Need help with graceful reply

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by shane772, May 16, 2014.

  1. shane772

    shane772 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Got this email today:
    "Hi Shane,

    . . . Also, we had a homeowner complain that the water is backing up from the cattails being cut and left to block the water flow. Can you please comment on this? I don't live next to this area and can not comment."

    Now to what I need help with. Here's an excerpt from my contract that deals with cattails:
    "Trimming cattails in water retention area no less than once per month."

    Excerpt from contract about debris removal:
    "Removal of Debris-
    *Removal of any debris such as trash or shrub trimmings in grassy areas.
    *Removal of any debris such as trash or shrub trimmings in flowerbeds."

    I don't know how to respond to the customer. The drainage area was full of cattails from the previous service provider and I've come through and cut them down and left them. I also believe I'm holding up my end of the contract. What do you guys think? How would you respond?
  2. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,732

    Did you do a walk through before hand and point out that there was leftover debris before you started servicing the account? If not, it's basically he said/she said.... I'd suck it up and clean it if it's a nice enough account.
  3. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,382

    I can't really make heads nor tails of your post but I think you should have removed any and all debris that you are responsible for in the pond.
  4. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Does your contract state removal of debris after you have trimmed anything?. If yes go back and remove the debris including the material left from the previous contractor.
    If no explain to the customer that your contract does not include removal of debris after trimming, however you would be willing to remove all debris for what ever more you decide.
    easy-lift guy
  5. shane772

    shane772 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Looks like the guy before me came through and knocked them down with machete and left them. I came through with brush blade and left them. Contract states removal of trash or shrub trimmings from flower beds and grassy areas - nothing about retention pond area. I feel like I should offer to price removal of cut down cattails, was just wondering what others would do. This is my first "contract" job.
  6. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,732

    If there is nothing in writing about removal of debris from the pond area I would reply with a simple statement similar to expressing your concern about the water backing up also, but also stating that it is in your agreement that there is nothing concerning cleaning the water area..... HOWEVER.... if you cut something or did anything to cause a problem, whether or not it is part of your agreement, you should make sure that nothing that you do interferes with anything else.

    Sometimes even if it's not in writing, people take some "common sense" things for granted.... like expecting someone to blow the clippings from a sidewalk even if it's not in writing.
  7. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    I'd call the client and tell them the time & date when I would be arriving to remove the debris I left behind that is causing problems.
  8. shane772

    shane772 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I understand why you would do that. What would you do going forward? Just do it for free from now through November?
  9. Jcl4slc

    Jcl4slc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    Be more specific in your contract. Clean them up and be done. All I would do if I was the customer is ask if you pick up the shrub trimmings after you trim shrubs.
  10. shane772

    shane772 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    contract was supplied by the customer after I returned THEIR "request for quote" with a price. So all the details were put forth before hand by the customer.
    Last edited: May 16, 2014

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