View Full Version : Friend Unhappy with our Walk

DVS Hardscaper
06-28-2010, 12:39 AM
I have a neighbor whom is in the trucking business. His company is who we use for delivery of our gravel, etc. We have become buddies and we recently done a job for him.

A 30x3 dryset flagstone pathway. Started out as being "a simple walk that won't get used much". (client's statement)

We've done many flagstone jobs and I have always been very happy with the end results.

I should have known better. The guy's trucks are the cleanest, shiniest trucks in the state. Polished aluminum bodies, chrome everywhere, a room full of trophies in his house for his show trucks. All trucks painstakingly Cleaned every weekend. I should have seen the writing on the wall.

The walk is next to a pond hole that he dug last year, but hasn't the money to finish it. The night before we started I met with his wife and she wanted to make sure the water WILL NOT flow into the pond. No problem we'll pitch the walk accordingly.

Ok, we started the job in the afternoon and he wasn't home, he was on the road in NJ. We put the gravel base in and had 1/2 the flagstone set.

He calls me up that evening from the road telling me "my family measured the elevation and it's gonna take 2 steps, I don't effin want 2 steps, it should only be 1 effin step". (he always talks like that)

He also says "I want the effin flagstone butted up to one another, I do not want effin joint gaps". (we had 1/4" to maybe 3/8" joints")

So we go the next day to finish. We pitch the walk so it has one step, not two.

Friday evening I get a call. Boy, did I get an earfull! All with every swear word imagionable!

He hates the pitch of the walk! LOL We pitched it like that because he was insistant that we only do 1 steps, not the 2 steps that we were planning to do!!!!

He insists that the surface of the flagstone is not even with one another. I'd venture to say that they are within 1/8" of an inch of one another. See, we ended up butting the flagstone to one another as he wanted. Had we spaced the stone with 1/4" joints - you would not notice the elevation differences. No 2 pieces of stone were the same thickness. My guys set forth alotta effort to get the stone as level with one another as possible. Alotta tapping with a mallot and alotta throwin more dust under the stone.

He told me "I'm tearin it up and "effin re-doing it myself".

During his phone call, I didnt get a word in. I just listened. Between swear words he didnt give me a chance to say anything! He never asked for us to come back and try to make it to his liking.

We were on track to do the job perfect. He had a fit about 2 steps instead of 1. He had a fit about the 1/4" joints. So we changed things to try to make him happy. Boy, that went real well, the one time we do something to client specs and it blows up in my face. Never again.

No real point in this thread. Just needed to vent! He was furious, looks like I'm gonna have to find someone else to haul our gravel.......


06-28-2010, 02:48 AM
I understand 100%. We did pavers (450 sqft) bbq grill, fire pit and a whole bunch of other landscaping for a vendor of mine. When we spoke, he was cool as a fan, "simple job, just want color and need to make the wife happy." Well it was simple and we got it done fast, but the wife was no where near happy. Same as you, I heard every curse word you can think of. I do not buy from him anymore and I now have a rule, refer out when it comes to people I do business with. He expected so many things that we never talked about and didnt have the sack to tell his wife. I did everything to make him happy but just didnt work out. He called the other day and said, "Havent seen or heard from you in a while, hope you havent started buying from someone else." I returned his call and told him that I did and we should part as friends. He wasnt too happy. Now he calls and says he wants to talk about the job I did for him, over 6 months ago! And wants to know what Im gonna do to take care of any problems. Buy from someone else and he will get the point that you as well werent to happy.

06-28-2010, 03:43 AM
We live and we learn...A mortar mud base between the flagstone and the stone base will help w/ those pita, irregular thick slabs. Works just like setting tile, just tap on it or work it side to side gently, to get the perfect height adjustment.

Funny, that story reminds me of a job I once did for a relative...never again.

06-28-2010, 09:26 AM
Well, if he does not like it, just go pull it out and salvage all your materials. Rake out the ground and throw down some grass seed. Have it gone when he gets home. Give him his money back.
I did that one time. Kind of a similar situation. Nasty mouth customer hated a small walkway job. said he was going to rip it all out. I decided to call his bluff so to speak. While he was out of town on business, went by and pulled it all up, cleaned up pathway area, and layed in sod. It was only a little job, and took me and my helpers about 3 hours to take it all out. Also had a check for a full refund in the mail to him the same day.
He was furious when he got home. I said, " That is what you told me you wanted, you said you wanted it gone it was so bad". Then I turned my back and walked away as he stood there cursing.
I actually enjoyed that, although it did cost me some money.

06-28-2010, 08:46 PM
post some pics.

06-28-2010, 09:37 PM
if you pay him to haUL for you then hes out the money. sounds like a huge pain in the ass to me! good luck with him, we have all had some customers like that

06-28-2010, 11:08 PM
I think we have all learned the hard way at some time that working for family/friends typically does not work out in the end. The funny thing is that you DVS changed the specs on the walkway from what you knew was correct to satisfy a homeowner. How many times have you told people on here that they absolutly can not do this and that hey have to educate the homeowner on the "correct" method of installation even when it comes to asthetics. Shame on you.

DVS Hardscaper
06-29-2010, 07:51 AM
lol koo, there are no pictures and i'm not goin back to take pictures!

The client also says he was a stone mason for "10 years". The job was already started and there was no talking him out of doing it his way. He told me the 1st night he called me "....you can't tell me anything about stone, I was a mason for 10 years...."


07-02-2010, 01:49 PM
The client also says he was a stone mason for "10 years". The job was already started and there was no talking him out of doing it his way. He told me the 1st night he called me "....you can't tell me anything about stone, I was a mason for 10 years...."


Yeah, I know it's after the fact but if it is "so easy" & he allegedly was "a stonemason for 10 years" why wouldn't he do it his a**Hole self????

07-02-2010, 03:20 PM
I have customers who owe me money, and you dont hear a word from them. After they have caught up on what they owe you, boy does the complaining start up again. I always take it in stride because I know they will soon fall behind again. I just had a customer send me a check for $20k, the next day she wanted to talk about some issues. Its all so funny.

07-02-2010, 10:39 PM
lol koo, there are no pictures and i'm not goin back to take pictures!

The client also says he was a stone mason for "10 years". The job was already started and there was no talking him out of doing it his way. He told me the 1st night he called me "....you can't tell me anything about stone, I was a mason for 10 years...."


Sounds like you had the ultimate combination for a nightmare customer.
I love it when they all of a sudden become professional masons and yet they don't know the first bit of terminology that goes along with it.

DVS Hardscaper
07-02-2010, 10:43 PM
yeah - seems all our customers either worked as "landscapers" in college.....or they have an uncle out in Washington state that's a Stone mason...........


Junior M
07-02-2010, 10:54 PM
Havent done a job like that, but I am a subcontractor for a pool company.

well I get a job to go change the sand in a filter, and put a new pump on.

Well I do that and the pool company installed a liner and it wasnt ready yet so I couldnt start the equipment see if it leaked, so I left.

Well they started the equipment, it was leaking so I went back, cut off the leaking valve, and made it better by installing 2 valves.

I get a call that afternoon from the customer saying his pumps burnt up, no water is coming through. I said "well sir, it ran just fine a few hours ago. Whats it doing?"

He said, "The trash inside is moving around, and theres no splashing of water and the valves wont open!"

I said, "Sir, thats what its suppose to do. Thats as close to perfect and it can be without jesus himself doing it. And the valves handles should be straight up and down when they are open."

He continued to argue saying, "Well my friend owns a pool company, and he says its burnt up and you installed the valves backward" I kinda chuckled and I told him, "the liner guys will be out to balance the pool later, I'll have them call you when they are on there way"

So they did, and got ahold of the wife, and she said, "The pools flowing fine, but the pumps burnt up" I laughed! They got the wife and the husband at the pump, turned it off, pulled the lid off and water shot out. They said the husbands face went from all hardass to some beat looking dog. :laugh:

He hasnt called me since. :laugh:

07-03-2010, 07:40 PM
Didn't read it all, hope you got your $ out of it to cover you or go reclaim the stone while he's gone. Then let him go effin redo it and go effin buy the stone and then do a effin horrible job and realize how effin stupid he is.

DVS Hardscaper
07-03-2010, 08:26 PM
yep - paid in full! I got a deposit that covered the materials, and his wife paid the balance the day we finished.

He has 10 acres, house sits off the road and I Can't really go on the property to see if he's redid it because he has 3 teenage kids, so there's always someone there.

It's a shame, until this we hit it off great.