How to Avoid Accusations of Property Damage

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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.

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  1. Roof Restoration Bunbury

    I agree with Michael Moore – great article and good advice. It’s all very easy to become quite complacent with these very important points.
    It’s important that any defects are documented and agreed upon with the roofer and the home owner – like you say Liza taking photos is the perfect way.
    I think the inspection process should be part of all roofers’ business procedures.

  2. Michael Moore

    That’s really good advice. I would also make certain your property inspection includes examining the interior as well as the attic. On the interior look for signs of existing leaks such as stained ceilings or bubbles paint for example. And the attic inspection should include looking for poor or inadequate intake ventilation, or perhaps intake vents covered with insulation. Other problem items could include pipes, duct work, or electrical components installed too close the decking, decking or structural issues, or again signs of existing leaking.

    Your clients will appreciate you taking the time do do these things and of course not only can it protect you from unnecessary complications, it will go a long way towards building trust and referrals.

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