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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Landscaping and Pest Control Advice

All professional landscapers must heed the laws and regulations set forth by the state of Arizona. The state has a significant body of laws to protect the environment and consumer rights with regards to these activities. If you own a landscaping or an exterminator company, here are several things to be aware of:

Understand the Definition of Pest Control

The landscaping and pest control laws in Arizona have a precise definition for what amounts to a Pest Control Company. Pest management is defined under the law as the “management of health-related pests,” including services provided on land, in water or inside homes. Pest management does not include applying pesticides for agricultural purposes or at golf courses. It’s important to know this definition when you run a company. If your business is registered as a pest control company, and if you go to control pests at golf courses in Arizona, that would be illegal.

The Companies are Responsible

In Arizona, the company registered as a landscaping or pest control business is responsible for its practices. The employees the business hires to work on gardens and houses will not be liable if a legal case comes up. In some cases, licensing violations can apply to individuals, but only if certain criteria are met (such as how many gallons of pesticide one carries). These laws do not apply to regular homeowners who spray pesticides or herbicides on their lawns for their own personal use and benefit.

Know What Chemicals are Approved for Use

The state issues control on what chemicals can be used to control pests or weeds. For example, landscaping companies may use herbicides labeled as “restricted use” or “danger.” But appropriate licenses must be obtained to apply these substances. Plus, there will be other rules set by the Office of Pest Management (OPM) that companies must follow. Failing to follow rules and regulation will result in penalties or litigation.  Consultation with an experienced pest control law firm is essential when making these decisions on your company’s best practices.

Get Insured

Mitigate any risks to your businesses by getting insured. It’s inevitable that problems might come up when handling dangerous chemicals on other people’s property. So all landscaping and pest control businesses must have a good insurance coverage. Make sure the insurance provides coverage for the actual costs incurred. For example, there’s no point in buying a business insurance policy for $10,000 if it only covers about $100 in damages. Understand how the damages are paid. For example, know whether the policy provides cash value for damages or replacement costs. In addition, your company may need to get covered for employees, tort liability and similar issues.  Consult with an attorney to make sure your business is covered for all potential risks if and when bad things do actually happen.

Evaluate Chemical Use

Businesses should be careful regarding the types of chemicals that are being used to control pests or weeds. Even if your company is authorized to use it, the applicators must be careful not to use chemicals that might potentially cause issues like allergy reactions. Safety precautions, of course, should be carefully practiced. Use the least harmful chemical first before resorting to more harsh ones when controlling for pests and weed.  Your employees and agents must be trained early, and often, and you must ALWAYS have a paper trail evidencing that you conducted such training for the inevitable OPM audit and inquiry into your company’s operations.

Hire a local attorney to review your businesses license, insurance policy and best practices to make sure they are being conducted according to state law.  Call Canterbury Law Group today at 480-240-0040.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

New Years Resolutions for your Pest Control or Landscape Company

The New Year is upon us. Many of us make personal resolutions and many fail at keeping them. It should also be the time to make resolutions for your business. Here are some to consider:

TRAINING
Do you have a regular training program for your technicians? Consider dividing the year into twelve key topics and teaching one per month. Keep track of the attendance at these training sessions and keep the agenda for each meeting. These records become part of your training for purposes of trying to avoid joint responsibility if there is a violation by a technician.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Your customers are your biggest business asset.  Are you responding to their concerns or even know what concerns they have? Some companies use the New Year to call their customers and ask how things are going. Others leave a survey with the technician on his/her visit. Find out what is going well and what is not.

CUSTOMER RETENTION
As stated above, your biggest asset is your customer base. Is it protected from a technician leaving and starting a competitive business? We have drafted hundreds of employee covenants to protect customers. Perhaps you have an employee covenant, but it is old and in need of review. We do that for no charge and let you know of any problems.

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How do your technicians look when they arrive at a job site? Are they in uniform? Is their vehicle clean and not leaking? These simple things raise the trust factor in your company. Consider them.

CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
You have confidential information and may not know it. Do you have customers’ unlisted phone numbers? If so, these are not publicly available and may enjoy trade secret protection. But, you must take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality. Do you have a program to ensure confidential information is returned to the office and not disseminated elsewhere? We can help with that if you have questions.

INSURANCE
Everyone knows insurance is a fact of life. Unfortunately, many folks shop by price knowing little about what they are buying. Insurance can be complicated and a good agent will help you decide which risks to insure. When was the last time you had your insurance package reviewed? Isn’t it time?

CONTRACTS
Just like insurance, contracts are a part of our life. Perhaps you cobbled together a contract from other companies or from the internet. But does it do what you want? Are you getting all of the protections you should have? This is something to think about and consider in the New Year.

From us at Canterbury Law Group, we wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!