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Liability Issue

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by Michigansnowkin, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Michigansnowkin

    Michigansnowkin Member
    Messages: 75

    Liability Issue?I have a customer who has a cap on the amount of salt we lay,any more needed to be laid we need to call and ask first. So say it is a 1 ton app, if i show up and it needs an extra 500 pds, we need to call and they want to decide if they want it. If she says not to lay more but i say it needs it, what would happen if someone cracked there head? How should i handle this? Any Ideas?ussmileyflag
     
  2. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Cover your a$$ in the contract. State clearly how much salt will be automatically applied, under what circumstances and that any and all additional applications will be at the owners direct instruction only. Allow yourself ample lead time (4hours, 6 hours, 8hours, whatever you need to complete your route ,reload and return) provide a phone number with a recorder providing a time signature. I use my cell phone, let them leave a message, then call back. Allows me to have a record of the time they call.

    Or look for Zero tolerance customers that will make you more money and lower the liability risk.
     
  3. 4evergreenlawns

    4evergreenlawns Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    Look you already know the answer to this situation but you need the work right?

    First, do not be asking US we are not going to be the one getting sued. Ask your insurance agent how are they going to respond when the claim is filed and you called for more salt but the Client did not authorize it. My guess, they will cover the claim and you will be jumping through hops for the rest of the time they insure you.

    You apply the set application and there is an unsafe condition someone slips and falls you are liable. It does not matter who called whom and ask for, or authorized what. Phone records, signed sheets, whatever, YOU are the Contractor providing a serivce NOT an employee.

    If the Client wants to manage the account down to the what, where, when, how, outside the Scope of Work then you are their employee. Let them list you as an additional insured see how they would like that request.

    With the economy being what it is Clients' think they can micro manage contractors down to what they want to pay. NOT what needs to get done. When it come to ICE MANAGEMENT there is no gray area. Either is has to be applied when, and in the amounts the Contractor deems prudent based on the conditions at the time of service.

    Anything else is a waste of time. Let them decide on when to trigger a plowable event or total inches for a seasonal, but you need to be able to make the best possible decision in the field free of calling someone at 3AM, or Sunday morning while they are in church, or whatever.

    REALLY, are you going to make this call for ADDTIONAL salt and sit in your truck until they call back???

    Thank all the previous Contractors that charge the piss out the account for salt they never dropped.

    Besides, if you have some iron clad formula for how much salt to use everytime you go to a site please share it. If it works I will even pay for it, but in my experience EVERY SALT APPLICATION will differ. YEAH, I know 1 ton per acre bla, bla, bla. Factor in all the other things that impact the effectiveness of any de-icing agent and 1 ton per acre is out the window.

    The only thing that has ever worked for me was a sliding scale if we have to bill per application. I looked at the account and as, ok, perfect world 1 ton per acre, will be 1 full application. Then I adjust +/- .5 never less then .5 and never more then 2 for any one visit. Meaning, I can drop from .5 tons to 2 tons per visit based on what I see when I am doing the service. Assuming the account is a 1 acre account. I hope this makes sense as the formula changes based on the size of the lot for the base line amount to get to the 1 application rate. (and this is based on spreading about 500tons of salt each of the past 3 seasons)

    If the Client will not trust you enough to do what is right then RUN, FOREST, RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This Client is going to be an Invoice Dispute every event and you are going to be chasing your tail every event.

    Best,

    Ron G.
     
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,920

    Along the lines of what Ron is suggesting, why don't you just use a per application charge.

    Then you will average out to the ton per acre. (Personally I go with 1,000#'s per acre over the entire season, but use whatever you want).
     
  5. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    We cover this kind of thing with a declining services clause in our contract, basically the contract states that we have the right to use our expierience and best judgement to service a given site and maintain a safe property. If a client, ANY client for ANY reason decides they don't want a given service they must decline it in writing to our office,not via fax(cert mail is accepted), before accumulation of any snow or ice during a given event. The contract outlines that by doing so they are releasing our company,employees and our insurance from any claim that results from the declined service. 99 out of 100 times someone calls and says you're salting too much(not beacuse their lot looks like a beach but beacuse they opened a bill we refer them to this clause and are sure to read it with them so it's understood and they say you know, it's your specialty not mine, do what you need to do. 2 times in my years doing this it has led to a cancellation letter being recieved, funny thing though, both times they were slow payers anyway..................
     
  6. 4evergreenlawns

    4evergreenlawns Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    Nail on the head. Well Said.

    Ron G
     
  7. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Dont forget to add the "Defend and Hold Harmless" clause as well. I always try to add that to all contracts anyway :nod:
     
  8. 4evergreenlawns

    4evergreenlawns Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    Best part of this is the point made about the MONEY $$$$$$. They do not want to pay you to do what they hired you to do and that is "keep the lot safe". BUT when they are put on the hook the entire story changes. I dropped 2 Client last season after having a great season with them in 07/08. Money gets tight and the 08/09 season started out with the calls about not needing salt. They did not want to sign a waiver and I did not really give them a chance too as the Scope of Work called for Zero Tolerace level of service and that is what they got in 07/08. Gave them 48hours notice to find a new service. Of course they did and the lots looked like arse the rest of the season.

    Ron G.
     
  9. DAFFMOBILEWASH

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,598

    To me any client who doesn't trust my professional judgement 150% needs to find someone else !!! It comes down to keeping the costs down at your liability and expence. NTM the potential clients in the surronding region watching you put too little salt down... do you think they read the fine print of the contract!!! They will put it down to you being cheap!
     
  10. highlander316

    highlander316 Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    good thread. Some good points in here. This should be stickied at the top.