Customer wants out of annual lawn care contract mid season.

Any time you interact with customers, there is always that potential to have conflict with them. To avoid conflict, you may find yourself utilizing a lawn care contract that explains your terms of service. However, as we will see in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, there will always be some new angle a customer will try and play that you will have to deal with and figure a new way to handle so the situation won’t happen again and again and again.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I got a call today from one of my annual lawn care contract customers, asking to cancel service for the rest of the year. The problem is, this guy is on a monthly contract that doesn’t expire until May of next year. What bothers me about this is he says he’s trying to save money for fuel oil for his home heat.

It just doesn’t make sense. Canceling the lawn care contract is going to cost just as much as it would if he paid it out monthly, only it’s going to have to be paid in one lump sum (something he always had issues with). I haven’t had to deal with this yet, I just wonder what others do when someone wants out of a contract? Does anyone write a penalty for early cancellation into their contracts or simply charge the full amount of the contract regardless?

He was only scheduled for 2 more mowings so the only thing I’m really losing is the wait to get paid for the remainder of the contract. He wants out then he pays the balance. Still doesn’t make any sense to me though.

I charge them the equivalent of 3 mowings per month for 12 months. This allows for either 36 mowings or 32 and a leaf pickup. I did it this way because most of the customers with poor money handling skills would have a fit every month that had 5 of their weekday mowings in it. They could barely handle 4 per month.”

A second lawn care business owner said “if you can get the customer to pay out the remainder of the contract, good for you, otherwise, I’d let this one just go. Then I would write in a 30 day cancellation clause. This would tell the customer they need to give you 30 days notice or pay for 30 days of service before being able to get out of the contract.

This 30 day notice is designed to give you time to add another customer. Who knows, the next customer might be bigger and better.”

A third shared “I would let him out without penalty and next year if he wants to sign up again for service, make him pay a 20% premium. We also put a 30 day clause in our contracts for us and the customer.

If you try to force him to pay the money remaining on the contract, remember one thing, people will tell everybody they know about a bad experience and it will travel like wildfire. For the couple hundred dollars you will be out with this one customer, is it worth losing potentially several thousands of dollars in the future because of bad word of mouth?

Now if it was a commercial lawn care account, that’s another story all together. My agreements with them are all iron clad and specifically have terms of what happens when canceled so they would hold up in court.”

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