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Commercial Liability- Are you worth your salt?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by hoskm01, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. hoskm01

    hoskm01 Senior Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 475

    Hi Guys and Gals.

    I am on lawnsite full time and am just getting in to the plowsite thing as winter approaches. I own a landscape firm in Northern Colorado and we do snow and ice management for our commercial customers (HOA's are our focus). We plow mostly with ATV's and UTV's and do about 60 miles of sidewalk per event with walks and drives ranging from 4 to 30 feet.

    At any rate... I just had an hour long discussion with one of our customers (a neighborhood developer) about snow and ice management relating to liability, especially in slip and fall incidents. I'm not too happy about the request, and it brought up some good reading and thoughts.

    :::Story note::: We haven't even finished blowing out sprinklers and today, perhaps the largest storm of the season blew in and we are prepping to plow Wednesday and Thursday. 12-24 inches is the forecast which would be, by far, the largest storm in the last couple years.

    I don't know everything about snow removal or landscaping, but hope everyone has covered their azz, to the best of their abilities when it comes to liability. This customer wants us only to plow when THEY make the call and say go. These people are 40-60 miles away and most everyone knows that things can be vastly different at those distances. They want to base their decision on future weather and the "how fast will it melt" scenario. As the contractor for the property, this request is contrary to what is in our contract, and they want to do it for money-saving measures, which is understandable, but a hurdle for us, nonetheless. Though, as the contractor, if we fail to act or at least point out the possibility that risk increases significantly when a push is not done, or not done in its entirety or in a timely manner, we put ourselves, my company and our livelihood in jeopardy.

    Just remember that both in the residential and commercial market, your contract spells out what is expected of you by your contractee, and that contract should be specific and of full-scope to the site. Liability can come in fractions, and you could be liable for a portion of a lawsuit, for so much as a "should have known" situation.As soon as your blade hits the ground, your product better be spot on, and your management same, or you open yourself to liability even after the truck is back in the garage.

    Consider reading this article on liability in the commercial snow and ice field as it pertains to any publicly accessible place. Hopefully some can take something away from it and consider their actions closely. If you already know it all, well then you're a lost cause; send me contact info from your clients when you lose it all to a lawsuit.

    I'm not an insurance salesman nor do I have anything to gain from any of this, other than protecting my interests from liability. Hope everyone has a great season! I hope to snap some pics of this storm- its supposed to be a doozy!

    Attached Files:

  2. heather lawn spray

    heather lawn spray PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,206

    That report from the Zurich is well written
  3. kcress31

    kcress31 Senior Member
    Messages: 451

    Good article. I will show a copy to all my snow contracts, especially to the few that are thinking of switching to my new competitor who probably doesn't even have liability insurance.
  4. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    This kind of crap is the biggest joke around.
    So, they're going to call at 2am?
    No way, you know they are waiting til they get up, they get into work, check the weather, have a little coffee, etc
    Oh, well, now it's 10am and the lots of full of cars and you've only been working for 8 hours or so, yeah, why don't we call that snow guy and have the lots removed.


    If you don't trust me to take good care of you, then you don't trust me, go find someone else.

    I get way more done before about 8am than I do the rest of the day due to traffic, etc.

    Walk away.
  5. hoskm01

    hoskm01 Senior Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 475


    I see you are in Longmont... pretty close by. We've got an HOA down there, our furthest south. You ready to push tonight or tomorrow?
  6. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    been working all day.
    still snowing, i'll be up early again

    but I just sat here for an hour and did billing.

    yeah baby, that makes it feel sooooo much better.