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Thread: Attorney?

  1. #1
    Martyk1313's Avatar
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    Attorney?

    Any mobile car detailers out there have an attorney? Do I really need one?

    I am trying to get a commercial contact drawn up. I have a few customers with small fleets. I`d like to Detail their vehicles once a month. I figured it would be best if I can get them to sign a contract and get them on a monthly subscription.

    Am I better off just using Rocketlawyer.com?

  2. #2
    wannafbody
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    Re: Attorney?

    You might find forms at Autogeekonline.com. I`m not sure a contract is the way to go. Corporations often reserve the right to cancel contracts with a simple notice. Depends on the customer though.

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    Re: Attorney?

    Martyk1313:
    Since you are in Syracuse NY, you might want to reach out and contact the Syracuse University college of Law and ask them about small-business contracts that are specific to the state of New York and what specific concerns you have.

    OR you can contact the Better Business Bureau and ask them if they have a small-business mentoring program that may address some of your contract concerns.

    OR, if you have business insurance, contact the agent or broker you are dealing with and ask them about business contracts or service agreements. They may direct to an internal lawyer who they work through on such matter.

    Some may suggest LegalZoom or other on-line legal services, and I assume they are not free (pro bono, in legal speak!), but I also assume they are much less expensive than going through a lawyer.

    One BIG advantage going though a lawyer is that that person is familiar with local and state laws as it pertains to the business and operations you are in AND if there are "problems" between you and a corporation or any entity that has signed your business contract/service agreement, you have a legal representative on your side who can "negotiate" the disagreements BEFORE you and the entity go to court. This mediation/negotiation process is an important step to avoiding costly and time-consuming legal litigation and court costs.

    Which brings me back to service agreements versus contracts. Be very careful in calling a self-drawn (legal speak for drafted or written) "contract" a contract when in fact, it is a service agreement. Contracts have much more detail and terms in them. Service agreements are rather general. An example is that in a service agreement you may specify what you will do, like wash a specific-sized vehicle for x-amount of dollars, with add-on cost/charges for specific cleaning problems found on the vehicle. A contract may state what specific products may be used or that each vehicle is subject to a cleaning inspection with a client or their representative and the cost/charges are negotiated on an individual basis, but that you (the washing party) is allowed the right to refuse service if you deem the charges are too low, OR that after the washing that cleaning issues remain or are unresolved, the vehicle client is refunded an X-amount of dollars per incident. Sound messy and legal-like? It is, which is WHY good, legal contracts are long and expensive.

    Personally, I`d do a self-drawn service agreement with the client and come up with terms and set charges per cleaning tasks per a 120 day time period you can both agree on. I say 120 days (4 months), as costs of materials and what you need to get paid for your labor are subject to change rather abruptly these days for any number of unknown reasons, BUT that 120 days is long enough that you do not have to negotiate new fees charges for services on a frequent basis. That time period, however, is for you and the client to determine that you both feel comfortable with.
    GB detailer

  4. #4
    wannafbody
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    Re: Attorney?

    One thing to determine is the payment schedule. Some larger corporations are 60 or 90 days to pay. Find that out up front.
    Likes William_Wallace liked this post

  5. #5
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    Re: Attorney?

    I treat everything as a bid and give them paperwork they have to sign. Even if it’s not an open bid and just a company looking for services I still give them a bid. If you bidding put everything in. I’d be careful with lawyers they’d are $200 an hour in my area and they charge 1/2 to read an email so watch out with lawyers they want 2000k retaining fee and will blow through it quickly.

    I am only small detailer and am in PA, from October- March each year I switch over and do rust prevention spray underbodies. I do the same thing include bids

  6. #6
    Martyk1313's Avatar
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    Re: Attorney?

    Quote Originally Posted by wannafbody View Post
    You might find forms at Autogeekonline.com. I`m not sure a contract is the way to go. Corporations often reserve the right to cancel contracts with a simple notice. Depends on the customer though.
    I am considering using rocketlawyer.com. another guy suggested I only use contracts for bigger customers.

  7. #7
    Martyk1313's Avatar
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    Re: Attorney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
    Martyk1313:
    Since you are in Syracuse NY, you might want to reach out and contact the Syracuse University college of Law and ask them about small-business contracts that are specific to the state of New York and what specific concerns you have.

    OR you can contact the Better Business Bureau and ask them if they have a small-business mentoring program that may address some of your contract concerns.

    OR, if you have business insurance, contact the agent or broker you are dealing with and ask them about business contracts or service agreements. They may direct to an internal lawyer who they work through on such matter.

    Some may suggest LegalZoom or other on-line legal services, and I assume they are not free (pro bono, in legal speak!), but I also assume they are much less expensive than going through a lawyer.

    One BIG advantage going though a lawyer is that that person is familiar with local and state laws as it pertains to the business and operations you are in AND if there are "problems" between you and a corporation or any entity that has signed your business contract/service agreement, you have a legal representative on your side who can "negotiate" the disagreements BEFORE you and the entity go to court. This mediation/negotiation process is an important step to avoiding costly and time-consuming legal litigation and court costs.

    Which brings me back to service agreements versus contracts. Be very careful in calling a self-drawn (legal speak for drafted or written) "contract" a contract when in fact, it is a service agreement. Contracts have much more detail and terms in them. Service agreements are rather general. An example is that in a service agreement you may specify what you will do, like wash a specific-sized vehicle for x-amount of dollars, with add-on cost/charges for specific cleaning problems found on the vehicle. A contract may state what specific products may be used or that each vehicle is subject to a cleaning inspection with a client or their representative and the cost/charges are negotiated on an individual basis, but that you (the washing party) is allowed the right to refuse service if you deem the charges are too low, OR that after the washing that cleaning issues remain or are unresolved, the vehicle client is refunded an X-amount of dollars per incident. Sound messy and legal-like? It is, which is WHY good, legal contracts are long and expensive.

    Personally, I`d do a self-drawn service agreement with the client and come up with terms and set charges per cleaning tasks per a 120 day time period you can both agree on. I say 120 days (4 months), as costs of materials and what you need to get paid for your labor are subject to change rather abruptly these days for any number of unknown reasons, BUT that 120 days is long enough that you do not have to negotiate new fees charges for services on a frequent basis. That time period, however, is for you and the client to determine that you both feel comfortable with.
    Thanks. I already consulted and attorney from here and he suggested I use rocketlawyer.com and have him tweak the contract. Not sure if it`s worth the hassle and money. I am currently working at Wegmans in Fairmount and am trying to get them as a commercial account. In that case i will need some kind of a billing agreement ie contract. I have never really felt the need for service contract in my 16 years of doing this. We agree on the service I will provide before I do the job.

  8. #8
    Martyk1313's Avatar
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    Re: Attorney?

    Quote Originally Posted by wannafbody View Post
    One thing to determine is the payment schedule. Some larger corporations are 60 or 90 days to pay. Find that out up front.
    I currently have 2 customers who have small fleets. They are not large corporations so that doesn`t really apply. Now if I get a bigger account that might be different.

  9. #9

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    Re: Attorney?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martyk1313 View Post
    Thanks. I already consulted and attorney from here and he suggested I use rocketlawyer.com and have him tweak the contract. Not sure if it`s worth the hassle and money. I am currently working at Wegmans in Fairmount and am trying to get them as a commercial account. In that case i will need some kind of a billing agreement ie contract. I have never really felt the need for service contract in my 16 years of doing this. We agree on the service I will provide before I do the job.
    With the price of materials (in your case, detailing products and associated supplies/equipment) in a state of flux due to inflation and supply-chain availability, I make the case about stating a time period of agreed prices for your detailing services. If you have bought enough detailing products, supplies, and equipment to cover the quantity of vehicles over that agreed time period, then it is pretty easy to determine what you should charge per vehicle and specific detailing services add-ons/options if the client so desires without fear of losing money. THAT`S the reason for a service agreement in writing; BOTH parties, service provider and client, know the cost of and price to be paid for, respectively, of said services. Your word and the client`s "word as a bond" and/or gentleman`s handshake "business agreements", while a seemingly great way of doing business for services often leave one party or the other out in the cold when "disagreements" arise. You would like to believe that clients are honest, trustworthy, and up-front with you, but you know that is not the real-world business environment we live in today and that reciprocates and applies to you a service provider.

    I say that because we had a roofing business come and do an estimate for a new roof on our house last late October 2021 When we stated we wanted this done next spring, he said he could give a price quote, but it would only be for that week. THAT seemed rather short and abrupt in time. I said not even 30-days? NOPE! His story is that he got burned financially last spring of 2021 when building material prices sky-rocketed and he had signed contracts with prices locked in for quotes he had done 60 day`s prior. Plywood sheeting and Blandex (glued oriented strand board or OBS waferboard) sheeting had gone from his normal pre-pandemic purchased price of $8 to $12 per sheet to $40 to $60 per sheet, IF he could even find it. Needless to say, he said he "lost his shirt" monetarily, but honored his contract price rather than loose his roofing business reputation. Some customers understood and were willing to negotiate higher price "adjustments" while others, obviously, stated a contract is a contract. Live and learn.
    I would hope newer contracts for longer periods of time would have "subject to market price adjustment" clauses in them now, with the option of the client to opt-out and cancel if deemed too high by an agreed percentage of increase over the original roof quote, which would cover the financial interest of both service provider and client, respectively, but that sounds way too legally complicated. (ANOTHER Captain Obvious title: business law attorney. Remember supposedly attributed to Abraham Lincoln`s famous quote: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one`s mouth and remove all doubt." Just sayin`!.......)
    GB detailer
    Thanks William_Wallace thanked for this post

 

 

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