The life of the power sweeping contractor has become increasingly complex and challenging these past few years. That’s one of the reasons why belonging to a trade group such as the World Sweeping Association, where lessons can be learned without having to live them personally, has become more important than ever.
Here’s a recent example: I received a call from a contractor who told me about being subpoenaed by a client’s attorney for a deposition about a slip-and-fall on a bad spot of pavement. The contractor had not notified the client about this particular small pothole.
Although the contractor trains his sweeper operators to notice such things, he said he decided years ago not to allow his insurance to be put into the forefront of liability for such occurrences. Before signing, he meticulously crosses out any contract clauses that would make him liable, being sure to initial each one.
To his astonishment, at the deposition he was presented with ‘his’ contract, with signatures of both parties on the back page but with no cross-outs on the other pages. He was faced with having to prove that he hadn’t crossed out the clauses after receiving the signed contract back.
Fortunately, he had contracts with the same company spanning several years, all with the same cross-outs. Even more telling in this particular instance, the attorney was hard-pressed to explain the photocopied staple mark that appeared only on the back page, left when the back, signature, page had been re-attached to a ‘clean’ copy of the rest of the contract pages.
His solution: He purchased a corporate seal and now embosses each contract page with the company seal prior to sending them for approval. This is just one, small, example of how being in an industry association can prove invaluable.
Ranger Kidwell-Ross has been providing information to the power sweeping community since 1988. He is editor of the world’s largest information resource for power sweeping, WorldSweeper.com, as well as founder and executive director of the World Sweeping Association (www.WorldSweepingPros.org). You may reach him via email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.