View Full Version : guarentees/do i have to replace them?

05-07-2003, 04:05 PM
planted about 45 peices of shrubbery last july(that was my first mistake, we had a very bad heat wave here for months) . we give a 6 month guarentee in which we promise to have planted top quality stock, in a proffesional manner. we are however, not responsible for acts of god(excessive heat, cold, snow) now here is where my uncertainty comes in. customer called us in november, said alot of the plants were dead. i went out, and alot were dead, but there was a row of 15 emerald greens, that looked great. i told the client i would be back this spring to replace the dead shrubs. i feel i used poor judgement planting them in a heat wave. now, i went back last week, and the row of arbs was also dead! i mean like, skeletons, not any green at all. she wants me to also replace the arbs, which i kind of feel im not responsible for, they looked great in november. perhaps the rough winter we had here killed them? question is, would u guys replace the arbs also?

05-07-2003, 04:30 PM
Did the woman water the shrubs at all during the heat wave? If not, she's SOL. The arbs is a personal call, I probably would ask for a couple bucks to replace them.

05-07-2003, 07:24 PM
I don't call heat - cold - snow acts of god ....do the right thing and replace them all.

dan deutekom
05-07-2003, 07:47 PM
Replace it all. It is the right thing to do. Heat, cold and snow are not acts of God when it comes to plant guarantee. Fire might be:rolleyes:

05-07-2003, 09:41 PM
i would replace every single one of those shrubs without a question asked. Heat and cold are covered under ANY guarantee.

05-07-2003, 10:17 PM
I agrree that heat and cold are not acts of god, but if they were not properly cared for during the heat (watering), it shouldn't be covered. You have to make the decision. It would be good business to repace them however.

05-07-2003, 11:02 PM
gv ... if you can prove or even want to try and prove that they didn't water then perhaps you would have a case.
I've run into this many times ... customer says they watered and your pretty darn sure they didn't ...what are you going to do? You have to be professional and replace the plants ... if planted properly and specific care instructions were given and you still have your doubts that the customer is going to care for them then do a few drive by checks and hopefully you can prevent it.

05-08-2003, 04:00 PM
plants were NOT watered for the first 3 days. i know this because i watered them after instalation, i returned 3 days later to check everything out, and they were wilted and looking very bad. i contacted client to tell them i again watered, and they need to be watered daily. she said she was going out"this weekend" to purchase sprinklers and so on so she could water. i returned several days later, and everything was set up nicely(hoses etc.) im satisfied that at this point they began to be properly watered. but , rain, heat, snow, not acts of god??? i know one thing for sure, i didnt make it snow, or make it be 105 degrees for 3 months straight. now, if it wasnt me, or god, was it one of you?

05-08-2003, 08:02 PM
Bobby ..what do you want from us? You asked ..we gave our opinion ... anything short of an event that their own insurance would cover (tornado ..something like that) then I would replace the shrubs.

05-08-2003, 08:44 PM
I don't think you get it, plants die for some reason, But it's your reputation on line. You replace them! If you where really worried about them you should have waited untill fall to install them. Moving plant material during the heat of summer means there are more chances of you losing them.

05-08-2003, 10:41 PM
I believe you are getting these types of responses because maybe with these guys the guarantee is already added into the price to the customer incase the plant(s) need replaced.
Did you add this guarantee into your cost? If you did, then you wouldn't have to be asking this question I guess.
Never count on the customer to water.

Randy Scott
05-08-2003, 10:58 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
planted about 45 peices of shrubbery last july(that was my first mistake, we had a very bad heat wave here for months)

she wants me to also replace the arbs, which i kind of feel im not responsible for, they looked great in november. perhaps the rough winter we had here killed them? question is, would u guys replace the arbs also?

How would YOU want to be handled if YOU were the consumer with all the dead plants? What do YOU think would be fair if you spent all that money and now everything is dead? When you answer this, you will know what you need to do.

MD Land Management
05-08-2003, 11:57 PM
Replace everyone of them I know if i payed all that money I would want my plants to last and If the client doesn't like to water then My company sells a system for about 60 bucks to the client A water timer, and Soaker hoses and/or gator bags if there is only a single tree/ shrub we haven't had any plants die on us since, knock on wood. All of our clients were extremely statisfied and I suggest you guys to use a similar method. Good luck. BUt always remember one mad customer will tell 10 of their friends not to call you!!!

MD Landscape Management
Cherry Hill, NJ

Green in Idaho
05-09-2003, 02:15 AM

Price of 15 arb is small compared to the value of satisfied customers.

And reevaluate your guarantee for future plantings.

I rec. always separately stating the guarantee amount. IF customer wants the g. they pay $x extra. It's just like insurance.

The only bad install job to kill nursery stock within 12 months would be to drop it and break a root ball. Anything I'm missing??? Everything else can be inspected upon completion and either accepted or declined.

Although I have seen many trees get planted with the baling wire or twine left on the trunk to die 5+years later. THAT is what contractors should be held liable for.

05-09-2003, 03:28 PM
actually, yes, u r missing alot. not only breaking the root ball but, planting too close to the house, planting too deep, planting too high, planting plants thar require full sun, in the shade.....there is much that falls under the term"planting in a proffesional manner". now, im certainly gonna replace everything, but, in the case with the arbs, they lasted through the 6 month guarentee period, you really think im liable? i mean, 6 months is not a lifetime guarentee, its 6 months. does anyone give a 6 month garentee, and replace after 8, 10, 12 months? 2 years? im not getting why everyone is saying to replace the arbs, please explain.

05-09-2003, 05:40 PM

Seams to me that you've been doing a lot of whining lately. Also, you ask for peoples opinions, then get offended if they vary from yours. For a man in his mid-late 30's, I have to challenge not only your definition of "professionalism", but also your maturity level and attitiude toward your clientele. It seams to me that you have a lot more problems w/ your clients disputing your services and or contracts than a lot of others on this forum. Are you not wording them properly, or leaving them open for different interpretation? Why not try something like this:?

All plant materials are covered by a six (6) month limited replacement warranty against disease or insect infestation, provided we are notified of any change in appearance or unhealthy characteristic of the subject plant. We do not assume responsibility for negligence after installation due to either improper watering or improper protection during winter months. Vandalism, and acts of unseasonable or adverse weather conditions are also not covered by this warranty. Notification of a dead plant regardless of cause, will void this warranty.

The contractor's above mentioned warranties are conditioned upon a ten (10) day written notice from the date of injury or change to the subject plant.

dan deutekom
05-09-2003, 07:32 PM
Personally a six month warranty is not worth anything. It should be at least 1 full year so that it can go through a full growing season.

Green in Idaho
05-09-2003, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
they lasted through the 6 month guarentee period, you really think im liable? please explain.

No you are NOT liable. They survived the six months.

BUT you are going back in to replace the others and the additional effort/cost of a few more arb is not (or should not) kill ya. What is it going to cost you?

It's better to leave the property looking good.
What's it going to look like if you replace most but not all?

What if you had an equipment warranty for 6 months and at 6 months and 7 days the drive chain broke. Would you expect the dealer and the mfgr to service it for free?

Are they required to? No of course not, but good service says they should if they want your business in the future... right?

05-09-2003, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by dan deutekom
Personally a six month warranty is not worth anything. It should be at least 1 full year so that it can go through a full growing season.

Those are my thoughts exactly. Especially when he planted them in July ... The warranty would end in the winter. How would the customer know at that time of the year?
Jodi ..your right, we add in a certain percentage on every plant ... some species are a higher percentage than others. We inspect all our previous years work around June .... anything questionable or outright dead is tagged and a replacement is done shortly after.
The company is a point now that we considered adding a position just to take care of shrub replacement, minor repairs... mainly just be a PR rep to make sure all the little tasks are taken care of and all customers are satisfied. We decided we could get by this year without but I believe it will happen next season.
Bobby ÖDonít apply!

05-09-2003, 09:27 PM
Originally posted by Turfdude
Notification of a dead plant regardless of cause, will void this warranty.

LMAO.. :p that really should find its way into Bobby's waranty.

Green Pastures
05-10-2003, 01:00 AM
Replace them all. Learn form this.

Revise your guarantee.

Be way more specific. Immediate call AS SOON as plants are even wilting you need a phone call. NOT A MESSAGE ON THE ANSWERING MACHINE, a PERSONAL phone call.

Do not plant until they can show you that they can properly and adequately water the plants.

Use your common sense, if you're going to guarantee you need to cover your butt.

I'd replace them all, BUT I'd also never have let any of them die.

In three years of business I've only lost 2 azaleas, both were my fault. I did not break up the root ball.

05-10-2003, 07:57 PM
turfdude, offended? no, not at all. dont know what gave u that idea. u still havnt answered my question, and u seem to be avoiding doing so. how long does a 6 month guarentee last? 7 months, 2 years, 4 ever?

05-10-2003, 08:33 PM
A lot of times I will do plantings w/out guarantees and knock a few bucks off for the client as an option... its less aggravation in the long run this way.

05-10-2003, 08:52 PM
A 6 month guarantee would be for 6 growing months.

05-11-2003, 12:03 AM
One great rule for business is NOTHING IS FOR FREE. No good professional gives away money they need.

When someone hires a landscaper, they need to pay for what they get. And homeowners need to be held accountable. They need to accept responsibility.

If responsibility is shifted from the homeowner, then the responsible person should be paid.

We know of few landscapers that offer guarantees without also acquiring the maintenance contract.

How can someone offer a guarantee, if they can't be aware of what care the plants are enduring.

For our business, we are certain of one thing:

The plants are healthy 99% of the time at the nursery, and we always plant them right - transport in cooler morning, black pots put in the shade, moist fill soil immediately after removing pot, etc.. And when do those healthy plants ever die? - in the care of the homeowner.

So who is responsible? The homeowner. How do they get away from that burden? By paying for it.

How can that be done? Two ways:

1. Plant guarantees ranging from a 30% to 100% mark-up, preferrably with a 1 year maintenance contract.

2. The homeowners pay for the replacement of dead plants.

Our losses are so minimal - $5 to $200 per job - that we offer no guarantee other than to do a professional installation. Then we offer to replace a few dead plants on weekends as long as the customer pays in advance for the replacements.

This saves our customers a lot of money, and we make our living on our installation and pruning, instead of the unused portion of a form of plant insurance.

Only one customer wanted it both ways. They knew in advance what the policy was. After about $100 worth of plants died on a $5000 installation, they were hoping we would cover the cost.

We said no way.

And we don't care if they (THE ONE PERSON) blab and tell dissatisfaction to TEN other people - Why?

Because "Birds of a feather do flock together."

Also, The ONE HUNDRED OTHER PEOPLE we work for in the year will tell ANOTHER HUNDRED PEOPLE about our work. So the 100 far dominate the 10.

If you do what your agreement was, and someone takes a crack at your business behind your back, they run a large risk of slander and defamation.

The important thing in business is to complete what you agreed to do, and make sure it was explained to, and signed by the customer.

For guarantees, we say pick what route you want. Guarantee, or no guarantee, either way is responsible.

We choose the method that costs the consumer the least, and keeps us untangled.

In Oregon, landscape contractors are required by law to put a statement on the contracts about a guarantee - if there is no guarantee, then the statement must include that. Our law offers a choice.