A note arrived yesterday from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden, asking for advice on a seasonal small business start-up.
Hey Mr. C.,
Me and my buddy Dwight are starting an after school business picking up leaves and stuff for
old people senior citizens. We even gave it a cool name. It'll be a huge success as long as the customers don't wreck it, but you know how fussy old coots elderly people get. So we decided to make them sign a coolness agreement before we start .
Dwight wrote it up. He wants to be a big bucks lawyer someday.
Could you look it over and give us free advice? After you sign it, me and Dwight will rake and blow stuff around your yard for 10 percent off whatever we decide we can charge, based on how rich looking your place is.
Your friend, Bubby Spamden.
Thank you for doing business with Spamden Lawn And Yard Environmental Refreshening. SLAYER is your Fall and household chores partner! We'll do a good job if you create the conditions where a good job can be done. That's why we ask everyone to sign our ten point SLAYER Customer Code of Conduct.
1) I will pay promptly in cash and in full before the work starts so my SLAYER crew will have money for lunch and treats to keep their energy up.
2) I will not crab about left over messy-looking stuff that is too small to worry about, like a few stupid leaves left here or there. I will think positive thoughts about the leaves SLAYER DID take, not the ones that got missed.
3) I will not sit in my house peeking out the window at people while they're doing their jobs, acting like I want to catch them at something wrong. Trust is basic to good relationships, and we want to have a good relationship with you (especially if you already paid in advance and you're OK with points 1 and 2).
4) I'm hiring you to clean the yard, not to host a dinner party, so the way you dress is none of my business.
5) Music makes for happy hearts, so I don't care what you listen to if it helps get the job done. I realize that a company called SLAYER will have to rock out pretty much constantly while on the job, in order to keep its reputation intact.
6) When it comes to word of mouth advertising and talking to my friends about SLAYER, I believe in the saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
7) If I hire you to wash my windows, I will not get all upset by how they look in direct sunlight. The winter sun is so harsh, nobody can make a window look really, really clean. Besides, the wind is dirty and it blows all the time.
8) SLAYER is a green company that handles natural debris. I will not expect SLAYER to clean up unnatural material. For the purposes of this agreement, the droppings of any pet, including little boutique sissy dogs, are considered super-unnatural.
9) I agree to let SLAYER do the work and get on with it. I will not ask a whole bunch of pointless small talk questions about school and stuff, or bore the workers with stories about my hip replacement.
10) SLAYER employees are permitted to use the bathroom inside my house while they are on the job. I won't get all wigged out about them tracking stuff in, and if they look even just a little hungry, I will provide fresh, hot, apple pie.
I told Bubby I thought people in my age group might hesitate to hire a company called SLAYER.
Any other advice for a young entrepreneur?