How to protect yourself from dishonest (or simply mistaken) softwash customers
Fortunately most people are honest, or nobody could do business. In fact probably 99% of people will treat a tradesperson well.
Most problems arise just because customers make a mistake of perception when looking at their newly softwashed property. But, sadly, a few customers can be, shall we say, a little economical with the truth ...
So we advise softwash contractors to consider taking a few simple steps to protect themselves from invalid claims.
Please bear in mind that our intention is not to paint the majority of customers in a bad light, or create feelings of negativity, but rather just to outline a few simple principles that can keep a contractor safe.
Think of these principles as being like an insurance policy. Only rarely will we need to make a claim, and the best scenario is that we never have to make a claim. But when the time comes and an accident happens we are glad we had the foresight to take out the policy.
Use photographs and/or videos
We suggest photographing or videoing (with date marking if possible) a property before working on it. Pay particular attention to any existing damage.
By taking photographs before softwashing a property, a customer will not be able to blame the contractor for causing damage that already existed.
This principle is the same as the standard working practises of car/van hire companies. They will make a note of all existing damage to a vehicle, and have their customer sign their agreement, prior to letting them take the vehicle away.
Photographing existing damage to a property before softwashing could save a contractor a fortune if they get a mistaken or dishonest customer. We suggest walking around a property, inspecting it carefully, taking pictures of damaged render, brown lead, broken tiles, etc, before commencing softwashing.
This can be especially important when softwashing roofs, as many roofs will already have a few broken slates or chipped and cracked tiles. You can also use the photos and/or videos to show your customer the condition of parts of their roof that may not be clearly visible from the ground.
Customers may be innocently unaware of existing damage
The problem sometimes is that customers simply do not know about damage to their property until they start looking at it with clearer eyes after it’s been cleaned. This can apply to any surface, not just roofs, as it's remarkable the amount of information we can "tune out" simply through familiarity.
Such customers may inadvertently blame the softwash contractor, not out of dishonesty but simply because they were unaware of the true state of their property's condition.
How often do most people look at their roof for example. Not very often most likely. But after a customer has had their roof softwashed they will almost certainly look at it more carefully. And they may notice damage that already existed before softwashing.
For example moss may be keeping water out of a cracked concrete tile if it is growing up it. And only after softwashing the tiles will the water ingress be noticed.
Another example is scratched glass after window cleaning. In straightforward cases like this simply drawing a customer's attention to the scratches before cleaning, will be all that is needed.
Photograph plant life before softwashing
Photograph any dead, dying or diseased flowers, veg, shrubs and trees that could conceivably be exposed to softwashing overspray, run-off or rinse water.
These photos will prove a contractor's innocence should a customer suggest that the contractor has harmed their plants.
We suggest that contractors verbally point out all existing damage to their customer, ideally while showing them photographs of the harder to see parts of their property.
When customer's have their attention drawn to existing damage, and know a contractor has photographic proof of that damage, the chances of a customer even attempting to blame the contractor for causing that damage, diminish pretty much to zero.
Click here to learn about protecting your customer's plant life
Click here to learn how to protect customer's animals & children
We hope you found this information helpful and inspires you to succeed in your softwashing business.
Ben, Leo & Fiona
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