Breaking a window... are we always responsible?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Regankc, Jul 2, 2005.

  1. Regankc

    Regankc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I read a number of related posts to breaking a window while mowing, and all of them seemed to imply that in such cases the LCO should be responsible. Does everyone agree with this?
    We work on a sizable low end commercial property (100 unit apartment complex spread across many buildings…nothing above 2 story). This place is very trashy and the pay is not good. (One of the owners of this complex runs a property mgmt company which uses us to do many other properties at a fair rate, so I feel obliged to accept this property so as not to jeopardize other business).

    Anyway, we broke a 2nd story window and are expected to pay for it. The price pressure from the on-site property mgr is crazy, I feel like a turnip being squeezed for blood (example: mow every 10 days… mow “lower”). We receive very few side jobs on this property as maximizing cash flow seems to be the priority. The trash, junk, etc is out of control…. We chew up one dog chain a week as we are almost force to focus on speed to maintain a very small margin.

    Does anyone maintain properties like this where the emphasis is on low price…get it done, as opposed to quality? Do you always feel the LCO is responsible for incidental damage where no negligence is involved? (I would feel responsible at a residential property, but in the case of an apartment complex that exists to make money, I feel this a cost of them doing business).
  2. The Grass Amputator

    The Grass Amputator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 46

    I had this happen to me just a couple of weeks ago at some property that I maintain. It's a "lower end" area, borderline trailer-park type of tennants. I replaced the window, but not at the cost that they were quoting. I had a window guy come in and do it, and the cost was 3/4 less than they were wanting to get from me.

    I always try to remember that, regardless of what the place looks like, I am there to improve the looks, not do further damage. And if damage is done as the result of my equipment throwing a rock or whatever, then I'm responsible.
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    I would pay for the window, but either drop that property or raise the price.

    Tell the property manager you won't mow it unless its a clean yard.
  4. Frontier-Lawn

    Frontier-Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,956

    exactly i would drop them asap!!!!!!!!
  5. the ace

    the ace LawnSite Member
    from usa
    Messages: 147

    All of my contracts state "Not responsible for any damage done by or to items left on turf areas". This is really the main reason I get signed contracts. If my mower throws anything from the turf area and does damage to something or someone it's not my problem.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    I call this a low-baller and get the f*k out of there, even IF it jeopardizes my ENTIRE customer line.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    Well if you break a window and there's rocks and crap everywhere, no I am not so sure that is your fault... Maybe stay out of those places, I dunno...

    I have a few jobs like that, what I do is turn down the throttle on the Wb to about 50% or so:
    - The machine goes slower and the blade-speed is much lower. It throws less dust and I appear like I'm not all that much in a hurry and people seem to appreciate that I'm not running around full-speed, it's like you're showing a little respect but the bonus is your wb isn't all over the place throwing crap everywhere. Also when you go slower, you can see the dogchain before you wrap it around the spindle.
    Far as rocks in the glass, I've never had that problem although once I got accused of it, I don't think I've ever broken one.

    But some things:
    I *NEVER* change the height of my cut, no matter what. The reason is it affects the characteristics of the machine, I've been cutting at 3 inches for a long time and am used to it - I *know* when a rock will clear (or not) but change the height and suddenly it's a whole different ballgame - NO changing the cut-height. You want me to come out less often? No problem, yards like that can usually be delayed a few days without it taking more time to cut.
    If they don't like the grass get a little tall, oh well, they want to save money, that's the price they pay.
  8. ArizPestWeed

    ArizPestWeed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,457

    if you get lots of other jobs , dump it .

    I don't do indoors or call to let them know when I'm comimg .
    No high maintenance jobs or people .
    I pass them along to the others in my line of work , pest and weed control.

    There's too much work here to have to deal with the problem accounts

    Good luck
  9. siirtonurmi

    siirtonurmi LawnSite Member
    from finland
    Messages: 1


    my opinion is that this depends much of window size (eq. price of repairing it compared to margin on sales)...
  10. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

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    Hi Regankc,

    Sorry about the window breaking. Even if you have a line in your contract that you are not responsible for such events, it probably would leave a bad impression in the owner's view if it wasn't replaced.

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