Guidelines: Custom Services

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 For Producers Hiring a Custom Service

To estimate the costs of hiring a custom operator in your area refer to the Custom Rates Survey Summary or the Alberta Custom Rates Surveys.

Please note that actual custom rate charges in your area may vary due to equipment availability, field size, travel distances and other factors. It is your responsibility to determine the rate(s) to be charged before the work is started.

For Custom Work Providers

Determining what rate to charge is very important. The Alberta Custom Rates Surveys will give you an outline of what other custom operators have charged in the past. From this you will need to work out your own rate schedules to ensure that your custom work activity is profitable.

The Machinery Cost Calculator can help you determine your actual costs of owning and operating machinery. It is very easy to use and you can quickly develop what-if scenarios e.g. impact of increased acreage on overhead costs, purchase of larger equipment.

Clearly establish the payment terms before the work is started. Be diligent in following up on late payments – remember your employees and suppliers have to be paid even if you haven’t been.

If necessary you can take legal action to recover the outstanding payment. Please note that the maximum amount that you can pursue through small claims court in Alberta is $25,000. To recover an amount greater than this you will need to hire a lawyer and go through the Court of Queen's Bench.

Dispute resolution
A written custom work contract is usually sufficient to avoid disputes. If the two parties are unable to resolve their differences the Farmers Advocate office can be contacted for assistance in obtaining agreement. Another option is to hire a mediator – the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society has an online directory of mediators with agriculture experience located across Alberta.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Ted Nibourg.
This document is maintained by Marie Glover.
This information published to the web on September 24, 2004.
Last Reviewed/Revised on May 12, 2016.