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aduttonater
12-21-2010, 07:04 PM
I was recently weed wacking in a backyard, when it picked up a rock and flung it into a dual pane glass window. Estimate cost to fix will be $350.

I don't have the money, I am not licensed, and it was an accident.

The home owner does not have insurance either.

Am I at fault?

What if I were to get hurt on the customers property, wouldn't they be at fault?

Also the customers should be more alert about hiring unlicensed yard cleaners?

I am just not sure how to handle this situation. I offered the customers free yard clean up until it's paid off, they're going to get back with me on that.

mark123
12-21-2010, 11:14 PM
I was recently weed wacking in a backyard, when it picked up a rock and flung it into a dual pane glass window. Estimate cost to fix will be $350.

I don't have the money, I am not licensed, and it was an accident. As you can see none of that matters.
The home owner does not have insurance either.Sure he does. The deductible is probably more than $350 though.Am I at fault?Uh, yeah. Why would you not be at fault? Who else could you possibly blame?
What if I were to get hurt on the customers property, wouldn't they be at fault?I'd blame you but you can sue the homeowner or their insurance. You probably wouldn't get anything unless they were negligent (like they forgot to tell you about the punji pit they dug yesterday).

Also the customers should be more alert about hiring unlicensed yard cleaners?Absolutely, they're going to be out $350 and all they can do is sue you for your weed whacker. You'll go out of business and disappear. Tough luck to everybody.

I am just not sure how to handle this situation. I offered the customers free yard clean up until it's paid off, they're going to get back with me on that.Just borrow the money and pay them or wait to be sued.

The Cleaning Doctor
12-21-2010, 11:26 PM
I was recently weed wacking in a backyard, when it picked up a rock and flung it into a dual pane glass window. Estimate cost to fix will be $350.

I don't have the money, I am not licensed, and it was an accident.

The home owner does not have insurance either.

Am I at fault?

What if I were to get hurt on the customers property, wouldn't they be at fault?

Also the customers should be more alert about hiring unlicensed yard cleaners?

I am just not sure how to handle this situation. I offered the customers free yard clean up until it's paid off, they're going to get back with me on that.

To answer the main question, yes you are at fault.

This is a lesson for the both of you unfortunately. If you were hurt on their property without workmans comp insurance then they could be held liable for any injuries on their property. This would not cover damage to the property. Liability insurance is for that. However the damage would not be high enough to meet your deductible so you would be left paying the whole amount any way.

I don't know what your work schedule is like but if I were you I would get a job fast either delivering the newspaper or pizzas to pay for the window.

If the customer had been more alert you would have no work.

Sorry this happened but it may make you take a closer look at your business as a whole to reduce the amount of exposure that you have in the future.

The one thing you can take away is that there was not a person standing in the way of that rock.

jymie
12-22-2010, 12:06 AM
What is the reason behind not being licensed and insured? That really is something that is needed to have becuase you never know what can happen. It is relatively cheap to have the insurance. Being licensed and insured opens up your business to so much more work also. When you can tell a potential customer that your licensed & insured it gives you credibility.

bruces
12-22-2010, 12:16 AM
this post should be made a "sticky" in the should I why do I need insurance section .Its unfortunate,but he's going to have to take it on the chin ,and as mentioned above,at least he didnt hurt anybody .

picframer
12-22-2010, 05:37 AM
This is probably a question for your lawyer, based on where I live you are at fault and the owner can sue you. I see you have a Lawn Care name above, if representation was made by you that you are "ABC Lawn Care" the customer has no legal responsibility to ensure you are registered. licensed, insured with workers comp, they do on the commercial side but not residential. If you were hurt here on a customers property, you are SOL, their insurance would walk and you would probably be reported.

Also if the province (same as state) found out you were operating under a name without being registered, I believe the fine starts at $2,500, then workers comp would nail you also.

All in all not a good situation to be in.

Edit: I see in another post you make representation to being a Company
http://tucsonqualitylandscaping.blogspot.com/2010/12/affordable-gravel-spreading-in-5-easy.html

JLH Pro Lawn Care
12-22-2010, 10:10 AM
as with everyone else sure your liable, if you're full time at this then a business license and simple liability is a small price to pay so you don't have to worry about this kind of issue, at this point you are open to all types of problems...have business representation on your vehicle and hit someone and then not have commercial auto issurance....not a fun experience there, pay the $350 call it a day and then still offer some free lawn care for your negligence so as not to perpetuate a bad stigma for Professional lawn care companies.

call the one person that would bail you out of jail borrow the money and get the window fixed because not being a business the suit will attack you directly and not just for the window.....

Steve
12-22-2010, 12:39 PM
In such situations where even if you do have insurance, isn't it possible, most insurance deductibles are going to be higher than the $350? So, in general, wouldn't you basically have to pay for it out of your own pocket anyway?

If that is the case, does it make sense to keep a certain amount of cash on hand to cover such events from happening or no?

bruces
12-22-2010, 01:36 PM
his deductable probably would be higher than the price of the window ,and even if it wasnt he would probably be better off just paying it out of pocket as the insurance companies love to raise your rates when you start claiming stuff .

CHEESE2009
12-22-2010, 03:20 PM
Easy.


Find a few guys who would be able to fix the window.
Get quotes and show your customer available prices.


You can then deal with the repair guy instead, depends who decides to pay
- phew!


Let your customer know you are making an effort to solve this issue.

Tip: Continue to charge him and use the money to repair the window.

The only time you shouldn't charge, is if you KNOW the cost of the repair and will be deducting accordingly a.k.a bartering your services to pay for your damage.


I truly hope this helped. Wish you the best of luck!

picframer
12-23-2010, 06:06 AM
In such situations where even if you do have insurance, isn't it possible, most insurance deductibles are going to be higher than the $350? So, in general, wouldn't you basically have to pay for it out of your own pocket anyway?

If that is the case, does it make sense to keep a certain amount of cash on hand to cover such events from happening or no?

My deductible is $500.00, I guess the thing to learn is what if someone were inside the house or even outside and the rock hit them, for the price of insurance, the risk simply isn't worth it. If your auto insurance were to discover you were using a vehicle for commercial purpose(s) and not insured commercial, should you have an accident you are SOL, I know this as I have read about it locally, it goes down hill fast in this case, min fine here when the police determine this is $1,500.00, it gets recorded on your driving abstract which increases your insurance when you do get proper coverage.

This is why an emergency fund is important and discussed in another thread, in my case the glass would have been replaced the same day, people talk to neighbours, friends, their network which can have a very bad effect on our name. Even in a big city, it's a small world and with the Internet a tremendous amount of damage can be done to our name if the client is upset.

Steve
12-23-2010, 12:30 PM
If nothing is done to resolve this situation and maybe the customer drops it, does anyone feel there will still be downsides to it? If so, what do you feel they could be?

How do you feel these downsides will effect his lawn care business?

Hedgemaster
12-23-2010, 02:39 PM
My deductible is $500.00, I guess the thing to learn is what if someone were inside the house or even outside and the rock hit them, for the price of insurance, the risk simply isn't worth it. If your auto insurance were to discover you were using a vehicle for commercial purpose(s) and not insured commercial, should you have an accident you are SOL, I know this as I have read about it locally, it goes down hill fast in this case, min fine here when the police determine this is $1,500.00, it gets recorded on your driving abstract which increases your insurance when you do get proper coverage.

This is why an emergency fund is important and discussed in another thread, in my case the glass would have been replaced the same day, people talk to neighbours, friends, their network which can have a very bad effect on our name. Even in a big city, it's a small world and with the Internet a tremendous amount of damage can be done to our name if the client is upset.

You know, I was VERY concerned about this initially. I assumed that if I were to use my truck for business purposes and have an accident while out on a job, that my insurance company would deny coverage. That is not the case.

I confirmed this with my own auto insurance agent as well as the agent I ultimately went with for my business insurance. I was concerned that I needed to "change" or "update" my auto policy as I would be using the truck for "business". They both explained that I ONLY needed to get a "commercial" policy if (a) I were a "company/LLC", (b) have employees who will drive said vehicle, or (c) titled the truck in my company name. (which is essentially the same as "a")

So long as I have the truck titled in my name, the policy that I've had all these years covers everything in the exact same way. Whether I'm going to the grocery store with my wife, or as my agent put it, "Going from job "a" to job "b", and you have an accident, you are covered." He said, "Allstate would cover damage to your vehicle/other vehicles, but not your trailer, or equipment". (unless you had a policy with that additional coverage)


All that said, one million dollars worth of business liability insurance is not unaffordable... I found a place that was only $167/yr.
In today's "sue-happy" society, it's just nuts to risk injuring someone without having insurance.

picframer
12-23-2010, 05:19 PM
You know, I was VERY concerned about this initially. I assumed that if I were to use my truck for business purposes and have an accident while out on a job, that my insurance company would deny coverage. That is not the case.



Best to ask, where I live you are not covered, I asked and I have read in the paper small comapnies having to file bankruptcy because they did not have commercial auto insurance.

tjgray
01-06-2011, 06:38 PM
In such situations where even if you do have insurance, isn't it possible, most insurance deductibles are going to be higher than the $350? So, in general, wouldn't you basically have to pay for it out of your own pocket anyway?

If that is the case, does it make sense to keep a certain amount of cash on hand to cover such events from happening or no?

Steve I really enjoy your emailed links to some of the hot topics going on here in the gopher forums...

Despite being busy and never having the time to post much anymore *can you believe we are still doing leaf clean-ups...in January* there is always one or two subjects being discussed that compells me to stop by:D

This very same thing happened to us this season...well not the no insurance part because we have insurance but the window ended up costing just under our $500 deductable...

We paid for the new window and I made sure every one on our crew knew that they would no longer be weedeating rocks that were right beside windows.

Far as I am concerned if you can't afford to be in this business legally then you shouldn't be in it!

Be lucky it wasn't a child's eye that the rock hit and buy the new window!!

bgiannin
01-07-2011, 01:25 AM
I don't know why anyone legit would want to help you in this situation. All the guys out there without licenses insurance, or permits are screwing everyone else who is running a BUSINESS.

JL ProCut
01-07-2011, 01:32 AM
I'm going to copy and paste the first post and e-mail it to all my customers and let them know why they are lucky to have me
A LICENSED & INSURED CONTRACTOR
on their property and not some hack looking to duck out on repairing damages he caused.

mark123
01-07-2011, 05:38 AM
I'm going to copy and paste the first post and e-mail it to all my customers and let them know why they are lucky to have me
A LICENSED & INSURED CONTRACTOR
on their property and not some hack looking to duck out on repairing damages he caused.
That is a most excellent idea!

aduttonater
01-07-2011, 06:25 AM
I'm going to copy and paste the first post and e-mail it to all my customers and let them know why they are lucky to have me
A LICENSED & INSURED CONTRACTOR
on their property and not some hack looking to duck out on repairing damages he caused.

Why would you do that?

Just to update everyone on my situation. I have had the window fixed, two days ago on the 5th. I was able to find someone off Craigslist to do the job for $200 saving me around $150.

Since the job was $75, and I didn't get paid the day I broke the window, I was able to subtract that from the $200.

On the 31st I had a job where I hauled away some debris, including some nice XIX 20'' rims and tires (2 damaged). 3 days later into the new year on the 3rd, I was able sell them on Craigslist for $100. Using that $100 towards the glass repair, I was able to resolve the problem, and still owe only $25. I offered to pay it to her along, with a free yard clean up just for the inconvenience.

Broken Class Repaired!

mark123
01-07-2011, 07:52 AM
Why would you do that? ...
It's a good example to customers of who not to hire. Did you get insurance yet?

picframer
01-07-2011, 10:23 AM
Why would you do that?



Competition is very tough and sometimes we have to educate our clients why we may cost a little more than others, we all know it costs us a lot to do everything by the books and those costs are reflected in our quotes.

Sometimes we have to put ourselves in the clients shoes, would we hire an electrician, plumber, roofer etc. to work on our property knowing they are not licensed or insured, some may, most will not. Our business is not that much different, Insurance covers the what "if" and even mowing a lawn stuff happens.

Just google Lawn Mower Accidents, Technology Associates reported there were over 180,000 accidents in the USA last year alone. I suspect most are by the homeowner that may not know quite as much as we do but the point is accidents happen no matter what industry we are in and we should be covering our butt.

JL ProCut
01-08-2011, 01:13 AM
Why would you do that?



For the record I decided not to send it out, but the other guys have right. It's situations like this that home owners need to educate themselves on. What bothered me more than you thinking you might not be responsible for the window, was the fact that you asked if they would be liable if you were injured on their property. I would not be friends with someone I thought might be out the get a law suit paycheck, much less hire the person to work on my property.

I'm glad you were able to fix the window.

You should get your license & insurance, it's not that expensive and you will get more customers if you are a legitimate business. Take this all as a learning experience and move yourself in the right direction. Best of luck this year.

JL

aduttonater
01-08-2011, 11:09 PM
For the record I decided not to send it out, but the other guys have right. It's situations like this that home owners need to educate themselves on. What bothered me more than you thinking you might not be responsible for the window, was the fact that you asked if they would be liable if you were injured on their property. I would not be friends with someone I thought might be out the get a law suit paycheck, much less hire the person to work on my property.

I'm glad you were able to fix the window.

You should get your license & insurance, it's not that expensive and you will get more customers if you are a legitimate business. Take this all as a learning experience and move yourself in the right direction. Best of luck this year.

JL

Thanks you very much for your positive input. I am currently working on getting licensed.

Steve
01-09-2011, 04:01 PM
Did the customer decide to stay with you?

You could turn this around from a negative to a positive. Maybe it could even be used in your marketing.

Maybe show how sometimes accidents happen and that you are insured.

You could show how you broke a window and then you replaced it. At the end you could ask the customer if their lawn care business would do that? Maybe even get a testimonial quote from that customer to use?

aduttonater
01-15-2011, 12:58 AM
To update everyone on my current situation. I've been called back to work by the customer. After resolving the "broken glass" problem on the 5th of Jan, I received a call on Jan 13th. Set up a time to come back out for some maintenance work on the 18th.

Steve
01-16-2011, 02:42 AM
That is great news! Are you going to try to use that situation as a way to get more customers? Maybe by getting a testimonial from them?