Box of bad valves. What to do?
In March, I got an entire box of new valves, and installed all of them (across 3 sites) before the water was turned on this Spring (Where I work, we have a secondary water district that most homes and offices use for irrigation. The mains are off from October to April.) When the systems were turned on, every single valve failed. They are a great dirty water valve (I may or may not be talking about the Rainbird PESB, but if that is what you want to use in your mind to paint a picture, you have a good picture). Luckily, I used Action manifolds with the installations, so swapping them went much quicker than if I had to cut each one out. After returning the lot, my supply house told me that the manufacturer put out a recall on the valves a few days after I returned mine (sounds like I wasn't the only one that got bad equipment).
I guarantee my work, so I didn't bill the customers to replace the defective valves. The thing that sucks is that I lost time during my peak season, the time when I can charge the most. But maybe even worse, it made me look like I don't know what I am doing (and almost all my work comes from referrals).
So here is my question: How to hedge against manufacturer defects? Do I put in a clause in my my bid/ estimate that states that I will bill labour to replace defective parts? Can I try to bill the manufacturer for their mistake (the rep for this valve told me "no" on that last point)? What do you do?