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Harvestman
06-26-2001, 06:47 PM
I got a call from a customer today telling me I cut her irrigation line and her electric dog fence. I did this job 5 wks ago. I wish she would have called me right away I could have fixed them my self. But anyway she didnt and the bills total $160.00. I know I'm responsible for the repairs but my question is how to avoid this in the future.Should I have customers sign a statement that they will assume the responsibility if they have irr. or dog fence? Or should I just stay away from these properties. How do you guys handle this. Thanks in advance for the help.

KirbysLawn
06-26-2001, 06:56 PM
Funny you ask. Just yesterday I did a lawn, cut his cable twice, hit an electricl line to the sprinkler 1.5" under ground, and then hit a PVC pipe going to a head that was about 2.5" under. He took it well, said (and I agree) the guy came and fixed the sprinkler head and rigged it. That repaired head was the only one shallower than 6" & he's blaming the irrigation guy and has a repair scheduled today.

I always tell them I may hit the cable line, they only bury it 1" around here. As for the dog fence, I give the same warning, it's an easy fix so I fix it while I'm there.

I think I may draw up an agreement that states I'm not responsible for items that are buried in dirt less than 4.5".

Keith
06-26-2001, 07:00 PM
Yeah, this is a sucky situation. I would probably pay it out of pocket, but I would be very clear with that customer that irrigation and such should be installed lower than the edgers reach. There is no reason for it to be installed that high. They probably used and edger to install the invisible fence right along the driveway and road when it should have been inset somewhat.

BTW, demand the bills for the repair.

OBRYANMAINT
06-26-2001, 07:33 PM
if you do a lot of edging this should be on a checklist to discuss with customer BEFOREHAND and you could then hand edge these areas

after the fact i would think you can only pay the bill with a smile to keep the customer and chalk it up to a lesson learned

cope
06-26-2001, 07:37 PM
try a contract that states not responsible for damage. also try calling diggers hotline.

Fantasy Lawns
06-26-2001, 07:56 PM
just a sample of what is in our "Contract of Agreement"

FANTASY LAWNS INC. will replace or pay for any damages or injuries due by neglect or mowing service activity, directly related to FANTASY LAWNS INC. maintenance operation.

FANTASY LAWNS INC. will NOT be responsible for damages due to improper installation of Irrigation pipe, wires, cable etc., which are not installed deeper than 3” below ground level near edging surfaces in beds or along cement edges which receive stick edging.


I'd feel responsible long as I did it .....but 5 weeks late to inform ....I'd wonder when she noticed her dog was gone & when the water break was noticed .....what's the wash out from a broken pipe after 5 weeks of break ....I'd ?? the $160

kutnkru
06-26-2001, 09:25 PM
Harvestman
I think that you will find that if you are able to be prepared for these properties that you will not be limited to which properties you can maintain.

We request that if they have the IF(invisible fence) installed that we receive a copy of the schematic for the lines so that we know where to avoid when Plugging or Power Raking a lawn.

We too request the same prior to the commencement of work for irrigation lines if they apply. If they dont have it, we turen the system on first, mark the heads and make a quick schematic for our records. Still this can be a 50/50 crap shoot.

Steve
I like your clauses about accepting and pointing out where the responsibility will/may lie. Unfortunately I have found quite often that the homeowner hears what they want to hear, and not what has been told to them.

Kris

kris
06-26-2001, 09:54 PM
Do you have a free service ( we have it here in Canada) It's called...CALL BEFORE YOU DIG ....they give very fast service, a couple days notice is all they need ... saves alot of grief and possibly your life.

dan deutekom
06-26-2001, 10:05 PM
In our area of ontario "call b4 u dig" won't locate cable tv lines or irrigation lines. Even the cable company won't do a locate for you. They figure it is cheaper to come and repair one that is cut (and they don't charge for the repair) Irrigation lines are the homeowners responsibility to notify you of where they are located. Locates for gas, hydro, phone and water are required b4 digging but for normal garden maintenance they should be deep enough not to be a problem

lawnman_scott
06-26-2001, 10:17 PM
Yes we have that here, thats what diggers hotline is, but that doenst solve the dog fence/sprinkler problem.

kris
06-26-2001, 10:36 PM
yes your right... I got a little off the origanal post after reading some other replies...irrigation and invisible fence would be between yourself and the homeowner.... The danger of hitting a gas line is forever fresh in my mind after witnessing a backhoe operater burnt to his death after hitting a main line.

KirbysLawn
06-26-2001, 11:14 PM
We are talking about a bed edger right? Mine only digs 4" so calling should not be an issue, all major pipes are much deeper.

Greenkeepers
06-26-2001, 11:25 PM
We always make the customer mark any heads and show where the lines go to each head that may be in jeopardy. As for phone and cable and dog et all.. We ask them to identify any places that may have them, if they don't tell us they are made aware that they are responsible.

Hit a sprinkler head a couple weeks back the head was buried 2 1/2 " under the ground , the homeowner didn't even know it was there.

How didn't you see the lines when you hit them? $160 to fix them, what did the coat them in gold????? I would want to see the bills.

guntruck
06-26-2001, 11:58 PM
I just cut two irrigation lines a couple of weeks ago, homeowner wasnt home and i repaired the 1" pvc lines on the spot. The bed sloped downhill a bit and the lines were like only 3" deep i was cutting 4". It was no big deal 11 dollars in material and 30 minutes later we were on our way. I think after that i will specify certain things next time before i go hog wild on edges. =)

Keith
06-27-2001, 01:07 AM
The "Call before you dig" thing doesn't always work on the utilities either. We called on a newer neighborhood to get a lawn marked for a sprinkler system. We had 20 day approval, and in that time only the city came out to mark their stuff. Got the ok via phone from the gas people. Got nothing from power, telephone or cable. Needless to say the customer got very anxious and wanted the job done. We had to proceed with caution ;)

On a side note, we have snagged our fair share of telephone and cable lines with the edgers. Same response every time...call before you dig! I'm not digging, I'm edging. Put your lines lower! :angry:

Vandora Lawn & Landscape
06-27-2001, 01:29 AM
I just wrote a proposal for large edging then mulch job that includes a provision that puts the job on hold until miss-utility gives their ok. In maryland, whenever you dig you have to call them. Not to mention one of the beds is right next to a transformer.

Avery
06-27-2001, 07:10 PM
Harvestman, get yourself a 521 Locator. Best $$$ you will ever spend.

Eric ELM
06-27-2001, 07:29 PM
Harvestman, if you have to pay for this, I would demand the invoice on these repairs since you could deduct these at tax time.

Harvestman
06-27-2001, 10:22 PM
Avery.What is a 521 locater and how much does it cost