't be doing the work.
  9. qualitycut

    qualitycut PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,231

    I had a similar thing but he called me, we talked and agreed on it.
  10. HBLandscaping

    HBLandscaping Member
    Messages: 63

    The problem Im having is the one person is staying in there vacation home in Fla and said "I will call you if I want you to come plow." "I will be checking in on the weather in Maryland from fla and if there calling for snow I'll call you" I tried to talk over the phone and met in person before they leave again this weekend to go back to fla but she said "I don't have time to discuss this, I have things to do"

    She also said that if snow falls she will check the amount that fell and then call me and let me know she wants me to go plow her driveway. Now I have the house right next door that I plow for the same price, same trigger, same terms as what I sent her this year and every year for the past 6 yrs. Why should I drive 20 minutes(without snow) out of my way to plow her neighbors driveway and then head 40 (without snow) minutes the other direction to plow my other contracts and then drive back down to plow her driveway after she calls me? I shouldn't but she didn't want to hear that. I also tried to tell her that if I had to wait for her to call or backtrack just to due her driveway that it would cost twice as much....AGAIN she didn't want to hear that.

    Plowing around here is starting to be more of a pain in the @ss then its worth. I know 4-5 guys who have gave up plowing in the last 3 yrs due to 1) limited snow were seeing around here 2) clients nickle and diming them 3) clients pulling this stuff , Im thinking about giving it up to.

    Im trying to work with these people but Im running out of patients with them. I spent all day for the last 3 days trying to track them down and work with them.
  11. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Why are you even messing around with something like that? I have several with absentee owners and vacant. They pay me to have it clear when they decide to come up, One wants it cleared on a certain weekend every month. Another never lets me know when they'll be here, but it better be clear when they do. Otherwise it's up to me how and when to plow. I would never work under those conditions. No need to tell her anything other than "Find someone else".
  12. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    For the poeple who want to call you to go way off your route to plow them, I say tell them it is now an hourly charge. The time will be however long you have to go out of your way, how long it takes to plow them, and however long it takes you to get back to wherever you need to be. $100 per hour minimum.

    Do they call the Dr and let them know when they are coming? No, there is a scheduled time, decided by the Dr. office. Do they call an airline and let them know when to set up a flight just for them? No, they get on a scheduled flight. Do they drop their car off at a mechanic and tell them when the mechanic will have it finished? Heck NO! It is the same for your services!
  13. Kunker

    Kunker Member
    Messages: 96

    X2. Is there any chance you could try door-to-door in the area, see if you can line up some customers so it is worth your while to service your remaining customer?