Should I offer a warranty on a sod installation?

In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one landscaper who put in a bid to install sod on a property. That is the only part of the situation that appears relatively normal. After that, everything becomes murky. Dealing with an existing client who constantly throws up red flags, to the customer wanting to pay with other store gift cards. Should the entrepreneur take on this job? If so, should they offer the warranty the potential customer wants?

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am running into another issue with a client that I had a previous payment problem with. He did finally pay, and I had made him an estimate for sod & irrigation. I have received an email with requests that seemed a bit ridiculous to me and I wanted to see what you all thought.

Client is asking for:

  1. If sections of sod don’t take in the first 60 days for any reason other than lack of / or too much water than I’d like them replaced at No Cost.
  2. I’d like a 1 year written warranty for parts and workmanship on the irrigation system.

Finally, he is asking to pay with $600 in Home Depot gift cards and is asking for receipts on all items. I am thinking this is a ploy to try and pay less than what was quoted when the receipt shows less than what was paid at the store.

Does anyone have any comments on how to respond to this. I am becoming increasingly irritated with him as he wants to meet every time I send him a new quote, and I am already giving him an extremely good deal on lawn care every other week at two properties, which I don’t really want anymore, because he is so nit picky and asking for so much extra that it takes forever to complete.

I had expected to have to do a lot of work, but I am becoming increasingly tired of people thinking that a weekly/ biweekly service is going to magically make their landscape look good when what they need is complete renovation.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “some lawn care customers are just not worth the crap they put you through, replacing bad sod is kind of standard though, but if you bought the sod and supplied him with it, he has no business getting your purchase receipt. You will need it for your taxes at the end of the year. If your margins on materials are not high, it might be worth it to you to let him buy the materials himself, then you don’t need to warranty a thing except your labor [which I would tack a premium on ].

If you shop at home depot and you have a use for the cards, accept them, if not, tell him you don’t shop there so you don’t want the cards. I have accepted cards like that before, and I told the guy ’sorry, but I can only give 50% credit on your cards,’ the guy took that because he won the gift cards at work and never did any handy work in his entire life.

I have no problem giving a warranty for my work, but I write a contract putting proper maintenance and winterizing, abuse etc back in his hands.”

A third shared “most irrigation guys do give a year warranty on new irrigation installation around here.

This guy sounds like he might purposely cause some damage. I would walk away from him altogether as it sounds your gut feeling is telling you to do.

Home depot gift cards??? That’s a first! Lol Tell him you only shop at Lowe’s.

I would never agree to his sod conditions. He may have some bad soil conditions and you’ll be on the hook with this guy for life. Just my 2 cents:-)”

A fourth added “I don’t know how things are from state to state but sod farms in my area do not guarantee anything because it is a perishable product. As long as the sod is laid properly and in good health at time of installation the customer is responsible for payment at time of completion.

If the sod was damaged during shipping or installation, it would show the effects immediately. I would replace that without question and if a customer calls you within the first couple days or even the first week they might have an argument but 60 days after the fact is unheard of.

I always tell my clients that any defective pieces of turf will show themselves withing the first few days and to not hesitate to call so I can replace it immediately with some of the extra turf we have.

For the first couple weeks after a sod install I always make a point to drive by and visit the property and see how things are going to avoid them having to call me and complain. We also include a couple applications after install of bio-stimulants and fertilizer to promote better root growth.

I always order extra and I have the means to lay it all out and store it for a few weeks or until I use it elsewhere.

I don’t know about the gift cards, I mean, sure there are things you could get at home depot but do you really need to go on a shopping spree to get your hard earned money?

I would prefer cash myself to do as I wish and not be forced to spend it. Also, they deduct the value on them as time passes so if you have a card from 3 months ago it will be worth less so you really got to use them when you get them.

Sounds like the customer does not have the money to pay you and he wants to rack up some money on his home cheapo card to pay you. It’s the old rob Peter to pay Paul method. Or he stole the gift cards and they were not activated so if you were to consider it they have a phone number to call to tell you how much they are still worth as well as activated.

I am all with you on the not wanting to turn down work, especially in this day and age but this customer sounds like too much of a pain in the ass with too many red flags that will only cause you future grief.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.”

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