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Accidents on Customers Property

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Esby, Jan 24, 2001.

  1. Esby

    Esby LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    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...
  2. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    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.

  3. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    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.
  4. jeffex

    jeffex LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,933

    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.
  5. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028


    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.
  6. cutting edge

    cutting edge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    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.
  7. 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.
  8. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    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.

  9. Currier

    Currier LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 564

    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.
  10. SpringValley

    SpringValley LawnSite Member
    Messages: 147

    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.


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