Ever charge a customer for breaking equipment?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Pugsly, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. Pugsly

    Pugsly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    I had a new customer today and while mowing what seems like 6" high turf, ran right over a metal dog tie-out stake hidden under the grass! Blades took a beating and think i bent a spindle.

    Is this part of the business and get it fixed or do i approach the homeowner and ask for repairs fees?
  2. ConPro

    ConPro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    You stepped in it, you live with it. Next time if its 6" high, you'll be more careful.
  3. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    You're gonna have to absorb the cost. I won't even do jobs like that. Its too hard on the equipment, and you never know what you're going to find in the grass: wire, chain, used cars, and in your case metal stakes.
  4. Charge a customer for broken equipment? No. Very few customers would "feel" responsible for your equipment, even less would fork over any cash. It’s a cost of doing business, an expense.

    Therefore, I charge all of my customers a little bit for equipment damage. Build a fund for just such an emergency, and adjust your prices accordingly. Obviously, the amount of that fund will depend on your equipment. Seems like I never have enough, but it’s a buffer none the less.
  5. IBGreen

    IBGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 726

  6. LawnGuy73

    LawnGuy73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Next time be more careful
  7. Something else, CHARGE MORE FOR CLEAN UPS!!! As ConPro said, mow overgrown grass on new accounts very high. If a customer doesn’t want to pay for that, there’s a key indicator they’re not going to be reasonable in the long-run (a keeper account). So why risk your business?
  8. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,660

    was this a new customer? not that this will put money back into your pocket for your blades and spindles, but i always ask all my new customers if they have any dogs, kids or other hazards. Dogs have leashes, toys and piles. Kids have toys, clothes and like to play with ROCKS. anyways, ask your customers these questions, and then make a 'comments' column on your weekly schedule and put this info there to remind you when you mow. I have had this problem with sprinklers that don't retract all the way
  9. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    I have heard of rare occasions were people have charged their customers for damage. But this is when it is clearly their fault. Like if one of their kids throw a bunch of foreign objects out in the lawn that you were not aware of and you damage your equipment. But If this was your first cut at that property then you should have been more careful and walked the property. If you have been mowing this property for a long time and they just put this stake in the lawn then you might have a case. I put a clause in my contracts that states that the customer is liable of any damage caused by new objects that are placed in the lawn without warning me of them. But I have never had to use it.

    I dought that the doggy stake did much damage besides bending one blade. I have hit a drain pipe before and the blade was so lodged into the pipe it instantly stalled my mower. I was so hooked up on this thing that I had to pull it out with my truck. The only damage was a bent blade. This was done from not walking the vacant lot on the first mowing. That was a few years ago. And I took it as a lesson learned. I actually cut that property today. Every time I pass by that Drainage pipe I am reminded of the incident I had by the big gash in the top of the pipe.

  10. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    When I (rarely) do big clean up jobs like I did the other day, I make them sign a waiver.

    I ask them specifically if there is any bricks, bottles, cinderblocks, stumps, dog tie out's, etc in the tall grass, explaining that it at the worst can break a spindle, the least ruining a blade.

    If they agree to be responsible and sign I'll mow, if not I pass.

    Even if they sign, I'm very careful and watch out for my own equipment.

    You would have a hard time collecting if there was no waiver.

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