It has probably happened to all contractors at one time in their career: they finish a job and a homeowner discovers something is broken and accuses them of property damage. Damage can range from dead flowers, broken pieces of outdoor furniture, or worse (and more expensive), a damaged A/C unit. While accidents can and do happen, it’s important to inspect the property before you start a job. This will help you avoid the blame and the potential expenses that could result from unreported pre-existing property damage.
When you drop a car off at a parking garage, the attendant typically looks around the vehicle and points out the scratches or dents already on your car. Pointing out that the damage occurred before you pulled in essentially protects them from potential liability. The same should be done before a roofing job. Go around the property with the homeowner and point out anything that is already broken. It may make sense to also take pictures in order to document before-and-after conditions on the property. That way, you can own up to any mistakes you may have made and protect yourself if the problem was already there. You should take pictures before the job is started, while work is underway to keep track of progress, and at the end when the job is complete.
There are a number of small companies out there that offer a service to help gather and store the photos for you, but we caution you to do your due diligence and check the IT operation, security in place, and platform development before you invest in any solution.
If you come to find that your employees are truly causing damage, make sure you train them on how to avoid these unnecessary expenses.
Has your company ever been accused of property damage after a job? If so, how did you handle it? Share your experience in the comments below.