15 Jan Safety First when hiring a landscape lighting system installed
By Mike Gambino
Sometimes clients need to be educated on the importance of safety and insurance while selecting a company to install a landscape lighting system. Some landscape clients are first time homeowners – they haven’t thought about potential problems and their consequences. If a service provider is unlicensed, then what’s the rest of their company like? Do they carry insurance? What if they hit a gas or utility line which is very possible as installing a landscape lighting system obviously involves extensive digging. What if they damage your property, home, or your neighbor’s property with tools or equipment? These are the questions that should be brought to your attention. Sometimes it’s hard to see past a cheaper price so it’s important to shed light on other important circumstances to consider when choosing a contractor to install a landscape lighting system.
Once you’ve raised these questions with a prospective installer, discuss their insurance policy – make the prospect aware of the potential risks in landscape lighting, and insist on a clear answer as to how their company and/or process deal with these risks. Some of the risks in landscape lighting that homeowners may have no protection from when dealing with unlicensed contractors include:
Damage to the landscape
Unlicensed contractors are less likely to have insurance, meaning homeowners are basically on their own if any damage is done and repairs are needed. As a result of no insurance or written contract, owners are left to pay the financial burden of another’s mistakes. Discuss this with your potential installer up front so that they understand that you expect a policy to be in place so you will be protected from the unexpected.
A worker is injured while working on the landscape
In the instance of a homeowner hiring a contractor who doesn’t have proper worker’s compensation insurance, the homeowner may be held responsible for the workplace injury. Understand the importance of asking their contractors for proof of their workmen’s compensation if you don’t want to be held liable for another person’s actions. Be sure they provide proof of their own certification.
Potential for loss of home and injury or death of persons is a very real possibility with improperly installed equipment, overloaded circuits, wire shorting, and any other myriad of problems that could occur from unlicensed and uninsured contracting.
The contractor doesn’t pay his suppliers or subcontractors
When most cash deals are carried out, nothing is written down. Therefore, a contractor can do what he or she pleases with a payment. There is no contract to dictate who receives how much.
Laws are broken
While many customers believe they are not at fault or acting against the law when they engage in cash deals, the truth is the customer carries a lot of risk too and is often held responsible for misdemeanors in the end. To go unnoticed or unrecognized as a business, most underground contractors skip the paperwork process (obtaining permits, following codes, providing written contracts, etc). As a result of their desire to remain “undetectable” by the government, codes are violated and permits are not obtained, and the homeowner is held responsible for their property and the lack of proper permits. The best way to avoid legal violation is to hire a company with a valid and current contractors license who will draw up a contract from the start that both parties agree on.
The end product is poor in quality
A proper written contract dictates what both you and your contractor have agreed upon. As a professional contractor who is hoping to build a positive, loyal relationship with clients, it is in our best interest to provide the utmost in quality service and customer satisfaction. Unlicensed cash contractors, however, have no reason to deliver the best in quality service because they have no formal commitment with their client. Their job is done as soon as they receive payment. And with no written contract stating the work to be done and the expectations of the client, the room for error on behalf of the contractor and dissatisfaction on behalf of the client is much greater than if there was an agreement in place from the beginning. And with no insurance policy or warranty, once again, the client is left without any compensation for their dissatisfaction with the end result.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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