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Did you open the back door?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 14, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    Got a call from a customer this afternoone. She says "Hi, this is so & so from such & such address. When I got home this afternoon, the back door was open?"

    Me: (appologetically) "Oh my goodness! Did we leave your gate open?"

    Her: "No. Not the gate. The back door to our house. Did you open it?"

    Me: "The house? No. We would have no reason to enter your home under any circumstances."

    Her: "Well, when I got home, it was open. (long pause) I think I'm going to call the police. You guys were the only ones with access to the back yard today."

    Me: "Well, I hope everything's ok. We were there around 11, maybe 11:30 or 12."

    Her: "It was wasn't open just a little. It was wide open."

    Me: "I think I would have noticed it if the back door were wide open."

    Her: "Thanks."

    I think I convinced her we had done nothing wrong with the certainty in my voice. Let alone, everytime we're there, we spend a good 3 or four minutes picking up childrens toys and clothes from the back lawn.

    But the fast still remains, she just flat out accused us of breaking into her house. Since I was personally there with my employee, I know we have nothing to fear. But when you're running crews of employees and this sort of thing happens, and you're not there, how can you say with conviction that your innocent????

    If an employee steals from a customer, in the unlikely event that something like that should ever happen, will the general liability insurance cover that?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. steve122

    steve122 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    Sounds like what happened to me last week. Customer called and asked me if my guys told me they knocked over the mailbox. I said no, hadn't heard a word and didn't think they did if, cause if they had they would have told me. This was a young Korean calling for his father who lived at the house and didn't speak english. He said dad was really mad that we knocked it over and did not say anything and wanted us to be there the next day to put it back up. I told him we did not do it, could not prove it, but to keep peace I would put it back up, on Saturday whcih was 3 days later, IF he would ask his dad if the mailbox had mail in it when it was lying on the ground, and what time the mail normally arrived. He asked why, I told him if mail usually came after we did, and mailbox ahd mail in it on ground, it was knocked over after my guys left. He agreed, also said he'd ask neighbors if they saw anything. He called back about an hour later, apologized profusely, said mail in box, mail came 2 hours after we normally did, and one of the neighbors saw it get knocked down and got a license plate number. Long way of saying I know how you felt when you got the call. You know your innocent, but can feel the trouble coming.
  3. Trevors Lawn Care

    Trevors Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,180

    Good luck with this one. Sounds like your in the clear to me. Wind coulda blown it open or something.
  4. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 811

    I'm not sure but I think the person that get arested and comvicted for crimes pays the price. Just because that person works for you doesn't make you the fall guy. Call the police and find out if a report was filed. If not then call the lady up and find out why. If it was me I would push it. If you find out an employee did do something then they have to go. You can not keep a bad empolyee.

  5. EnvEdge

    EnvEdge LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Sounds like some of the complaints we get. Your lawnmower ran over my hose and crushed the nozzle.

    Uhm sorry don't you recall the 10 ton bulldozer you had over there last week doing sewage maintenance.

    Some customers just don't think.

    As for the back door. Lock the damn thing.
  6. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    Actually the "liability" falls on the employer. Its the employers responsability to run checks and screen their employees during hiring process. The employee gets the "criminal" ramifacations and then the victim & employer can go after the employee in criminal suits
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    Just as I was posting this, the phone rang again. The lady says there is a piece of lawn equipment on her back porch. She says its orange and it says Pro Series. Sounds like mine.

    So I drive over to the mini-storage unit where my trailer is. Sure enough, I'm missing a line trimmer.

    My employee has never left a single piece of equipment on a landscape, with the exception of a shovel. So I drive over to the customer's home and meet with her.

    Sure enough, there is my line trimmer.

    I explain that my employee has been with me for a little of 60 days and to this point, he's been the model employee. He was in the back lawn for maybe 3 to 5 minutes by himself running the blower, but I told her I could hear the blower running the whole time. If it had been sitting still idling, I think I would have noticed that.

    She says the door has never blown open before. But she did say that she had three jewelry boxes, two are locked and one is open, but she has some diamonds that could have been taken by a thief, but were untouched. She never called the police.

    I explain that I do carry $1m in liability insurance just in case this sort of thing ever goes wrong. She was comforted by that. I also explained that my employee knew this was our last lawn of the day. My worst fear is that perhaps he is planning to return tonight to take the line trimmer and get into the home if no one is there. Today was the first time we've mowed this property and no one's been home.

    I also explain that to this point, he's been the model employee. Always at work on time. Very hard worker. Takes a great deal of pride in his work. And I like to think that good work ethics also lend to good morals all around.

    But I did suggest that she tie a piece of string to the gate, such that if someone opens the gate tonight, the string would break. She said that sounded like a good idea and she agreed that if I have an employee that would do that sort of thing, I need to know about it. She said she'd call me if the string breaks.

    I think she's ok with everything.

    It's probably all just strange coincidence.

    BUT...How can you ever know for sure, though?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,410

    Wow DFW, shure sounds fishy. If your guy is a rotten apple, it will likely run this customer off. Even if its just a coincidence and he is guilty of nothing, it will likely put a question of doubt it her mind. So sorry to hear of this unfortunate event.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    dfw, i hope you're in the clear. you be damn sure, if something was missing and she called the cops, the cops would lie , twist and turn to make it look like you did it.
  10. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    ++++dfw, i hope you're in the clear. you be damn sure, if something was missing and she called the cops, the cops would lie , twist and turn to make it look like you did it.++++

    Now you're scaring me. Why do you say that?

    DFW Area Landscaper

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