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Disclaimer for broken windows?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by khutch, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. khutch

    khutch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    Would this hold up? And if not, how come? Thought I saw on here a while back, but can not find now, a disclaimer a guy had his clients sign saying that unless you allow him to inspect the yard, for a fee(like $10 per visit, which no one would agree to pay), before mowing he is not responsible for negligence from items throw by the mower or trimmers. "Negligence" is the key, because as professional, we should be operating in a safe, responsible manner so we should not be responsible for something somewhat out of our control.
  2. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,686

    And when they threaten to hold on to your money or threaten the account where do you go then? Sometimes being right isn't enough. But how many windows are you breaking that this is a concern? We mow over 4000 lawns a year so basically in 9 years we have cut 40,000 lawns not including freebies. In that time we have had to pay for a sliding glass door 2 glass front doors and one small window. There has been 2 or 3 other incidents where we were not asked to pay or it was not certain we did it. So 4 claims in 40,000 lawn cuts I am not seeing the issue here between all 4 it was still under 1000 dollars. I think your better off just eating it as cost of business.
  3. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Our Due Dilligence includes being responsible and inspecting the work site before we work.
  4. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Midlothian, VA
    Messages: 617

    It's pretty simple, if you break it, you pay for it. If you train your people properly, the #s that Kelly Landscaping quotes are what should be expected. Some companies try and run from their responsibilities. If you do run from the responsibilities, the clients will run from you.
  5. khutch

    khutch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    I guess what I'm saying is most companies have disclaimers that they are not liable when something goes wrong - a valet service, a parking garage, dump trucks and rocks, etc. If we are not being "negligent", why are we responsible for something we don't have a lot of control over. That pebble that you can't see that gets tossed up and breaking something seems a lot different than spraying round-up w/o a herbicide licsense.
  6. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Midlothian, VA
    Messages: 617

    The decision to accept responsibility for a "doubtful" damage claim should be done on a "case by case" basis. The first question is, "do I think we caused the damage"? and secondly is how important is the client? I never accept responsibility for something that I know is bogus. For example one of our townhouse clients recently claimed that we cracked a window in their clubhouse. We had not mowed in weeks (too cold) and the window was too high from the ground for a blower to have caused the damage. I was able to demonstrate that the street elevation was a perfect angle for a bee-bee gun or pellet rifle to have caused the crack. As far as writing into the contract a disclaimer, those disclaimers are not worth the ink you use for them. If you cause damage, you have to pay - the parking garages try and get away with that one too; but if their attendant backs into a vehicle or causes damage they have to pay.
  7. Greenbeast

    Greenbeast LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I agree with the above posts. I would also like to add that if you are carrying insurance, then this should not be a concern. Unless of course this is happening in your company repeatedly, in which case someone needs to be dealt with, and if its a solo op, then that person needs to find another job IMO.
    Know your surroundings, check the area for hazards and not just objects, but sometimes people and animals are the hazard. Use common sense and be courteous of others. (stop discharging if someone walks by)
  8. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    How about this, If you accidently break a window...offer first to pay the clients deductible to fix the window. Or, if that doesn't work suggest that you will have it repaired and pay for it.

    The deductible on auto glass here is About $200.00 My home owners deductible is $500.00.....usually a broken window repair is much less than that. Check the average rates where you work. I'll bet they are lower than mine.

    My liability deductible is 1000 on the business insurance. If we were to break a window, the repair cost would usually be alot less than my deductible.

    If I use my insurance to cover a claim, my fees will go up the next year. If you put in too many claims, your insurance company will drop you as a client.

    I don't have a rider to cover broken windows in my company contracts. My contracts do state that it is the clients responsibility to clean up toys, furniture, hoses, dog waste, flower pots, removeable wading pools and other hazards or items which may be broken or damaged by our equipment or which may pose a health or safety hazard to our employees, from our service area by 8 am on their normal service day...or those areas will be avoided.

    If we have to do three minutes of clean-up on every HOA yard and there are 100 units...that could mean an extra five hours a week that the company isn't getting paid for.

    Also my contracts state that " any messes created by another, including other contractors will be cleaned up by them. If we have to clean it up, there will be an additional cost billed to the clients or the HOA."

    I'm starting to ramble a bit, so Have a Great Christmas

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