Oops we cut into irrigation lines that were not marked

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SchmittHappens, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. SchmittHappens

    SchmittHappens LawnSite Member
    from MO
    Messages: 1


    I am seeking advice on what you would have done in this case:
    Bid was to dig a drainage pipe: connecting 1 house gutter and a trench drain, to assist with pulling standing water away from the house, with a pop-up at the back property line (about 300 feet of piping).
    We were only told after providing the bid that they had a sprinkler system (heads not visible). Had Dig Rite mark all of the standard items and requested the owner to mark irrigation lines. We hand dug around the 1 intersecting point and found no irrigation lines or communication cables there - but we sure did hit EVERY irrigation line in our way, with a trencher. We were not near any sprinkler heads and were about 3 feet out from a fence that surrounds the pool - so we thought we were clear of the lines, especially since the homeowner marked where he thought the lines were. We agreed to fixing them (6 of them, with 3 different pipes, and 1 communication cable) free of charge since it was our "fault", THIS TIME. This added much frustration and an extra 2 days to the job.We don't want to repeat this event...

    How do you cover this with homeowners? Do you add any comments into your bids when dealing with digging near irrigation lines? Who do you think should cover the cost here?

    Thank you for taking time to respond.
  2. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,146

    We've all been there at some point and it sucks. I make sure the homeowner knows that I will call 811 but he needs to let me know as much as possible about anything that is there. I will do my due diligence to find irrigation lines but promise nothing other than it'll work when I leave and I'll bill accordingly.
    Cam15 likes this.
  3. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 686

    Next time, add in time for irrigation repair to the bid. Tell the customer this as well, say 1-2 man hours included for repair. it honestly seems like you'll ALWAYS hit something if someone has irrigation. The other this is try your best to get a drawing of the irrigation from the customer, if they dont have one, ask if they know who installed the system as they should have one on file.
    hort101 likes this.
  4. sehitchman

    sehitchman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    My lessons
    See the irrigation actually working, I paid for repairs that I was not near.
    I now include this, " I will include up to two hours of labor to repair irrigation. I will cover up to $100 in materials to repair irrigation system. After that, the customer is billed, provided they cannot provide drawings.
  5. Mudly

    Mudly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 674

    2 days, damn, that's a lotta lines
  6. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 686

    Perfect, make sure you tell the customer this as well as they never read what they sign
    hort101 likes this.

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