Pete, our editor, and Megan, our art director, have been waiting for this Publisher’s Page column; I promised it to them more than a week ago. Sometimes, the words flow easily and other times it’s more difficult. This is one of those months where it seems difficult.
I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow, so the past several weeks have been busy. I spent four days making sales calls with Jim Clifford, our East Coast sales manager. This is always a treat. Jim is what I refer to as an organized, disorganized mess. He still prefers legal pads and a Rolodex to electronics. A smartphone is a necessary evil to him, as is his computer. His rolling office should be a Suburban or Tahoe, but since he racks up 30,000 miles a year, his mid-size is more practical.
Now, don’t jump to conclusions, because Jim is every bit the multi-tasker that my 20-year-old daughter is — he can drive, drink a cup of hot tea (with no lid), balance his Garmin GPS on the edge of the dashboard, navigate through New Jersey traffic, drive (sometimes with his knees) and give me a run down on the next call we’re about to make all at once. Phew. The next time we travel together, I really need to put this on video.
We met with eight clients and conducted two 20 Questions interviews with 2016 Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest winners Michael Carlo at Innovative Air and Marty Rosica at Hawks & Company. It was 90F on the East Coast when we were there, and both companies were running at capacity.
After several early mornings and late evenings, I was set to catch an 8 p.m. out of Philly — until it was cancelled by my friends at United. Luckily, I was able to get the last seat on an American Airlines flight that landed at 1 a.m.
The next morning, I was in the office catching up, followed by several internal meetings. The weekend was more of the same but, knowing vacation was right around the corner, I needed to first catch up before I could get ahead.
This week started with evaluating several contracts from vendors. Have you noticed a trend of liability limits built into contracts? I require companies with which we do business to show proof of liability insurance. This is non-negotiable and I won’t sign a contract that contains the following clause:
Limitation. The limit of Company X liability (whether in contract, tort, negligence, strict liability in tort or by statute or otherwise) to Client or to any third party concerning performance or non-performance by Company X, or in any manner related to this Agreement, for any and all claims, shall not in the aggregate exceed the amount representing six (6) month’s billing, averaged over the preceding twelve (12) month period, specifically related to the work involved under Attachment A which gave rise to the claim. Client’s exclusive remedy for any claim arising out of these arrangements shall be for Company X, upon receipt of written notice, to use commercially reasonable efforts to cure the breach at its expense, and failing that, the return of fees paid to Company X for the work related to the breach. In no event shall Company X be liable for any loss or damage caused by, relating to, or arising from a failure of Client to perform its obligations under this Agreement.
No Consequential Damages. IN NO EVENT SHALL EITHER PARTY BE LIABLE TO THE OTHER FOR CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL OR PUNITIVE LOSSES, DAMAGES, OR EXPENSES (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, LOST BUSINESS, OR LOST SAVINGS) IN CONNECTION WITH OR ARISING FROM THE FURNISHING, PERFORMANCE, OR USE OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED HEREIN OR ANY RELATED WORK PRODUCT, REGARDLESS OF ANY LAW AND/OR REGULATION, AND EVEN IF IT HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THEIR POSSIBLE EXISTENCE. ANY ACTION BY EITHER PARTY MUST BE BROUGHT WITHIN NINETY (90) DAYS AFTER THE CAUSE OF ACTION AROSE.
This verbiage seems more prevalent than in the past. Limits such as these are the exact reason I read every contract thoroughly. And, when I find this type of clause, I ask for it to be removed. If they won’t, can’t or don’t, then I find another vendor.
If you find questionable language in your contracts, get your attorney (and insurance agent) involved. They’re there to keep you safe and out of court.
As a business owner, it’s been business as usual — but I need a break and that’s really what this whole column is about. When business as usual seems more difficult, take a step back and think about the last time you took some time off. If your last break was Christmas or New Years, then it’s time.
By the time you read this, I’ll be back in the office, but not before I’ve taken time to dig my toes into the sand for a week. The Corona beer commercials paint a pretty good picture of where I’ll be. Cheers!
P.S. One of our largest circulation efforts of the year is taking place right now. It would be an immense help to all of us at HVACR Business if you would take three minutes to renew your subscription. Thank you for being a loyal reader.
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