View Full Version : another fine mess im in

06-10-2002, 01:47 PM
dont know y i always seem to get the loonies. most of my customers are very happy, but here is one thats not:a woman called, she runs a small day care, in her house. in her back yard is a play area, swing set, sand box, very small yard, she wants to put something down to cover the entire yard, she had sod, it died, she asked for suggestion. i said, well the playground where i bring my kids is all mulch(sand was out of the question, she was afraid it would end up in her house). she said no to the mulch, she wants stone. i said a few reasons NOT to use stone=little kids eat them, kids fall and get hurt on them, kids playing, and going down slide, and jumping off swings on to stone will cause stone to scatter, and make a mess. she wants it anyway, i take a measurement, explain to her that each ton covers app 100 sq ft, app 2 inches deep, we do work, she pays bill, we r both happy. 2 days later, i get phone call: the work looks beautiful, but the stone is scattering everywhere, the fabric is comming up. and, she measured, its not 2 inches deep in all areas. i explain that the "2 in deep" is a basic formula, and that her property is not perfectly level, it may be 4 in deep in some ares, 1 and a half in others, she still got 4 ton of stone. she said that i should have "glued the fabric down". i explained that we cant glue fabric to dirt, and 8, 000 lbs of stone keeps the babric down, but when u have kids going down the slide, heels first in the stone, its gonna come up. well, she insists i need to return, somehow secure the fabric down so it wont come up, and put in more stone, for free. i explained that i advised her against the stone, and that all matters were discussed prior to the work, plus she has in writing the description of work, etc. also told her even 8 inches of stone will scatter when jumped on. she calls here 5 times a day, every day. well, now that ive written a book, i need some advice here, anyone be willing to return, and do the "extra", for free?

06-10-2002, 04:30 PM
You need to learn to say no!

06-10-2002, 06:30 PM
Just Curious, Why no astroturf? from what I've read the new stuff is very kid friendly

06-10-2002, 07:16 PM
What Paul said.

If you think it won't work, tell them so and tell them you won't do it. If that costs you the job, so what? Otherwise, you're in the mess you're in.

I don't think I have any good advice on this one, other than hindsight.

I think any solution involves you digging into your pockets.

06-10-2002, 07:17 PM
Hard to beleive a Day Care can put stones under their play ground equipment,down here it has to be bark mulch to a certain depth.Only quick fix would be to make some U shaped wire staples and pin the matting down with them.Should hold it in place till the check clears.

06-10-2002, 07:23 PM
Bobby, I would have flat out refused to put stone down on a kids play area!!! And if I was a parent that used her services, I wouldn't be to happy that she had stone as a base in the kids play area either.
Know when to say no.

06-10-2002, 11:24 PM
See ----

The customer isn't always right.

Did you pin the fabrc down - not that it would help a lot.


06-11-2002, 01:20 AM
nope, didnt pin the fabric down, didnt think it would help. the check cleared just fine, and i have no intention of digging into my pocket, i gave her exactly what she asked for, the rest is her problem. i was just wondering how others would handle this

06-11-2002, 01:29 AM
Ask her to write done exactly what she would like to have changed. Make sure tro have her sign it and date it. Then, write up a change order with cost to do additional work. Let her decide if she wants the new work done at additional cost.

Don't get in a pissing match with your customer, give them what they want, at the price you want.

JR LeGer
06-11-2002, 02:23 AM
I would not refund her any money nor would I modify your work for free. In this situation, you did not do poor work, you simply fulfilled a customers request. You explained to her exactly what would happen and she insited on having rock there. Yes, you have to keep customers happy, but on the other hand as a professional you have to draw the line--which you have done. I assume there is some type of contract which she signed which means she requested it. I have actually went so far as to write on a contract that something a customer wants is not recommended by our company.

If she wants changes then she will have to pay for it like anyone else would. If you just went out there and dumped a pile of rock in the middle of the place and told her to pay up then she might have a complaint. You did the job as she wanted it done--told her it was not recommended and she insisted. Her problem.

06-11-2002, 10:06 AM
"I feel your pain" You give them what they ask for and then it is discovered that what they asked for is not what they thought they need. Any day care that has stone on the play ground should have their license revoked. You were correct in recommending mulch, in fact I seem to recall there is a rubberized mulch product designed for day care play areas. I was involved in spreading this product at a church day care a few years back. You gave her the warning before doing the job. Change orders are now required with the appropriate additional charges. She want you to pay for her error. If all she can do is complain then the account is history. There is a lesson here for the rest of us. When we see that what the customer wants is not going to work, don't do the job. Your professional reputation is more important than a job you feel is not being done correctly. JD

06-11-2002, 11:11 PM

Rock at the bottom of a slide!!

Maybe you'll be named in the lawsuit when some kid gets hurt .

Just Turned Pro
06-12-2002, 12:30 AM
Tell her you can get a good deal on a truckload of used Hypadermic Needles from the needle exchange program... maybe she would like those under the slide? They are soft and would hold down the fabric :dizzy:

But seriously, I have done work that I strongly recommended against, I just added additional text to the contract/work order stating that customer acknowledges that (work) is not recommended for this situation or these reasons (yada... yada... yada..) and customer releases (us) from any and all liability... etc.

Although in my instances it was never something with this kind of potential liability.

06-12-2002, 03:21 PM
I would return and pin down the fabric in key places using sod pins (3" long U shaped wires-box of 1000 for about $50- also used for holding down netafim irrigation pipe). Next I would atttempt to strike a new agreement to add more stone in the problem areas and charge for it. I too have spread stone in play areas after reccomending against it.

06-12-2002, 11:29 PM
I think what you used is pea gravel, right? When we ran a licensed day care pea gravel is one of the materials recommended by our state for cushioning material in play areas, but the recommended depth is 9 inches. You are right about the scattering and kids eating the gravel, but pea gravel is actually a very safe cushioning material. I'm not sure if pea gravel is a regional term or not but if it is pea gravel is basically 3/8 minus washed rock.

06-12-2002, 11:51 PM
Hosejockey beat me to it, but I was also going to guess that you used pea gravel. Lots of playgrounds here (including city parks) use it. It is not sharp or particularly dangerous, although the new parks (and some retrofitted old ones) are now using that foam rubber-type surface now.

06-13-2002, 03:04 AM
yea, could be pee gravel, around here we call it "beach stone", it has a color like beach sand, 3/8 in size, and is rounded, no jagged edges.

A1 Lawn@Landscapes
06-13-2002, 11:25 PM
Kids will also put the stone in their noses, ears, and any other place they can think of. I had a customer that wanted me to put down a pea gravel/mulch combo 12 " deep under a play site covered in green outside carpeting. He wanted the carpeting because their kid was putting the stone in his nose and in his underwear. I put a clause at the bottom of the contract where I was following the customers specs and was not responsible for anything. Parents just dont watch the kid. Last time we were there he was using the slide as his own personal urinal. So much for the carpeting.