passing liability to customer

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by JPF Landscaping, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. JPF Landscaping

    JPF Landscaping LawnSite Member
    from STL MO
    Messages: 10

    Last year was my first year aerating and I was having customers deal with the utility marking services. Another contractor told me I could not pass the liability on to the customer. I realize now that this was overkill but I just didn't want to hit things. Was this b.s. or is there a law that states this? I would ask the LCO that told me this but he is very busy and doesn't like to share his info. Where are good places to find legal info like this. I know an attorney would be the obvious answer but I have not hired one yet.

    Thank you.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    The only thing you should be worrying about is irrigation sprinkler heads anyhow,
    the tines on an aerator don't dig deep enough to mess up utility lines BUT
    rototillers do!

    So don't worry about Miss Utility anymore unless you're tilling,
    do worry about sprinkler heads thou.

    As for the question concerning liability, you do what works best for you
    so long the customer is aware of it.
  3. JPF Landscaping

    JPF Landscaping LawnSite Member
    from STL MO
    Messages: 10

    I am wondering what resources to use for legal matters. I find it hard to believe that everyone has a lawyer and calls him/her with every question they have as that would get very costly.
  4. MIKE72K

    MIKE72K LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Make sure if they have an invisible fence to call the company or have the home owner call. They only burry the line about 6" deep.


    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    cable tv is also buried very shallow ive hit lines while aerating and edging. cable company always fixed for free but then they would just bury it 1"-2" deep again
  6. JPF Landscaping

    JPF Landscaping LawnSite Member
    from STL MO
    Messages: 10

    I have hit tv cable in the past and the customer took care of it for me but when I called the cable company to ask what it would cost to repair one the secretary told me it depends on the repair man on the property. Kinda stupid when the only way to hit one is if it is not burried deep enough. MIKE72K do you aerate to 6 inches? How? I have one zoysia yard with an invisible dog fence, the husband wants it done but the wife doesn't so I offered to power rake it instead. Does anybody have any ideas about the liablilty thing? It seems to me that a waiver would put the liability on the customer.
  7. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    A thought that comes to my mind is what if you quoted two prices to your customer?

    Let me explain it this way. If you had a contract that said, there is a small risk of my services damaging sprinkler heads, tv cable lines or invisible fences. My quote is $ 300.00 with me assuming any responsibilty for repairs in the event I damage any to the above or $ 175.00 with the customers assuming any responsibilty for repair to those items. Then you have a check block the customer checks and he initials which option he chooses. I would bet 100% of the customers would select the cheaper price and you would have effectivly passed the liability to the customer. If some went for the higher price it would probably average out that you made enough extra to cover any damage you ever did. That should be 100% legal.
  8. MIKE72K

    MIKE72K LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    The company i used to work for had an areator with 6" tines and he had me areate when it was soft. I didn't agree with him sometimes. Invisible fence isn't quite 6" down, usually 2-3". If you do have a heavy machine and it is soft you can get too deep. Not good.

  9. JimmyStew

    JimmyStew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    I was once told by someone (don't recall who) that the cable/phone companies bury the cables so shallow because it's cheaper to repair cut lines when they happen than it would be to bury the cables any deeper.

    I did a job last summer where the homeowner pointed out where the phone cable was buried, just in front of the big pile of gravel I had delivered. Told me about how the phone company came out the previous spring to replace it because their plow guy ripped it up. So guess what I did? Yup, set the bucket just a smidgen to deep and plucked it from its home again. Phone company said "no problem, we'll be out to fix it". I wonder if their reconsidering that cost/benefit analysis??
  10. grass-scapes

    grass-scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,552

    I put in my quote that "We are not responsible for any damage to items not clearly marked (i.e. hidden sprinkler heads, cable lines, etc)"

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