View Full Version : Accidents on Customers Property

01-25-2001, 12:02 AM
Have any of you ever damaged sprinkler systems with your mowers? Such as hitting a head that didn't receed into its base. If so, how did your customers react? This could also include problems coming from damaging other items on customers property...

01-25-2001, 03:43 AM
It might depend on the client involved, but I generally make it clear with new accounts that sprinklers heads are meant to go down and if they stick up and I mow one over by accident, then it is not my responcibility to fix, or replace at my expense.

Other than this type of problem with heads sticking up, I cannot see other damage possible by a mower that could be your fault unless system was not installed right.

I have never had a irate customer over cutting off heads. I did have a multistore account where I did all maintenance except the sprinkler system. The owner, gave me a bucket of heads to keep in truck and had me charge him $10.00 for everyone that I had to replace. If I saw them sticking up then I was to replace it.

I usually notify the customer as soon as I have seen any damage. I believe this really helps in these sorts of areas.

01-25-2001, 09:05 AM
While mowing at 6 or 7 mph in lush grass it's difficult , if not imposssible to see, let alone avoid stuck-up sprinkler heads. I explain to my customers that sprinklers where not meant to last forever and should be replaced when they start sticking. I explain that if I should rip one out of the ground it's entirely my fault and I will replace it at my cost. However, any that I should mow off because they are stuck up is the sprinklers fault. I do carry a supply of different heads in my truck and will be glad to replace any that need fixing for a small fee, or if it's my fault for free.

01-25-2001, 09:16 AM
we had a tough year for damage. busted out a
glass storm door with a trimmer throwing a large
piece of mulch $114 to replace. A rock popped a
whole in the vinyl siding on the final cut in Dec.
of a customer. Another rock put a bullseye hole
in a window of a customers house. We handeled it
by flat out stating right away WE WILL PAY. My
insurance has a 250 deductable so we did it all out
of pocket. We didn't loose any of the customers and
they were all impressed with how we took responsibility.
We changed some of our procedures for these properties
and hope to have a less hazardous year. We are using
mulching decks this year to cut back on mowers kicking
out mulch and rocks. I put the trimmer guards back on
even though it makes them heavier. All my lawns are
residential and we run the trimmers a little less rpm
near the house.

01-25-2001, 09:45 AM

This happened to me last summer. My first "major" incident in 5 years. Customer was very nice and I still have them as customers. Lots of good info in the post Check it out.

Being accountable for your actions is part of life, it certainly is a crappy feeling to get a phonecall saying you caused some damage. Its a learning experience and we all hope it never happens to us. Thank God no one got hurt.

cutting edge
01-25-2001, 11:00 AM
I took the "cap" off of a sprinkler head last year. The sprinkler is located on a slope and I had been mowing over it with no problems. I guess I went over it at the wrong angle that day. I replaced the sprinkler and told the customer what happened. Now I lift the deck a little when going over that spot.

Davis TLC
01-25-2001, 12:23 PM
Sucked up one of those termite bait stations on my DC last spring. Seems they have a tendency to heave during the winter, so check to be sure these are in the ground good first thing in the spring if they are on properties you maintain. The pest control company reinstalled this one, said it is a common problem.

Knock on wood, so far nothing more serious than this.

01-25-2001, 01:53 PM
While blowing out beds, I had a guy stand with his back to the vinyl siding at about 2 feet away, and the exhaust from the redmax 6200 scortched a 6" circle of the siding . Of course in the middle of the fromt below a picture window with no shrubbery near tall enough to cover.

one of those things that happens only once. All are forewarned about that now.


01-25-2001, 05:44 PM
We break it we, we fix it or pay. I've become very good at replacing broken sprinkler heads. Stuff happens and it really doesn't cost much to fix, plus keeps the customer happy. We did blow out a sliding glass door last year. We paid to have it replaced and then stopped weed eating the area where it happened. We knew it was risky before we started. Shouldn't have done it but we did. But we won't make the same mistake twice.

01-26-2001, 07:48 AM
My son hit a cast aluminum address sign on one customer's property, broke the leg off. I welded back together and reinstalled the sign. The customer was not satisfied and purchased a new one and deducted $185 from my final bill for the season. OUCH!! Then for next year's contract she wrote "Please don't hit the address sign anymore" like we did it on purpose. We still have her as a customer, a good one at that. We charge her by the hour, as she always adds little things here and there. That is the contract she wanted. I hope I don't have another zinger at $185 again.


01-26-2001, 09:47 AM
I am thinking about giving up a small commercial job that I have been doing for a long time. The car lot behind it has expanded and now surrounds this commercial job. That with the cars in the parking lot of my account and the cars passing down the hwy. I consider it too much of a risk. The account has too many rocks imbedded in parts of it. Twigs from the trees are imbedded in the grass alot. I have already knocked out a truck window from the car lot last year. Luckily it was a used truck. The account is not a really big payer and i dont think worth the risk or the worry. If it were all grass and less gravel in places I would keep it. Hard decision to make. Those deductables are a killer. But if I were to hit a car going down the hwy and cause a accident that would be another thing.

01-26-2001, 10:07 AM
"Those deductables are a killer"

Then get a lower deductible on your policy. To go from 250 to 100 may cost around 200/year.

Your deductible on any policy should not be more than what you can comfortably afford to pay. Dont have 1000 deductible if you could never come up with the scratch.

01-26-2001, 10:15 AM
If it were rare that stuff was flying out from under the mower. But at least once a month i hit something. Either with the weedeater or the mower. A rock or a twig will come out from any side of the deck. I have watched rock sail over the hwy and sail over brand new 40000 dollar trucks one too many times lol. But I havent made a decision yet. Its just a 35$ per mow account

01-26-2001, 11:17 AM
Charles , $35 x 4 = $70 month....

If you have a $250 deductible (Example) then you have to cut 3 months just to cover the deductible if something happens. Do you want to roll the dice?

01-26-2001, 06:59 PM
over half of my residentials have picket fence and at least once a week I take out a few of the pickets. (just getting in too big of a hurry) I carry in my tool box a hammer and nails and always re-install them. If this continues I will have to carry some touch up paint because it's becoming a big problem. LOL!!!!!!!!! Besides that I've never torn up anything else. KNOCK ON WOOD

01-26-2001, 08:58 PM
The only major incident that I had was 2 years ago..I was mowing at a residence where they have several small kids..The kids had put piles of rocks in the yard and I hit one of the piles and my mower threw several of the rocks into a double glass sliding door, busting two of the doors..I called the homeowner and told her and she said that she had been on her husband to take the doors out and this would give them a reason to do some remodeling..She paid me for mowing and didn't make me pay her anything for the damage..They replaced the doors with siding and put in a real nice wood door..See what lengths I go to to satisfy my customers...Derrick

01-26-2001, 09:45 PM
We have had 2 good ones that quickly come to mind. A couple of years ago a "not so bright" employee was mowing next to an office building with the discharge chute inches away from the building and the unthinkable happened. He hit a rock and tossed it through a window. Not just any window but a 3' by 6' tinted, double paned safety glass window.

The other that comes to mind happened at our landscape suppliers residence. One of the guys got too close to a 1 year old pearl colored Lincoln Continental. Needless to say it received a Toro red pin stripe. The owners were very understanding and didn't let it bother them.

These are all reason to have insurance (no deductible at that)

01-26-2001, 09:52 PM
I know a guy who ran over a client's Guinea Pig! He lost that account and their neighbors as well.

01-26-2001, 10:39 PM
Only had to use our insurance once, thank God, when Matt put a rock through a brand new Buick's window.
Turned it in to our insurance, and we didn't have to pay a dime. We have a zero deductible policy. I thought for sure our rate would increase the next year, but it stayed the same.


01-27-2001, 12:28 AM
We mow a used car lot that borders the busiest highway in town. Usually we mow it at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, less traffic and less worry!
There have been times I have had to mow on a weekday afternoon, and I'll tell you it will scare the heck out of you! Seeing those care coming head on at you trying to mow only when there is no traffic, about a 10 second window of opportunity!
Thanfully the lawn is a hillside and after a couple of passes we are far enough away from traffic. It really makes you wonder how some can forgo the safety of insurance.