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sillyme
06-20-2006, 04:56 PM
Hi - I know this is a touchy subject but I want to know if I'm being unreasonable. I had some landscape maintenance quoted over the phone and didn't get anything in writing. I know bad idea - anyway had 16yd mulch layed, shrubs trimmed, bushes trimmed, light weeding, 95ft of metal edging put in around existing beds. This was front of house and 2 sides. Also, 2 bushes planted - 3ft each and small tree/bush 5 ft. They sent a 5 (?) man crew who spent at least 6 hrs working (or not) then waited around for about 2 hrs waiting for more mulch to finish a 5X10 area where they ran out. Anyway - total bill was 3850.00 - 2430.00 in labor. What I heard on the phone was 50.00 an hr. Not 50.00 a man hr. They billed me for 55 man hrs. I live in small/med Indiana town. I never dreamed that this work would cost almost 4,000. I've had the same work done by "freelance" types in the past for under 1,000 - way under 1,000 sometimes. Work is very good and it looks great- I've talked to company and they haven't called me back about adjusting the "man hrs." Am I out of line? Thanks - I know you all work hard and are not treated well sometimes - :)

carcrz
06-20-2006, 07:00 PM
Do you have any pictures to get a better idea of the work actually done - Trimming & Mulch?

I usually figure $60 / yard for mulch installed. For the rest, I charge retail cost + $40 / hour just to give an idea. Five guys should have been flying through that though.

dvmcmrhp52
06-20-2006, 07:54 PM
8 hours with 5 guys to plant a few shrubs, trim the existing shrubs and do 16 yards of mulch?

55 man hours?
How's that compute with 5 guys for 8 hours?


I don't typically call out pricing of others but it does piss me off when people get down right stupid with pricing, it makes the rest of us look bad.

If you got this amount of work done for "well under a thousand" you'd better go find them boys cause that's entirely in the opposite direction as well.

Without actually seeing the job it sounds like a $2000-$2500 install.

D and H Seasonal Services
06-20-2006, 09:02 PM
Hi - I know this is a touchy subject but I want to know if I'm being unreasonable. I had some landscape maintenance quoted over the phone and didn't get anything in writing. I know bad idea - anyway had 16yd mulch layed, shrubs trimmed, bushes trimmed, light weeding, 95ft of metal edging put in around existing beds. This was front of house and 2 sides. Also, 2 bushes planted - 3ft each and small tree/bush 5 ft. They sent a 5 (?) man crew who spent at least 6 hrs working (or not) then waited around for about 2 hrs waiting for more mulch to finish a 5X10 area where they ran out. Anyway - total bill was 3850.00 - 2430.00 in labor. What I heard on the phone was 50.00 an hr. Not 50.00 a man hr. They billed me for 55 man hrs. I live in small/med Indiana town. I never dreamed that this work would cost almost 4,000. I've had the same work done by "freelance" types in the past for under 1,000 - way under 1,000 sometimes. Work is very good and it looks great- I've talked to company and they haven't called me back about adjusting the "man hrs." Am I out of line? Thanks - I know you all work hard and are not treated well sometimes - :)
I get $75.00 per yard of mulch installed x 16 yards is 1200.00 right there.

jazak
06-20-2006, 10:13 PM
Post some pics so I can see what exactly they did. Then I will be able to answer this question properly. Thanks Jazak

dvmcmrhp52
06-20-2006, 10:19 PM
I get $75.00 per yard of mulch installed x 16 yards is 1200.00 right there.




And.....................

M RASCOE&SONS
06-20-2006, 10:54 PM
$50 per hour is a good price for one guy ,so he has 5 guys working for 8 hrs -16yds of mulch at $$$??? - 95 feet of metal edging at $$$???- 2 bushes and 1 tree at $$$???- cost for disposal of debris from triming and weeding at $$$??? ..by the sounds of it the price isnt too far off but the labor math is off or he has more time on the job.did it come out good ?lets see some pics of everything:drinkup:

All Season Bill
06-21-2006, 12:18 PM
Do you have any pictures to get a better idea of the work actually done - Trimming & Mulch?

I usually figure $60 / yard for mulch installed. For the rest, I charge retail cost + $40 / hour just to give an idea. Five guys should have been flying through that though.
Sounds like your right on the money Carcrz.

But your right - 5 guys should have been able to wiz through that.

All Season Bill
06-21-2006, 12:23 PM
Sounds like your right on the money Carcrz.

But your right - 5 guys should have been able to wiz through that.
.....And one more thing. If they did the math right, they should've had enough mulch - unless your dealing with a huge condo. It's not that hard to figure it. Some pros can guess - I have a formula and then a little logic.

Splicer
06-21-2006, 12:25 PM
Plain and simple if what was said was $50/hr then it matters not how many people are working for that hour...the talley should not exceed $50 IMHO...

Now, IF you were told $50 PER MAN HOUR, then and only then can you expect to pay well over $50/hr...JMHO...

olderthandirt
06-21-2006, 12:53 PM
And.....................

I'll wait to see the pics or hear the other side of the story The front of the house might be 1/2 mile up hill with only wheel barrow access :waving:

dvmcmrhp52
06-21-2006, 03:40 PM
I'll wait to see the pics or hear the other side of the story The front of the house might be 1/2 mile up hill with only wheel barrow access :waving:




Agreed Mac, That's why I prefaced it with " without seeing it....."
I have no problem with appropriate pricing, however the installs I've seen lately from larger companies are downright despicable and of poor quality to say the least. It makes us all look bad and the distrust of customers towards landscapers is growing................

mbell3333
06-21-2006, 10:30 PM
I can only refer to the per hour vs per man hour part of this. I have done bookkeeping for MANY different types of businesses for many years. The assumption would always be that a per hour price was and is per MAN hour unless it is stated otherwise. Business wise it just would not work any other way. If 5 guys worked 8 hours you can't possibly expect to pay the same that you would pay if 1 guy worked 8 hours.
MB

sillyme
06-23-2006, 11:09 AM
Hay I appreciate all the input - I'll try and get some pics up today!! My yard is pretty straight forward. I guess one of the things I'm having trouble with is the "man hour" idea. If they did put 55 man hours into my yard isn't that the same as saying it would have taken 1 man 55 hours to do the same work? I know the math dosn't work out with what I saw 5 guys 6 hrs- but maybe they had 2 guys driving trucks and such - but at 50$ an hr???. The company hasn't called me back - I'm thinking of sending payment of what I think is fair and putting the ball in their court. My sister (the lawyer) says they used "industry term" as in the 50/per man hr and they should have explained that to me. Could also be that I'm used to paying rouge worker wage and not big company wage. I've asked around and most homeowners think it's way out of line with what they have paid. My friend put in all new landscape with materials front and back of moderate size house at 6,000 from pricey place here - and her maintenance is 1,100 -from different company. She said she had 2-3 workers over 2 days lay 14yd mulch and trim with spring clean up for the 1,100. This was in town north of me - or I would have used them !!!! Again thanks for your input !!

olderthandirt
06-23-2006, 11:22 AM
She said she had 2-3 workers over 2 days lay 14yd mulch and trim with spring clean up for the 1,100. This was in town north of me - or I would have used them !!!!

3x8hrs is still 24 man hrs. and if they supplied the mulch at that rate they probably figured out its easier and more profitable to work at Wal-mart.
Mulch alone would have cost you $980 and thats if it was an easy install. And would have taken 3 guys 3 hrs. That leaves 3 guy $120 to divide for the other 2 days. They made a whooping $2.50 an hr. :hammerhead:

If your sisters a lawyer you really should know better than to hire a job done with out a contract :dizzy: Make sure she knows how to fight a lien if you decide to only pay "what you think is fair"

grassmanvt
06-23-2006, 12:41 PM
Here's my quick take on it. Number one, it is your right to ask for a breakdown of billed hours/materials if you were quoted an hourly price. That might eliminate some of the math that doesn't seem to ad up and they should be glad to go over it with you. Otherwise, $50 per hour is not out of line for a professional company (you did say they did a good job and they did get the work done in a timely fashion) The 50 per hour figure is generally stated as a p'man hour. Maybe they should have pointed that out but, that is pretty much a standard in any industry. You couldn't have thought 50p/h would have gotten you five guys with all equipment and overhead right? My suggestion, find the missing hours, and most important, next time, get an estimate on the total. I will agree it does sound a bit high but, without seeing the job and having the invoice to look at, its hard to second guess. Also take into consideration, a real company will have to charger much more than a fly by nighter, but, they did do a good job (as you said) and, they will probably be in business the next time you need something. I am guessing that if you were happy with the previous work done and the person was still doing that type of work, you would have hired them again at 25% of the price you are faced with now.

sillyme
06-24-2006, 11:38 PM
3x8hrs is still 24 man hrs. and if they supplied the mulch at that rate they probably figured out its easier and more profitable to work at Wal-mart.
Mulch alone would have cost you $980 and thats if it was an easy install. And would have taken 3 guys 3 hrs. That leaves 3 guy $120 to divide for the other 2 days. They made a whooping $2.50 an hr. :hammerhead:


Ok - ya'll this is small town midwest - well not really small town but they like to act like it is. You can purchase much from local mulch man for 30/truck load - if you haul. Mulch price listed is 450.00 for materials - I wouldn't expect to pay than 200.00 to lay it. These guys were done at my house by 2:00 start time 8:30 - they took breaks and lunch. Waited around for more mulch to be delivered to put around new charlie brown tree and in two planters. But they also had people coming and going. Also, as for working at Walmart and making more money at these prices - only two of the men working in my yard that day would have been eligible for work at W-Mart. The others were undocumented guest workers - if you get my drift. So back to my 50$ pmh - even at 55 man hrs at 10.00 per hr for undocumented guest workers (which could be lower in this area) and 50.00 for the two other gentlemen (which I highly doubt they get anywhere near that) we're talking 1190.00 labor and a tidy profit. look at pics and hammer away - I can take it!!

sillyme
06-24-2006, 11:42 PM
More pics - of mulch weed and trim - new bushes are by front door and bush/tree is by sprinkler. paid 450.00 for these :) Thanks for listening and looking

olderthandirt
06-24-2006, 11:54 PM
How about some BEFORE pics?
And what an employee gets paid is NOT what a home onwner gets charged.
Obviously you had it done cheaper in the past and I bet it was by undocumented guest workers - if you get my drift.
BTW-- mulch pickup here is $22 a yd but deliever and spread its $70

sillyme
06-25-2006, 12:20 AM
OTD - No I don't know where to find UGW - my past lawn people were semi employed landscape/lawn workers and small Mom and Pop operations. I don't have any before pics but it dosn't look much different - the bushes had been trimmed once this season (except 3 in backyard they really cut back) and weeding was light - I really just wanted the mulch done as we were having company that weekend. I thought what the heck might as well have the bushes trimmed again and get those new hollys. Didn't think I was dropping 4K into it. Maybe 1500.00 max 1800.00 Can't really say their work was any superior to some of the others I've had in the past. But, yes they were professional, came when I called and finished the job. I guess I don't know how much extra I'm willing to pay for that. No, I know I won't pay that much again... and I'll get everything in writing next time. I've never had a problem in the past - handshake was good enough. I'm getting more upset with the company for not calling me back about the problem. And actually without anything in writing isn't is their word against mine?

olderthandirt
06-25-2006, 12:31 AM
I've never had a problem in the past - handshake was good enough. I'm getting more upset with the company for not calling me back about the problem. And actually without anything in writing isn't is their word against mine?

Maybe this is what I don't understand, any company including mine won't do any work with out a signed contract. It protects both parties, spells out what the company will do and what the cost will be, plus the legalities.
Not just in this business but most businesses, I would not call a roofer and tell him to install a roof or a siding contractor, plumbers etc. with out a signed contract and I can't think of any that would do any work with out one signed stating when and how much they were to be paid.

Its your word against there's and you can argue about all you want, but while you arguing the guy might slap a mechanics lien on your property. Then its up to you to prove he was wrong in doing it.
Good luck resolving the problem

LarryF
06-25-2006, 08:31 AM
Perhaps it would be beneficial for you to collect some of the comments provided above and use them as evidence when you file a complaint to your state's or county's Consumer Affairs office. I did that once, and the result was good for me. Different circumstances in that my problem was a fitness center, Work Out World, that kept sending me bills after my one-year, paid-in-advance membership had expired. I resorted to the CA office after it sent me a letter threatening to put a lien on my house if I didn't pay up. As Olderthandirt just suggested, that could happen to you too.

PROCUT1
06-25-2006, 12:56 PM
Thats the problem with per hour work. You are much better off quoting a flat rate and then its up to the contractor how fast he can get the job done.

ed2hess
06-25-2006, 03:20 PM
Your gut feeling about what the bill should have been was good, even if he charged $50 per hour/person. But apparently the quality of the work was satisfactory and he did it quickly. The only think the handshake was good for was it gave the landscaper the go ahead that you agreed to let him do the work. He didn't charge you anything up front so he showed signs of trusting you. You need to proceed to get a laywer to address how much you should pay him, because withholding all of the money isn't good. It will be an uphill argument but you need to get a couple estimates quickly and tell them what you are doing.....pay for the estimates. If you are in a small town this may be very problematic.

M RASCOE&SONS
06-25-2006, 08:43 PM
the work is done,it looks good so pay up.1) $50 per hr is self explanatory,it doesnt mean you get the crew for $50 per hr cmon think about it:hammerhead: 2) this whole thread is a fraud IMO:dizzy: it smells funny:nono:

FLAhaulboy
06-26-2006, 12:31 AM
your main problem is, you didnt get a written contract. remember that, next time.

wski4fun
06-26-2006, 01:09 AM
If there is no contract then you do not have to pay, I don't think. They own the company and must conduct themselves in a certain way. I would give them a check for $2500. Figure $1200 for mulch, $400 trimming, $400 planting, $350 edging, $150 weeding. That should be fair on the higher side. He could have charged 10k I guess if he showed up with enough guys. After you pay him, maybe call a couple of other companies to give you written bids just to have. To be fair, since the work is already done, I would pay the guys $50 for the bid. I think you will win if you go to court.

topsites
06-26-2006, 02:59 AM
With me a customer most certainly has the right to withhold any and all money, and their credit record pays for all of it or the remaining balance in the form of a collection issue that stays on there for 10 years. All of my customers always pay... Some pay cash, most pay by check, a few decide to let their credit records absorb the bill, either way is fine by me.

That having been said, I NEVER take on large projects in one big swallow. I'll do 100-200 worth of work and leave a bill. If I get a check pronto, I'll be out next week and within a month we can get 400-800 dollars worth done... This may not sound like it gets the work done fast enough but after 3-4 months at 400-800 dollars each, most homeowners agree it really is happening fast enough...

Matter of fact, most of them slow down after some initial excitement, but all is good because nobody is ever out no 3-4 thousand, if hard feelings develop, we can discontinue the relationship any time.

Now: 5 man crew x 6 hours x $60 = 1,800.00
Yes, it is per man hour because if I were by myself, it would take me 30 hours, right?
Let's get it straight: The standard Industry rate for our type of work is $60 pmh.
16 cubes of hardwood mulch cost @ 20/cube = 320.00 + 100 delivery = 420.00
We're up to 2,220 without the trimming or any of the other stuff.

topsites
06-26-2006, 03:15 AM
I wouldn't expect to pay than 200.00 to lay it.

One thing's for sure, this landscaper you hired made a big mistake, one I hope I would've seen coming long before I did any work.
I mean, if this is your consensus now then this was your mindset when you first called... Surely he should've noticed something was wrong, way wrong. Well, we're not always up on all things at all times, but still.

To spread 16 cubes of mulch we're talking about something that would take me 2 days, thou that includes me picking it up and bringing it out...A trailer in the morning and another in the afternoon, two a day x 4 cubes each, 2 hours or so each load to do the work but most folks take an easy hour per cube, so you're looking at either 8 hours of my time or 16 of yours...

Now I charge $25 / cube to spread this stuff, so 16 x 25 = 400.00 but it's easier than that, 55 x 16 = 875.00 total cost + labor.

However, the mulch below isn't premium hardwood, it's standard hardwood: 45 x 16 = 700.00
So we get it straight, 4 cubes of mulch on my trailer doesn't look like much, but it is a 6x12 with extra-duty radial tires (the tires cost $100 each) and even lightly loaded you can see the tires 'flatten' under this 3,000+ pound 4-cube load:
http://stonypointlawncare.com/images/4cubes.jpg

topsites
06-26-2006, 03:41 AM
Hey wait a second...

I still don't like the condescending tone which is why I got like this but then someone else started the Walmart bit so while I apologize for my own defensive tone here, lets check something out...

Ok, I just said 16 x 55 = 870.00
Now that's the price of 16 cubes delivered and spread, whether I do it by myself or hire 500,000 dudes.
So forget pmh for a minute, it really is about the fair price for the job, if an acre lot cut + trim costs 60 dollars, then it costs 60 dollars whether it takes me 30 minutes or 4 days, and no matter how big or small the crew, it's the cost of the job.

...................
Those shrubs, if that's all it was, I'd charge 100 max but I don't think I can make them look that neat (no seriously), so likely 60 or so but if I could make them look that spiffy, probably 100...

Here I'm up to 970....
Am I missing something, do those pictures reveal most of the details or is something major around the corner?
That's a question only you can answer, sir.

I mean, if we're off on the per hour details and what not so be it, but if this 1,000 is right in both our minds then you may have something here. Regardless of contract, you have the same rights and power as a business owner when it comes to being ripped off, you certainly don't need to stand for it.

I don't know, I mean, am I missing something...?

Team-Green L&L
07-16-2006, 02:28 PM
Plain and simple if what was said was $50/hr then it matters not how many people are working for that hour...the talley should not exceed $50 IMHO...

Now, IF you were told $50 PER MAN HOUR, then and only then can you expect to pay well over $50/hr...JMHO...

This is why using the term "Man Hour" is so important. Forget the word "hour" completely!

sheshovel
07-16-2006, 03:14 PM
Well first off you should be wary of a company who would just give you and hourly rate over the phone without looking at the job first. Secondly you may have asked them to get it done before your company came and they had to drop what they were doing to get you done by your time schedual.
You really should have had someone come out and look at it and talk to you so if you had any questions about the charges it could have been addressed before the work began. Any time someone gives you an amount for an hourly rate without telling you how many hours they think the job will take has you by the shorthairs.
Always ask for an estimate in writing and get the scope of the job and agreement on paper. I am not going to comment on the amount charged because you really left yourself wide open fair price or not.

Team-Green L&L
07-16-2006, 03:32 PM
Hi - I know this is a touchy subject but I want to know if I'm being unreasonable. I had some landscape maintenance quoted over the phone and didn't get anything in writing. I know bad idea - anyway had 16yd mulch layed, shrubs trimmed, bushes trimmed, light weeding, 95ft of metal edging put in around existing beds. This was front of house and 2 sides. Also, 2 bushes planted - 3ft each and small tree/bush 5 ft. They sent a 5 (?) man crew who spent at least 6 hrs working (or not) then waited around for about 2 hrs waiting for more mulch to finish a 5X10 area where they ran out. Anyway - total bill was 3850.00 - 2430.00 in labor. What I heard on the phone was 50.00 an hr. Not 50.00 a man hr. They billed me for 55 man hrs. I live in small/med Indiana town. I never dreamed that this work would cost almost 4,000. I've had the same work done by "freelance" types in the past for under 1,000 - way under 1,000 sometimes. Work is very good and it looks great- I've talked to company and they haven't called me back about adjusting the "man hrs." Am I out of line? Thanks - I know you all work hard and are not treated well sometimes - :)

I'm sorry for the off post. I'm with SheShovel on this one, but if it were me; I wouldn't be able to justify any time waiting for mulch due to my error in measurements. Man Hours are only paid during time of labor. Can't justify a labor cost unless there's "labor".

phototropic1
07-16-2006, 04:08 PM
So my question is.......how do you KNOW that some of the workers were undocumented guest workers? Did you ask to see their documentation? Did they tell you they were illegal? Point is, you've made a lot of assumptions in this deal without getting the concrete details in writing. A lesson to all of us to always have it in writing, no matter what side you are on. If not in writing, you can only ASSUME. And your assumptions may be wrong!