Dealing with lawn care customers that don’t want contracts.

A new mowing business may find itself having a difficult time getting customers to sign a mowing contract. If that is the case for consider this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Getting customers to sign up when you are new can be tough but there are definite benefits to it. If you don’t have your customers signing a contract with you, there is no paper trail of what you and the customer agreed to, which can lead to problems down the road if the customer stops paying.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am 18 years old and am starting up a lawn care business. I graduated from high school in May and started working at a local car dealership 2 days after graduation. I worked with them for 6 months before I left and decided to go back to lawn care since I have been doing this since I was 12.

I currently have about 12 yards that I am mowing but none are on a lawn care contract. I feel as if a lot of people try to avoid signing contracts if at all possible. I am not sure if this is the case with everyone but I would love to have some yards that are on a once a week or bi weekly schedule.

I am trying to get another 10+ customers hopefully. I have business cards and just got 1,000 door hangers printed that I have been slowly passing out. I have a website too but not exactly sure what all to put on it.

I have talked with a bunch of other business owners around here and a lot of them don’t use contracts either. They just ask if they can do it once a week or so and then if the customer requests it to not be done then they wait.

I have had two incidents so far where customers have yet to pay me but nothing I would take to court yet. I just don’t know what I should be doing to push to the next level.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I suggest you use mowing contracts all the time! As you are now experiencing, eventually a customer(s) will refuse to pay you for one reason or another. If nothing else with a contract, you are outlining payment amounts, services provided, payment frequency, and any other information you deem important.

I use annual contracts with my commercial mowing accounts and usually only the first year on residential accounts. But especially with new customers. With them, I build a relationship. If they become slow payers, the following year I will offer them a pre-pay option or not renew them. I am running a business here, I don’t just do this for extra beer money.

You should also check with your city and state to make sure you don’t need licenses for the work you do especially with fertilizing. I turn in at least 6 companies per year in my state for not being licensed. I had to do it. Lastly get insurance. These are just some of the expenses in operating a REAL landscape business. I had two mishaps this year and they were strictly accidents. Without insurance I would have paid out $ 1,500.00. Instead I paid $250.00.

In one accident I had a stone thrown from a string trimmer that took out a patio door. The bigger mishap was digging a 6″ deep trench for a sprinkler line and I hit a 3/4″ natural gas line buried 4″ below grade. Code in my state requires gas lines to be buried 18″ but since I didn’t call utilities to get it marked prior, my insurance company had to pay. It cost me my $ 250.00 deductible. The gas company charged $ 785.00 for 15 minutes work fixing it. Is insurance important? Yeah I think so!”

A third shared “something to keep in mind is that although some mowing customers may want to avoid a contract or a lawn care maintenance agreement just because they don’t like them, others may want to avoid it if they feel they are unsure of the company providing the service.

So if you are new to the lawn care business industry, it is very possible as you go, you will grow into using them because you will get more comfortable with them and your customers will as well.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.

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