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Customer's Likely To Fail Request

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by under_the_hill, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. under_the_hill

    under_the_hill ArboristSite Lurker

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    A customer purchased a couple dozen 'Smaragd' / Emerald Green Thujas and called me about installation. I install customer provided trees, but without a warranty. It hasn't been an issue.

    However, when I visited the site today he would like them planted along a fence that borders his mature oak wooded lot backyard. Scenarios of berms and raised planters came up to avoid significant damage to the oak roots and that doesn't even cover that the best case for sunlight is 4 hours of direct sun on the part of the trees facing the fence (and not being shaded by the fence itself!)

    In terms of professionalism, is this a job to turn down? A job to write a detailed contract if the customer really wants to try? I told him that I didn't want him to throw good money after bad but I'd think about it for a couple days.

    Trees were a weird field-grown but put into containers for sale at a Big Box Store. Super heavy.
     
    jefflovstrom likes this.
  2. Hoodiegadoo

    Hoodiegadoo ArboristSite Member

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    In cases like that I don’t waste time with contracts or anything. Just simply let them know your concerns and what might likely happen and if they still want them in the ground; start digging. The bottom line is, no matter how many waivers or contracts someone signs if a lawsuit is justified you’re still getting sued. I’m well insured and try to make smart decisions on who I do business with and how I handle accidental damage, etc. lawsuits are pretty much a pain in the ass for everyone but the lawyers that are getting rich from them. Planting some trees where someone wanted them in spite of your concerns is hardly trouble waiting to happen. Occasionally your concerns come to fruition and then you’ve made a great customer for life because your word is golden.

    I will say this. If you negligently planted trees that killed a mature oak that was over a structure (not a fence) of real value or a kids playground or something like that and it caused significant damage or injury, then someone might have a better argument of your liability. but even that would be a tough argument at best. In that kind of (worst case) scenario you’d be fighting an insurance company’s subrogation department. Which is a whole different ball game and why I always suggested people get the absolute highest liability limits they can afford back when I was an insurance agent.
     
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  3. under_the_hill

    under_the_hill ArboristSite Lurker

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    Excellent advice, thank you.
     
  4. under_the_hill

    under_the_hill ArboristSite Lurker

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    It ended up as you said Hoodiegadoo: I started digging. Tree roots have not been much of an issue, though the soil turned out to be quite rocky.
     
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