If you presently own a landscaping business or are just starting one, eventually you're going to have to write a landscaping contract. Since every job you do is a contract, it's best to keep all the work documented. Having a written contract is the best way to protect yourself, as well as the client. Plus, it makes record keeping that much easier at the end of the year. Here are some tips and basic things that should be listed on a landscaping contract.
Things You'll Need
- Contract form (store bought or computer made)
Purchase or make your contact form. You should be able to purchase pre-made contract forms at your local office supply store. It's easy to make your own on a home computer. Making your own gives you the advantage of creating a contract with your specific needs in mind. You'll also have your records stored in one place. If you can, type in your information as it looks more professional. Make sure to list your contact information on the form. First impressions are everything when it comes to business.
State what services you plan on providing. If you are planting, weeding, trimming bushes, amending the soil, or anything else, spell it out. The client wants to know everything you plan on doing to justify the charge. This also covers you in the event there is a misunderstanding on what labor is to be done. List your labor price as a separate item on the contract.
List all the items the client is purchasing, such as plants, soil and mulch, including their price. This will let the client know what items they are paying for. You will also have a record of what items were purchased for the job in the event a problem arises in the future.
Write down a time frame in which you expect the job to be started and completed. Most people want to know when a job they are paying for will start and how long it's going to take. This also should be listed as a separate section on the contract.
List any other services that are included in the landscaping contract. If you intend on going back to the job in a couple of weeks to check on everything, or plan to do anything else not included in the initial labor charge, write it down. You'll have a record to refresh your memory of what service you are to perform in the future. This will help to cut down on any misunderstandings because it's in writing. List this cost as a separate item on the contract.
Write down any guarantees that are included with the job. If you plan on guaranteeing the plants, or a plant, for a certain amount of time, write it down. This not only covers the client, but yourself as well. If you don't plan on guaranteeing any of the plants, it might also be good to note it. You don't want the client to come back and say you need to replace plants, when circumstances beyond your control killed them.
State any upfront fees that are to be paid before the job, or other payment terms. For instance, if you are to be paid a third upfront, and the rest upon completion, write it down. Nothing is more irritating that doing the work and having money out and then you can't get paid. Make sure to list this as a separate item on the contract form.
Total up all costs, taking into account any credits that are on the contract. Once you've come to a figure, your contract is almost done. Now, all you have to do is sign and date it and you can give it to the client.