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DFW Area Landscaper
01-23-2004, 10:54 AM
For my new residential service agreement for 2004, I've added a paragraph for damage waiver.

Here is the text:

"Meier's Landscape Maintenance will not be held responsible for damage to improperly retracting sprinkler heads, plastic landscape lighting installed in lawn area, small toys left in lawn area, or line trimmer wear on fence posts."

I've thought about adding trimmer blight to excluded damages, but the more I think about it, the more I think that should be my responsibility.

I've also considered adding runaway pets as being another item that's not my responsibility. Should we be held responsible for pets who escape while we are maintaining the property (ie. leave the gate open) or should that be on the damage waiver list too?

What else am I forgetting? What are other common damages that aren't our fault?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Team Gopher
01-23-2004, 11:16 AM
Hi DFW,

Here is another thing to consider. "gas service regulators."

The following is a quote from this site (http://www.kesslercohen.com/significant/GasFireCasePix.pdf).

"Damage claims against an Ohio natural gas
company and landscaping corporation over
multiple fires in a condominium complex that
resulted from the severing of a gas service
regulator have been settled for $3.5 million.
Kings Path Condominium Association,
represented by Steven L. Smith and David L.
Gordon of Philadelphia’s Kessler, Cohen &
Roth, sued the gas company and landscaper in
state court in Cleveland. Twenty-eight
individuals, some of whom also were
represented by Smith and Gordon, sued the
companies in a consolidated case over
damages suffered in the fires.
According to the plaintiffs, the fires
occurred in July 1997 when a landscaper
using a lawn mower to cut a 3-foot patch of
grass sheered off the gas service regulator."

Qdriver
01-23-2004, 11:19 AM
This is a bullet in my "Scope of Maintenance" section of my service agreement.

"G.) A GREEN OASIS will not be responsible for any damage to the trees, flowers, shrubs or other objects organic or in-organic that do not have at least a 2-foot diameter mulched area around them."

This is at the bottom of the page under "Contractor Liability"

"The Contractor shall not be responsible for damages to the landscape, organic material replacement or removal due to acts of God including, but not limited to, hurricanes, tornado's, thunderstorms, meteor strikes, flooding, drought, locust swarms, freezes, etc., or damage caused by any person other than the Contractor’s employees or any event outside our scope of maintenance. Such events do not constitute abandonment and are not included in calculating cost of services."

T.E.
01-23-2004, 11:36 AM
DFW,I hate to be negative but there is no way I ever ask my customers to sign something like that. If I hire a mowing company to take care of my lawn I expect them to be professional enough not to whittle my fence post down. I personally can line trim without whittling down the post. If I leave the gate open and their pets get out, who is at fault? I am,I left the gate open. Last summer the help I had ran the trimmer into a sprinkler that is for the garden. ( it stands up in plain view) I fixed it out of my own pocket. It is not their fault my guy hit it! What do I have insurance for? There are too many companys on this site that do just fine with out service agreements to go into that much detail. When I aerate a lawn that is the first thing I'm asked what happens if I hit a sprinkler head? I tell them I mark them, and if I hit one I will fix it,most say go ahead with the job. If I say that is your problem! I'd never do aeration. I feel that as a professional company I should be responsible for what I damage. IMHO,If I read more into your post.I'm sorry Have a good day Tony

KerryB
01-23-2004, 12:20 PM
T.E. is right, if its your fault then you should fix it.
Its fine to have a clause in there about acts of God, I do, but these other things shouldnt be included.
The only thing I can think of that might go on that list is if you have to move a trampoline or something.
I also think maybe you are leaving some money on the table. If you find a sprinkler head that doesnt retract properly are you not noting that and asking for the repair? If you dont do that kind of work then at the very least you should know someone that does and refer them. They may do the same for you.
Either way its throwing money out the window.
It states in my contract that if I tear it up I will fix it. Thats why I have ins.

pjslawncare/landscap
01-23-2004, 12:31 PM
Have you enclose a cause aimed at the issues presented from those cable companies that lay cables across lawns and never come back to bury it?

DFW Area Landscaper
01-23-2004, 12:35 PM
++++Have you enclose a cause aimed at the issues presented from those cable companies that lay cables across lawns and never come back to bury it?++++

Thanks. Good point. I'm defintiely adding that one.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW Area Landscaper
01-23-2004, 12:54 PM
KerryB,

++++If I leave the gate open and their pets get out, who is at fault? I am,I left the gate open.++++

I'd guess that if you're in the business long enough, and especially if you use employees, eventually a dog is going to get out. I've had to chase down three dogs during my first year in the business already.

I think I would agree that the LCO who leaves the gate open is probably at fault. But we don't typically charge more for customers who have dogs than those without. At least I don't. There is an added responsibility that we're not getting any consideration for.

As for fence posts, if you are a one man operation with no employees, I don't think it's much of a concern. But if you're using employees, it may happen. I've seen a ton of fence posts around here that are whittled down pretty bad. You never know when some home owner who thinks you're a large company will start demanding that you pay for a new fence. I think I'll keep this one in my agreement.

Team Gopher,

Around here, all the gas meters stick up a few feet out of the ground. If I run over one with my mower, I think I would be repsonsible. I'm not even sure what a gas regulator is. Are they typically on ground level where they can be struck by a mower but not easily seen?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

KerryB
01-23-2004, 03:31 PM
we don't typically charge more for customers who have dogs than those without. At least I don't. There is an added responsibility that we're not getting any consideration for.

Well nobody said life was fair. just kidding.

But look how much trouble is it to shut the gate? I do a back yard with a min. donkey in it. lol He runs from the mower and I open and shut the gate.

As for the fence posts, all I can say is that you just cant find good help.

FFMED74
01-23-2004, 05:50 PM
DFW,
I actually hit a cable above the ground on a property I did for a realestate guy I know. I informed him that I had hit it, but that it was not marked at all. I figured they would try and ding me, but the grass was too high and the utility company was to have already fixed it and it was not marked, so I guess I dodged that one LOL. I do believe that we are in a lawsuit happy country. I liked what I heard on the Gregg Garrison Show (indiana show)( Gregg also handled the Mikr Tyson Case and was an legal guy for CBS during the OJ case) the other day, we are the only country in the world that allows a person to sue and if they lose the suit they are not responsible for the defendants legal fees. Sounds like we need to change our system a bit. Just my opinion.
Eric H

tiedeman
01-23-2004, 08:11 PM
I run over a cable line and cut it once. The cable company looked the other way because the line had been laying there for approx 5 months. Man, was I lucky

snnoopy
07-27-2013, 07:13 AM
When it comes to a waiver, it is okay to list specific things like weed eater damage to fence posts...but!! You must ALWAYS include "and any other item" I turn all the responsibility over to the customer because this is a high risk job. Too often I have NOT committed the damage but am being charged for it...also include property line disputes...I got sued last year when in fact I worked for both neighbors and then got sued for going over the line and I will have you to know that neither one stood up for me. I am so over this sue happy country. I turn all responsibility over to the person hiring me, including any projectile that may be in motion, ie; broken glass, etc.

snnoopy
07-27-2013, 07:16 AM
I hate to tell you this, but after 20 years of trimming the same fence post, it's inevitable.

snnoopy
07-27-2013, 07:18 AM
Also, these disclosures are not for the honest damage that would not be worth losing a customer over, it's for the guy that is looking to get something fixed for free...damage that we didn't do. Try proving that you didn't do the damage. You can say take before and after pictures all you want but it wont cover you and I'm not about to have a catalogue of pictures just to save my butt.

snnoopy
07-27-2013, 07:22 AM
Always better to cover yourself and then decide what you will and will not pay for. It only takes being sued once or twice before you realize how small and insignificant you are...also, you want to include in your contract that if you have to go after money owed, the cost to go after the money will be charged to the customer...ALL COSTS, not just court cost. Trust me, get counter sued one time and you will be experienced.....I've been in business for 30 years and you as the contractor owe these customers NOTHING except what they are paying for. If they are descent you will never need any of this, but get one crooked one and ...you'll learn, lol.

herler
07-27-2013, 07:53 AM
"By signing this piece of paper I (the customer) agree that I am hiring a team of idiots who are now fully aware that I can not hold them responsible for anything that could possibly go wrong and they may even do more damage as a result of my signature since they have surely been informed by their boss who is likely also a very irresponsible person but ... Well shoot, what choice do we have, please sign here: ____________"

You should include in the price of the contract, a daily prayer book you can give to your customers and the phone numbers and names of companies who will be fixing the above mentioned damages as well, at their cost of course.

Last but not least make sure you have an attorney who approves of what you are doing on retainer, and I am not really sure what that means but I have seen many an accident prone person doing things this way, can't speak for their degree of success either but it almost appears they purchase peace of mind so they can sleep at night.

The other option, of course, would be to try and do things the hard way, such as by learning how to trim proper or (god forbid) training the crew to do things that way, and accepting responsibility for your actions and those of your crew (and your and their errors and mistakes).

pseudosun
07-27-2013, 08:05 AM
These 4 rubber pads were in a pathway to back yard on rocks. I thought my blades were stopped and my deck was lifted. They got caught up. Also, i thought they might have been garbage or cheap rubbermaid stuff. It turns out they were expensive litter pads. $20 or $30 a piece. I have been bending over backwards to help this vet student by skipping the back yard as he requested, so he could save money. I also fixed his gate, no charge. When he charged me for those pads, right or not, i had to drop him. It was simply an unprofitable account. He left the pads in my way.

herler
07-27-2013, 08:22 AM
These 4 rubber pads were in a pathway to back yard on rocks. I thought my blades were stopped and my deck was lifted. They got caught up. Also, i thought they might have been garbage or cheap rubbermaid stuff. It turns out they were expensive litter pads. $20 or $30 a piece. I have been bending over backwards to help this vet student by skipping the back yard as he requested, so he could save money. I also fixed his gate, no charge. When he charged me for those pads, right or not, i had to drop him. It was simply an unprofitable account. He left the pads in my way.

Do you honestly believe this student went out of his way to place the pads there in such fashion that your machine would find and damage them?

IES
07-27-2013, 08:49 AM
Have you enclose a cause aimed at the issues presented from those cable companies that lay cables across lawns and never come back to bury it?

If its not Buried your not liable. I have had 2 instances where I called the cable company and told them where it was cut and they never even asked for any other info

pseudosun
07-27-2013, 09:08 AM
answer to herler, no. Aside from that, he was unappreciative, and low profit. He recently called me back, because he can't find anyone, and wants me to cut one last time, and wants to give me dog cages. I hit my limit with him.

Colaguy
07-27-2013, 11:53 AM
For my new residential service agreement for 2004, I've added a paragraph for damage waiver.

Here is the text:

"Meier's Landscape Maintenance will not be held responsible for damage to improperly retracting sprinkler heads, plastic landscape lighting installed in lawn area, small toys left in lawn area, or line trimmer wear on fence posts."

I've thought about adding trimmer blight to excluded damages, but the more I think about it, the more I think that should be my responsibility.

I've also considered adding runaway pets as being another item that's not my responsibility. Should we be held responsible for pets who escape while we are maintaining the property (ie. leave the gate open) or should that be on the damage waiver list too?

What else am I forgetting? What are other common damages that aren't our fault?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper


Foreign debris hidden in grass, like rocks/pebbles. It ricochets & takes out a pricey window. They expect you to pay if you shoot a rock but look the other way when their five yr old throws rocks in the yard.

I till/sod a lot of yards. Always tell them I assume no liable if I till up a sprinkler or cable. All say "ok". If I see the sprinkler & tear it out or know its there and I missed marking it, I'll accept responsibility & fix it.

monoshock
07-27-2013, 12:09 PM
Holly vintage post. 2004