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Why Your Snow Removal Business Needs a No Salt Liability Waiver

Why Your Snow Removal Business Needs a No Salt Liability Waiver

Justin Rollin

A no salt liability waiver could be essential to protecting your business. More than likely, you started your snow removal business with pure intentions. You found that you didn’t mind the hard work. So, it stands to reason that you’d cultivate a business around your snow removal expertise. Maybe your business started small. You could have never dreamed of the way it took off.

Even the best intentions don’t mean you’re immune to the challenges of operating a business entity. The service you provide keeps people safe while navigating the pitfalls of winter. So, what if someone gets injured in a parking lot you maintain?

Imagine this Scenario — It Could Destroy Your Business

“You know, I’ve thought about it, and I’m not a fan of rock salt. I’ve heard it’s bad for the environment and our image as a green local business is important to us. Let’s just skip salting our parking lot altogether and stick with shoveling and plowing.”

As a snow removal business owner, you know by now that your number one priority is your client. Listening to their wishes is what gets you long term clients. Everyone has the right to having their snow removed in a way that makes them most comfortable.

The truth is, rock salt can sometimes be an issue with clients. Salt is a corrosive substance that’s bad for vehicles, cement, people and pets if it’s used wrong. You’re not about to argue with your client that you know exactly how to apply salt and how much to use. It’s much more courteous to follow their wishes.

No Salt Contracts Come with Liability Issues

You’ve listened to your client and drawn up a contract and quote that forbids the use of salt on their lot. At the start, everything is going well. Your snowplow makes quick work of the job at hand and the client is happy with the results.

And then, one day, you receive a call from the client. “We have bad news. An elderly customer of ours slipped on the ice and fell. They’re in the hospital. Do you have time to sit and discuss the state of the sidewalk and parking lot? I thought hiring a third-party snow removal business would eliminate personal injury risks. I’ve shoveled that lot for almost a decade and no one’s ever fallen.”

Who’s at Fault?

You’ve never had anything like this happen before. You have a million questions running through your head—am I at fault? Didn’t they request no salt? Is the person okay? Can I be sued for negligence?

Many of your questions have no easy answer. And the question of liability is a confusing one that you could have to prove in court. You’ve never considered a lawsuit because of your snow removal. Yet, here it comes rushing into your life without warning. Many businesses can’t recover from a lawsuit.

If you haven’t yet, it’s time to create a “no salt” waiver of liability. Waivers will give you protection from a scenario like this occurring. At the end of the day, you’re a snow removal business doing the best you can to follow your clients’ wishes. With a no salt liability waiver they are still entitled to their preferences. The only difference is if something goes wrong, you’re protected. A liability form, if crafted correctly, is an enforceable legal document. If a business decides to sue, you will be protected with this waiver form.

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What is a No Salt Liability Waiver?

A salt liability waiver is an official document provided by you. It is signed by your client if they do not want rock salt or ice melt spread onto their property. Just as they have the right to request no salt be used, you have the right to protection. The waiver is a release of liability for you. This will ensure you’re protected if an injury occurs on your client’s property due to an unsalted, slick surface.

Create a Template & Customize It

It’s best to create a release of liability form that you can edit on a case-by-case basis. After all, no two jobs are the same and the nature of each request may differ. Having a clear, editable template on hand means it will be more likely that you’ll use it.

If you’re tech-savvy, you can create the template in Microsoft Word. This way it’s saved on your computer for edit and reuse. Furthermore, Word documents are easy to revise as needed. But if you’re not that great with computers, an old fashioned paper template will do fine. Keep the master copy on hand so you can easily photocopy it when the need arises.

Have Your Waiver Signed & Notarized by Your Client

Urge your client to notarize the waiver. This is the best way to ensure that your client understands the implication of the waiver. It’s also a useful piece of evidence in court.

People sign things without a second thought all the time. That doesn’t mean we always understand what we sign. Using a notary and explaining the meaning of the waiver to your client is important.

Crafting a No Salt Liability Waiver for Your Snow Removal Business

Keep your waiver for salt services simple. Be sure to ensure it’s written in a manner that holds up in court. You should always seek the advice of professional legal counsel before crafting a legal document. They can better explain to you your legal liability and legal rights. We’d recommend you include the following in your waiver:

  • The day, month, and year that the agreement begins
  • The name of the property owner (Owner)
  • The name of your business (Business)
  • The scope of your snow removal services
  • The specific, requested exclusion of rock salt by (Owner)
  • That the (Owner) acknowledges the assumption of risk contained within this particular request (No Rock Salt)
  • That you (Business) agree to this request provided the (Owner) understand you are:
    • Not liable for any injuries as a result of the lack of rock salt on their property
    • That the (Owner) will defend you in the case of an injured party seeking damages due to your (Business) service

At the end of the waiver, be sure to include space for a notary signature and stamp. There should be room for signatures for you (Business) and any signatures by (Owner). Before signing, you should also urge the other party to consider legal advice.

Communication is Important

A “no salt” liability waiver is an avenue of communication between you and your client. Make sure you propose the waiver in a friendly and fair manner. After all, your intentions aren’t to wipe your hands of responsibility. The waiver is just formal communication of the implications of not using rock salt. If they’re okay with the implications of that request, then so are you.

Crafting a professional waiver shows your clients that you’re a professional snow removal business. Clients, more often that not, respect a business that accounts for the future. It’s up to you to find the amicable way of broaching the subject. Get a quote!