lawn disaster

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Striper, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. Striper

    Striper LawnSite Member
    from WV
    Posts: 32

    I recently seeded a lawn and spread topsoil. Four days later we had HORRIBLE rain. The homeowner is now giving me a hard time. Am I responsible for the run-off? Any help appreciated.
     
  2. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    Did you have it in your contract.
     
  3. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Posts: 1,647

    Can they control the weather?
     
  4. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    On my Friends cruse ticket, It says in case of bad weather no refunds.
    John
     
  5. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,968

    Hi Stripper,

    If you are going to be seeding lawns, things like that will happen from time to time. You need to decide what your policy will be. You need to make sure your customer understands it. You policy can be whatever you want it to be.

    I seed between one and two million square feet of lawns a year. My policy is this. As long as the customer has properly maintained his lawn I will go back one time and fix any bad spots or re do the whole lawn if necessary. I tell my customer about the policy and I follow it, no questions asked.

    In the meantime you have to decide what to do with that customer. On one hand the rain was not your fault. On the other hand it was not his. He thought he was paying for a lawn. To me, it is just a question of if you want satisfied customers or not.
     
  6. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi Striper,

    Here is a guarentee that you may want to use to model your own.

    "Guarantee:

    We guarantee the seedings as long as the grass gets watered
    3 times a day and you call us within 14 days after the seeding
    was done to report bare spots.We will come back and reseed the
    areas, which did not germinate,for free.

    * Certain environmental conditions and water restrictions will void
    the guarantee! "
     
  7. Lacebark Boy

    Lacebark Boy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    I am doing a job right now and in the contract I have stated that in the event of a washout, I will supply the labor to reseed but the customer must pay for the seed. I think this is more than fair. After all, the customer is trying to save money by not having the lawn sodded. This is an example of why it is a good idea to mark up significantly the cost of seed to the customer. It makes having to redo a job a little more tolerable.
    Lacebark Boy
     
  8. Striper

    Striper LawnSite Member
    from WV
    Posts: 32

    Thanks for the replies. My contract stated that I would supply and spread 150 tons of topsoil. I would then rock hound, lime, fertilize, seed and straw the lawn areas. I also had created a swale along the driveway and around the house. After I had finished the job I told the customer that he needed to water the lawn in the morning and evening for a couple of weeks and the grass should start to germinate in about 14 to 20 days. Well, four days later we got heavy downpours on and off for two days straight. Since the majority of the lawn ranges from 8 to 20% grade that amount of rain mixed with freshly spread topsoil created some pretty deep ruts in the swales I created and in the more flat areas of the swales, silt washed down and leveled them out. This would be a pretty costly job to fix. I will say the customer was not a nice person during the job, mainly because of a rain delay. My contract states that I am not responsible for certain acts of God. This man calls me to tell me about the problem and I tell him I will be out in a couple of days to look at the lawn, Three days later I also get a registered letter stating a resolution needs to be met within 10 days. (or what? I don't exactly know) I have talked to him and he says that I am responsible for the loss of the topsoil. I told him that I am sorry but there is nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening. He says that I should have put silt fences up everywhere. He said, " I'm not an expert or anything, but by the very definition of Silt Fence doesen't that mean what it is for." I look at it now as I fulfilled my end of the contract and after I leave the jobsite It is up to him. I do not always take this tone, but he is being quite unpleasant. So, after reading this, am I responsible? Any thoughts appreciated.
     
  9. Alan

    Alan Member
    Posts: 1,185

    Is the job paid in full yet? Sometimes it is impossible to satisfy a customer, no matter how far you are willing to go. If this has been a PITA from day one I think I would deny his claim. Might be a good idea to get weather records for the timeframe in question so if he DOES take action you have a paper trail to covver your tail.

    I'm always willing to go further to satisfy a reasonable person than I will one who is a professional whiner.

    For what it's worth, my biggest contractor customer tells his clients that he quarantees seeding done to "standard practices" but does not guarantee the lawn to establish or not wash out. As a result of his policy he does not expect me to guarantee the work to him either.

    When asked if I will guarantee turf establishment I tell them I guarantee to apply the correct amount and type of seed along with the recommended quantity of mulch but that I have no control over conditions on that site once I have left the premises.

    The best we can do is do our work to established standards. We have no control over weather extremes or where water will run.
     
  10. SuperShovel

    SuperShovel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    You may already know all this, but I feel for ya. People who treat you like that really piss me off. This would be my advice.

    That's a hard deal since you probably feel bad you didn't do something to prevent the erosion. But Pricks like that are out to get whatever they can at your expense.

    My advice, since you believe you have fulfilled your commitment, don't give in. Those types make their living by intimidating people who do work for them.

    If you are made to fix it or pay for it. Pay him to have someone else do it so you don't waste your time continueing to work with him. He'll never be happy and you are better off using your time on another job.

    Also figure out what you could have done so that you won't have this problem again. Since nothing is perfect, you will also know what might happen in spite of your efforts so you can warn your customers and not be responsible for it.

    Also learn to spot these types and remember to add $ to their bids to pay for their interference and uncooperative attitudes :)
     

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