It doesn't matter whether you caused it or not. At some time in the near future you will have to deal with it. The scratches could be from another window cleaner who was there before you and were covered over by mineral deposits, or something else. You simply revealed them by cleaning the window. And there might be no way at all that you will be able to convince even a very loyal customer that you did NOT cause them! Even if you ONLY used a wetting wand and a squeegee! You might still be sued for way too much and end up losing your business.
It is also VERY possible that the scratches were inadvertently caused by a defective surface. Razors, plastic scrapers, 0000 steel wool, bronze wool, even soft terry cloths can cause damage this way. Any of your employees can do this. In this day when non-routine window cleaning is more the norm than routine work, every one of us MUST be smart about things. Especially scratched glass. And so the bottom line here is we absolutely need to deal with this problem before, during, and at the end of every job we take on. By using the Trident Waiver.
The TW is necessary for every job including and especially non-routine work. It is a three part waiver. Part one gives you the right to perform a test cleaning of the first plate. Signed and dated before you even touch the first window. If the test is approved it should be signed and dated giving you the right to do the first half of the job including payment for the first half. However if payment is made promptly at the end of the first half this should be stated in the first waiver. Also a second waiver should be signed and dated at the end of the first half establishing that the first half of the job was performed to the satisfaction of the building owner, and payment was received for the first half. Next the rest of the job should be completed. Once the job has been fully completed a third waiver should be signed and dated establishing that the entire job has now been completed and final payment for the second half is due at that time or within the next month.
This is the bare bones outline of what I call a Trident Waiver. It is in fact quite virtuous because it is a protection for your company on which both you and your employees rely for their livelihood. It also protects your customer from the anguish of most legal battles that cause everyone anxiety. So it is very powerful and wise. Anyone can take this outline to a lawyer and have that person draw up a more detailed and more legally binding three part waiver.
Remember if we fail to plan we plan to fail.
Written by Henry Grover Jr.
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