Snow Plowing - What's Your Policy on Broken Mailboxes?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by wz2p7j, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. wz2p7j

    wz2p7j LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Our's is that if we physically hit the box it's on us. If the snow simply hits it and knocks it down it's on the homeowner. We do a lot of HOA's and had a very wet and heavy snow the other day. I'm really catching an earful from some homeowners whose boxes went over.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. dc33

    dc33 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 257

    Ive replaced mailboxs Ive hit, but sure as hell wouldnt replace ones that are so close to the street or weak that the snow I was paid to push off the road and to the side/in the grass broke it. Sounds like they had some rinky dink rotted out POS box that was about to go and the snow off your plow got it before the wind or heavy rain did and they want a free box.

    Tell em to go pound sand....or snow.

    Next time out, make a nice big swing out around their box and driveway too and leave all the unpushed snow on their side of the street to make the point ;)
  3. fastlane

    fastlane LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    SO If you push snow against a fence and knock it down (the plow did not hit it) It's on the home owner also?
  4. wz2p7j

    wz2p7j LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I didn't say fences, I said mailboxes along the side of the road where I have no other choice to push the snow. I have repaired fences if my guys pushed down a fence with the snow.

  5. LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 756

    Are you talking about flying snow? or snow that is being pushed? I'd say flying NO, but if you pushed it then YES. but that still sucks, and of course if you have to fix it, you gotta dig a new post hole and make it proper. real PITA
  6. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,050

    Let the insurance Handel it:waving:
  7. MillerIn503

    MillerIn503 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Not an expensive or very timely fix. Your reputation as a business is at hand, so repair if needed. If one of those god awful expensive type boxes, negotiation is sure to be allowed. Basically let the customer know you are down to keep them happy. It really is more often than not a quick and simple fix and low cost. The fences on the other hand, let the client know what to expect as a possibility consequence if you can not inspect possible damage due to snow cover. Meaning inquire about their insurance if such a circumstance is prevalent. Remember Yelp and other such client inquiries can bite you in the ass, so just be thorough and negotiable.
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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  8. BckYrdLmbrJk

    BckYrdLmbrJk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 240

    Hmm? If I hit a mailbox or anything, and I did it, I would replace it. If not, I wouldn't. I'd tell the homeowner, "I didn't hit it." I wouldn't think thats very complicated. I've been plowing for a few years and have yet to take out a mailbox.

    This past summer I was on the ZTR near a light post, and I'm not sure if I even touched the post with the machine but I must have because the light on top snapped right off. The thin little collar holding this heavy ass little metal and glass light broke. Of course, you can't replace just the collar. Bought them a new lamp at Home Depot (same one they had) $40 bucks, no big deal.

    The guy laughed at me when he saw that I'd hit it. I guess it breaks once a year or so. I figured it was probably already broken and they glued it or something for it to fall over that easily, but I fixed it regardless. Maintaining a good reputation and happy customers is worth it. Consider it money spend on advertizing.

    My parents live on a main road, so I made them a swiveling mailbox on a couple pieces of pipe and a treated 4x4, put it in with some concrete and planted tall flowers around it so it looks pretty nice and swivels when the town plow trucks go by. I've done this for a few people actually and have yet to see anyones mailbox break since. Probably not the solution for residential cookie cutter folks who's mailbox has to look just like their neighbors though.
  9. southerlawn

    southerlawn LawnSite Member
    from Hays NC
    Messages: 65

    If you are a private contractor plowing a highway without a contract with the state or local law (by no means saying you are) said person is probably plow illegally, but when you "hit" or "force" with snow/plow you are liable PERIOD this is federal law trust me almost had to go to court once for a felony charge for knocking one down by force "with snow"(was removing snow from a customers drive). If you work for the state no problem because then you work for the government and are clearing state right of way which can vary state to state but for most is 30 feet from the center line on the average two lane road that is approximately 18 feet from the edge of the pavement. Either way this is federal law just with all the fun terminology taken out hope this helps.
  10. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,096

    I think that if it's snow you pushed and pushed too close to the mailbox and it pushed the mailbox over or damaged it, then that should be your responsibility.

    That's almost like saying my lawn mower didn't break the window the rock that my blades chewed up hit the window...

    I think your reputation will be better off if you replace them yourself. If you don't, you might lose a few customers and have a bad reputation in those communities.

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