First damage in 2 years in business...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FIRESCOOBY, Aug 1, 2007.


    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Was cutting last Thursday at an account I've had since I started (only 2 years). Did all as usual, and went about my route. Thursday evening I got a call from the homeowner. Apparently there was a hole in the outside HVAC unit. I went and looked at it and sure enough there was hole, from a rock or something. Never even knew it happened, never will know for sure I caused it or not.

    Anyway, they got a cost to repair of $600. I used to do some HVAC work on the side and knew to weld/solder up the condenser, evacuate, and recharge was high. Called a good friend that does HVAC work and he said $300-400. I told the customer that if I was gonna pay, I'd choose the contractor. He agreed. In the end they ended up going with a new HVAC unit as their current unit was 16 years old.

    My cost is gonna be $350 (cost to repair original problem). This of course will be out of pocket as insurance deductible is $1000.

    Cost of owning and operating a business I guess. Anyway, I'm always extremely careful at every yard, but extra at this one. They have a gravel driveway that meets their yard and always close my Qwik-chute. Crap happens though.
  2. MassSteelerfan

    MassSteelerfan LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 45

    I think you made the right choice to bite the bullet, but in the future I would explain to this customer or any other customer that you will get as close to driveway as possible or basically sign waiver for damages. I hate to sound so negative but the fact that the customer made you dish any money out,especially having a new unit put in, is a shame because from the sounds of it you are a reputable business owner, and I feel the customer basically took advantage of you being a nice guy.

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Well, I was really torn on how to handle this situation.

    The really bad part of this is that I wanted to dump this customer this year. They were one of my first customers, and I was willing to take it no matter what. They started off as weekly cut, then slowly started putting it off, and ended at bi-weekly. This is my fault for letting it happen. The back yard is STEEP!! I'm talking 40-50 degree slope. And it is WAAAYYY out of the way. I think they knew what was coming as they requested that the amount be "worked off" for the rest of the year cutting. I would have preferred to cut them a check and walk away. Oh well, only 4 months left.
  4. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988


    How did the customer take advantage of him? He damaged their condenser unit. If an LCO had done the same to me, I'd want some sort of compensation.

    You can do a damage waiver for things left on the turf, malfunctioning sprinkler heads etc, but you hit a window, car, or other stationary object not in the turf area, you're responsible...

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    I'm not questioning that if I caused the damage, I'm liable. My only concern is that this damage COULD have been caused in some other way. The outside unit looked as though it had been used as cover during a shootout. Plus the guy recently had alot of roof work done. One week there was shingles laying all over the place and an extension ladder that had slid down the side of the house in the same area.

    My buddy said that there would be no way to tell exactly what caused the damage, but I'm gonna cover it.
  6. Heatman

    Heatman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    You are lucky that wasn't a newer unit. The aluminum coils can't really be repaired and would cost $1,000+ to replace.

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