With some people, a handshake is just not enough. Using written agreements, specifying the scope of work and documenting changes eliminates misunderstandings and/or miscommunications. It prevents the lost of bottom line dollars. Profit Dollars!

Why do you need a contract? A contract clearly defines the terms and conditions between both parties. It protects you should there be a dispute over work performed or payment of money. The contract spells out three important things. First, it spells out exactly what your duties are, second, the amount of money you are to be paid, including the schedule of payments, and last, it requires the other party to give thirty days notice prior to canceling the contract. This is very important because it gives you time to rearrange your work schedule to compensate for the opening. It also gives you a chance to re-locate any employees that you may have had working on that site.

A contract is also a selling point. A contract should spell out the conditions under which you must perform your duties. These conditions usually benefit the property owner or association. It says your company must provide a certificate of liability insurance to assure them that you are properly insured. Under those same conditions, you must supply them with a Workmen’s Compensation certificate, which is another excellent selling point. Since your company has Workmen’s Compensation insurance on its employees, this takes most of the liability away from the property owner in the event an employee gets injured on the job. “THEY LOVE THAT.” It states that your employees will work and conduct themselves in a professional and orderly manner. It also states that after each working day, you will do a clean-up of the area where work was performed.

But if you are just getting started, where do you acquire the necessary contracts, forms, brochures, and other promotional and legal materials you need to operate your business?

If you can afford it you can pay for the assistance of professionals to prepare these for you. If not, you may find them through networking with others in your field or you can use pre-made templates and forms to fashion your own.

Template Forms sign hereIn this column we will provide templates, forms and promotional ideas for brochures that you may use for your own business.

Important Note: These forms are provided for your use, but are not a substitute for legal advise. With any legal responsibility you should consult an attorney. The information contained in this article is for general information only. ProGardenBiz suggests that you make no decisions based solely on this article. Details will vary from state to state. We recommend that if you need legal advise that you consult an attorney.

ProGardenBiz Form LMA1. Landscape Maintenance Agreement Contract. This form may be used in your business, but may not be resold. Simply “cut & paste” the text of the form from this web page to your word processor. Then modify the form to your needs.

Landscape Maintenance Agreement

NAME: _______________________________________
DATE: ___________

ADDRESS: ____________________________________
PHONE: _________

1. The purpose of this Agreement is to set forth the terms and conditions under which Your Landscaping and Gardening Service (hereinafter called “Contractor”) will provide landscape maintenance service for Customer at the above address.

2. Contractor agrees to perform the following services as outlined in the Landscape Maintenance Plans*. Service under this agreement will be:
o Basic Plan o Weekly o Biweekly
o Standard Maintenance o Weekly o Biweekly
o Custom Program o Weekly

Service will exclude:

or will include:

3. Contractor will furnish labor and equipment necessary to perform the above services. Customer will be charged for all material used.

4. Customer agrees to promptly notify contractor in writing of any dissatisfaction with the maintenance service to insure that maintenance is performed as agreed.

5. Customer shall pay to Contractor at the rate of $ _________ per service call for the service herein agreed to be performed. Contractor will bill Customer and Customer shall make payment within ten days of billing date. Customer agrees to pay a service charge of $10.00/10 days overdue for all payments not made when due. In consideration of the extension of credit Customer will pay a deposit of $ _________. Deposit will be applied toward final bill.

6. The terms of this Agreement shall commence on ______________ 2003 and shall continue in full force and effect thereafter until it is terminated by thirty days written notice by either party to the other.

7. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Your State and constitutes the entire agreement between the parties regarding its subject matter.

9. Should Contractor be required to engage the services of an attorney in connection with this agreement or to enforce payment hereunder, Contractor shall be entitled to his reasonable attorney’s or collection fees.

10. Contractor guarantees that it will perform its service in a workmanlike manner. Should Customer’s plantings be damaged by any failure of Contractor to fulfill its obligation under this Agreement, Contractor shall repair or replace such damaged plantings. Contractor shall not be liable for any damage due to Acts of God or Nature. Customer’s right to repair and replacement are the exclusive remedies and Contractor shall not be liable for damages, whether ordinary, incidental or consequential other than as expressly set forth herein.

Your Landscaping & Gardening Service Customer
__________________________________ ________________
Your Name Customer Name:
Date: Date:

Start Date: _____________

Other Notes:

Notes on the Use of this Landscape Maintenance Agreement:

Template Forms examine contract This agreement was primarily designed for residential landscape maintenance contracts, but can be used for small commercial contracts as well. It is designed to be simple, short, and to the point. Longer contracts will intimidate your customer and may cause last minute problems in closing the sale.

Contracts for Homeowner Associations and large commercial maintenance jobs can be much more involved and will be covered in another column.

Important points in this contract:

  • Contract calls for a deposit. This amount should be equal to one month’s service. This covers your service in case your customer is late in paying their service bill. Never allow an account to exceed the period covered by the deposit. Suspend service at 30 days until the account is brought current.
  • Contract covers all work to be done and excludes any work not included in contract - be sure to fill this area out if there are questionable areas.
  • Late charge (service charge in contract) is assessed when customer is late with their payment. This is an important feature to ensure timely payments.