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Tree Service Contract

Discussion in 'Commercial Tree Care and Climbing' started by 2treeornot2tree, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. 2treeornot2tree

    2treeornot2tree Dont cry, just do it

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    I wrote up a contract for tree services. Wanted some feedback on the legal wording I came up with. If anyone wants to use it, they are more then welcome.

    By signing this legal binding contract, the Customer agrees to pay the above amount to the Contractor for the above described services. Contractor warrants it is adequately insured for liability injury to its employees and others incurring loss or injury as a result of the acts of Contractor or its employees and subcontractors. Contractor shall not be liable for any delay due to circumstances beyond its control including unavailability of materials or weather conditions. Customer acknowledges that small ground impressions may occur during the tree trimming / removal process and it will be the Customers responsibility to fix them. Customer agrees to pay Contractor a deposit of 50% of contract amount at time of signing to schedule job, and the remaining balance shall be due at completion of job. If customer wishes to cancel this contract, the customer agrees to forfeit the deposit. All disputes hereunder shall be resolved by the State of Pennsylvania Civil Action Law. Customer agrees to pay a $40 return check fee, and any court fees and costs associated with collection of payment through legal action.
     
  2. ForTheArborist

    ForTheArborist Banned

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    Nearly all of my clients would say no to that kind of deposit. It may just be market in San Diego. People are leery about being over extended that far because of crooked business practices around here. Really.

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  3. treemandan

    treemandan Tree Freak

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    I wouldn't give you a dime til you at least showed up.
     
  4. tree md

    tree md Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The only time I ask for a deposit is when I have to hire a crane and then only a third at most. That would scare most people away in my market.
     
  5. mckeetree

    mckeetree Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Not bad. I would figure out some word besides fix.
     
  6. mikewhite85

    mikewhite85 AboristSite Guru

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    50% is a lot. In Cali the most you can legally ask for is 10% or 1,000, whichever is less.

    The "small ground impressions" part might not fly but I definitely can relate. It's hard not to leave those, especially if you are doing removals. Most customers don't mind but some are pretty particular about it.

    Sounds professional and well written.
     
  7. beastmaster

    beastmaster Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yeah I don't think asking for an advance to do a job on a residential is normal practice or would go over well with the average HO. It would scare me off.
    A signed contract is binding enough if there was a payment problem with out pointing out what the repercussion would be. I would tone it down a little my self, but that is just my opinion.
    It is important to get certain things out in the open that may cause a conflict later. Lot of those can be written in on the work order and still be binding legally.
     
  8. ClimbMIT

    ClimbMIT ArboristSite Operative

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    I agree with the other posts. Would you pay your plumber half before he shows up to do $1000.00 job? I wouldn't! In the past I have had customers pay me half when I show up and begin to work, especially if it's a big job. What works for me SOMETIMES is I break it down into 2 to 3 payments after each day of work or particular tasks or complete. I have rented equipment before and just have the customer pay for it. All customers are different so IMO there has to be some flexibility. There is alot of great people and info on this site!
     
  9. treemandan

    treemandan Tree Freak

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    I actually was going to say it sounds completly the opposite but didn't want to stir emotions. But the cats out now so yeah, its sounds ignorant and one sided, almost like your are preparing to botch the job. The form its written is all jumbled, it makes the whole thing come off like a heated rant.
    You can always just go down to the Office Depot and read what it says on their contract forms and see how it put together.
     
  10. treemandan

    treemandan Tree Freak

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    Yes, if the job is 1k and the client gives you half then cancells cause his mom died, lost his job, or even broke his back trying to do the job himself, well, that just ain't right to keep the 500. Half the contract ammount? :laugh: yeah Ok. Where do I sign? Is cash Ok?

    I never get a signature, unless they want to, then I just humor them and let them.
     
  11. Huskytree

    Huskytree ArboristSite Operative

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    Wording

    I agree here in CT not too many people are going to be willing to give you a 50% deposite. I never ask for any money until the job is complete. Has never hurt me yet, knock on wood!

    Personally I don't do contracts, I give them a qoute and explain in that, there maybe some lawn damage that is not covered in the cost of the job for repair. If they want it repaired I will add the cost to the qoute. I am not in the landscaping business so if they want it I will farm it out to a landscaper.

    I also make it clear that I will cut the tree as low as safely possiable. But I offer a reference to a guy that does stump grinding.
     
  12. 2treeornot2tree

    2treeornot2tree Dont cry, just do it

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    I only did a contract because I am getting tired of going out spending time looking at a job. Then they say you got it, you put it in your schedule and then they call you back and give some lame excuse about have to go outta town for work for a emergency. Blah Blah Blah. Wise they would just grow some balls and say they changed there mind. I actually know someone in my area that uses almost this exact contract.
     
  13. 2treeornot2tree

    2treeornot2tree Dont cry, just do it

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    I have never really used contracts, but I am just geting tired of people not living up to there end of the deal. Like when you get done with a job and you go talk to the customer about payment, and they say arent you gonna send me a bill. I always tell them payment due when done. IDK, thought this might weed out some of the scum bags.
     
  14. ForTheArborist

    ForTheArborist Banned

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    My contract just says what the specific tasks are, what the price is, name, date, signature. And then there's a bit about responsible for all damages and injuries that are not included in the list if tasks. The last bit there just keeps them interested so in case they were leery about a contractors. The only thing I'm concerned about on the paper is the exact price due upon completion of the exact list of tasks. If I add more, they get skeptical. Too many details for them on the spot. I'm just worried about anyone avoiding payment and nothing else. Paper only has to be seen by the judge, and presto, I win. He wants to see pics and my prices. That's it.

    They can add and decrease tasks from the list, but both the client and myself have to initial those changes and the price change.

    I'm safe with that piece of paper, and they are happy about it every time.

    As far as their grass goes, I'd make a 1-2 line clause that says you wave repairs and repair costs on damages to grass. Now you and the owner initial that. If they decline it, X out the clause, and add the task to the task list. Then add the the repair fee to the bill.



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  15. sgreanbeans

    sgreanbeans Treeaculterologist

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    Verbiage is very important. Can make a huge difference when in court, god forbid ya ever end up there. Have a lawyer look it over.
     
  16. jandh@amtelecom

    jandh@amtelecom ArboristSite Operative

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    Hi, This is what I have on my Quotation/Contract for the HO to sign.:)


    Note: Due to the size and weight of heavy equipment involved, somedamage to yard may occur. Every precaution will be taken to ensure
    damage is kept to a minimum. It is the property owners responsibility to move any perishables to prevent such damage. Although insurance
    is in-place, and every effort will be taken to prevent any said damage, the property owner accepts this as a risk and signs to this effect below
    and accepts the contract and conditions as stated.
     
  17. NCTREE

    NCTREE Addicted to ArboristSite

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    get use to it its part of the game you cant letr it get to you. i state in my contract, bill that payment is do promptly after completion of work. You have to be careful invading peoples space looking for your moeny. Now don't get me wrong after a month month and a half of no payment then I start hunting the HO down looking for my money. you have to take all other precautions first and be polite otherwise they can spread bad words around. I say on adverage I have to hunt mt my money down about 2 or 3 times a year.

    Oh and that contract you wrote would scare me away if I was looking to do business with you, just saying...
     
  18. Grace Tree

    Grace Tree Impossible Access

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    I've used this phrasing in my contract twice as was very glad I had it both times.

    Grace Tree Service reserves the right to cancel this agreement if prior to, or after starting work, conditions are found that will not allow the safe completion of the tree work described above.

    Here's one I'd like to add but won't:
    Hey, Houdini. If you've spent the whole job standing there watching us entertain you or making sure we didn't do any damage, don't jump in your car and make your big escape when you see us finish packing up.

    Phil
     
  19. 2treeornot2tree

    2treeornot2tree Dont cry, just do it

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    Thanks for all the good input. I dont want to use it on every customer, but there is some, that seem to be sketchy that I would want to use it on. I dont like turning business away, but I am sure you have all quoted people that are just real sketchy, and as far as I am concerded I dont always want to do business with them.
     
  20. Blakesmaster

    Blakesmaster Addicted to ArboristSite

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    It's a bit long winded but is on the back of all of my contract sheets. I generally only write a contract if it's a job over a grand, the customer asks for one, or if I get the feeling they may try to not pay. I do a quick overview with the HO and have them initial it then sign on the front page. Only takes a minute and covers my ass.



    CTC warrants that the work to be performed will be accomplished in a neat and workmanlike manner by experienced personnel outfitted with the necessary tools and equipment to do the job properly. In the event of inclement weather CTC reserves the right to reschedule regular projects in order to serve storm-damaged projects.

    Tree Ownership:
    The customer warrants that all trees listed in this contract are located on his/her property, and if not, that he/she has obtained permission/consent from the rightful owner to allow CTC to work on the tree(s). Should any tree be mistakenly identified as to ownership, the customer agrees to indemnify CTC from any cost of damages incurred as a result of the work performed thereon, including any and all court costs and attorney’s fees.

    Lawn repair exclusion:
    CTC will attempt to minimize disturbance to the customer’s lawn. The customer understands that unless specifically provided for herein, lawn repairs are not included in this contract. The customer agrees to indemnify CTC from any cost of damages incurred to the customer’s lawn, incidental to and necessary for, the performance of tree removals and/or pruning, including damages caused by driving, divots, and/or placing equipment on lawn for the necessity of performing such work. In addition any object or plants within the under-story of trees that is/are identified as a "target" is the client’s responsibility to either move or waive rights to claim damages to such unless provided for in writing on front of contract, as above damages. Saw dust, leaves, and wood chips are incidental to the removal of any material, and as such shall not be considered as damage.

    Concealed objects:
    The customer agrees to pay CTC on a time and materials basis for any additional work required to complete the job occasioned by concrete or other foreign matter in the trunk, branches, or root structure. Rock, pipe, electrical lines, etc. encountered while performing such tasks, or any other conditions not apparent in estimating the work specified. The customer agrees to inform CTC of all private underground utilities and further indemnifies CTC of any damages done to such private utilities if not identified. CTC reserves the right to charge the customer for any damages to equipment incidental to performance of contract.

    Stumps:
    Unless specifically provided for, stump grinding shall not be included. Trees ‘removed’ will be cut to ground level or as close as possible, without causing damage to either saw chain or equipment: usually within 4” of grade, unless dirt or other debris is present at base of trunk. Height will be adjusted to protect equipment.

    Contracted work:
    Any contract that includes multiple items is priced as a project. The subtraction of item(s) by client, from a negotiated project package, will cause the original agreement to revert to individual item pricing. In addition any discounts given for any reason shall not apply to a contract that has been materially changed.

    Payment terms:
    Unless otherwise agreed to and indicated herein, the customer agrees to settle his/her account with CTC upon completion of work. Should there be a default in payment of this contract, and it is necessary to utilize an attorney for collections, the customer agrees to pay all costs of collections, including attorney’s fees/court costs. Any payments not made within 15 days of completion of the work will be charged a monthly fee of 1.5% of the outstanding balance until paid in full.

    Cancellation:
    If the tree crew arrives at the customer’s property prior to cancellation, customer agrees to pay a minimum service call charge equal to 20% of contract. In cases where special equipment has been acquired for the purpose of completion of said project; such as rental equipment, non-returnable equipment, or any other items specific for the safety of crew members, the cost for these items shall also be paid by the customer.

    Interpretation of contract: This writing contains the entire agreement between the parties and may not be changed, except in writing and signed by both parties. The validity, performance, contraction, and effect of this contract shall be governed by the laws of the State of New York.

    ACCEPTABLE FUNDS SHALL BE CASH OR CHECK. BY SUBMITTING FINAL PAYMENT, CLIENT HAS INSPECTED AND APPROVES OF ALL COMPLETED WORK, AND THAT CTC HAS SATISFACTORILY ADDRESSED ANY PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS. ANY WORK REQUESTED BY CUSTOMER NOT INCLUDED IN THE ABOVE SCOPE OF WORK SHALL BE CONSIDERED EXTRA AND WILL BE PERFORMED ONLY AT AN ADDITIONAL PRICE AGREED UPON BETWEEN PARTIES. CHOICE TREE CARE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO TERMINATE THIS PROPOSAL IF NOT ACCEPTED WITHIN 30 DAYS.


    edit: I am not a lawyer and cannot guaranty this will hold up in court. I basically stole it from another member of this site a few years ago and just altered it a bit to fit my needs. You're welcome to use it, but I recommend having your lawyer look it over first.
     

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