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GainesvilleLawnscaping
05-25-2011, 10:24 PM
So, having an interesting situation here. Just installed 7 pallets of Bitter Blue for a customer yesterday. Wife oversaw the whole project and signed the invoice afterward that she accepted the work done. Said she'd have the husband send a check the next day.

So I get a call today from the husband (turned into about 15 calls) saying that he found a few individual crab grass out of the entire front lawn. I apologized and said my guys must have missed them, said I'd get with the sod farm to get a few extra pieces and would swap them out.

He agrees, but then calls the sod farm and asks the owner to come take a look at it. Sod farm owner shows up and the wife immediately starts attacking him verbally and screaming at him about the fact that his sod had a few pieces of crab grass in it. He apologized and said he was there to help and would exchange them no problem at all, to make her happy. She starts cursing him out, so he leaves.

Now, the husband calls me over and over again after 9pm and keeps leaving messages threatening to sue us if we don't replace every single piece of grass in his front yard tomorrow morning. Said there's no way his wife even raised her voice to the sod farm owner, etc etc. I had it all worked out with the sod farm owner to exchange the few pieces that showed the crab, but now he wants the entire yard replaced, which isn't going to happen.

I have tons of pictures showing the before (practically all dirt) and after (nicely done sod job) pictures of his lawn and have the wife's signature saying that she accepted the work done before we left for the day. I really don't think there's any way this is going to avoid lawyers, which is crazy. I have never once dealt with a customer that was this far out of control. What would you guys do?

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
05-25-2011, 10:31 PM
Well you could just run out there and swap the squares out yourself. And make everyone happy. I know that's hard to do in a situation like this but its probably your best bet. Just appoligize and make him happy.


I doubt he would go that far to involve lawyers over this.
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GainesvilleLawnscaping
05-25-2011, 10:33 PM
I've offered that and was planning on doing it tomorrow... but he said if we don't replace EVERY piece of grass in the yard (not just the few with crab), that he isn't paying us a dollar of what we are owed.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
05-25-2011, 11:09 PM
I would take him to court. Over 1500 dollar job and its a criminal case. Email me and ill give you some payment demand letters that u might find usefull. Mention collection agencies and theft of services to him.
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Georgia Lawn Works LLC
05-25-2011, 11:26 PM
Id also go arrange a meeting and sit down and talk with him. Asking you to replace sod when there is nothing wrong with it is rediculas. Are you in gainsville ga? Cs@georgialawnworks.com


I kind of busy right now. Ill check back with you tomorrow
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abrightday
05-26-2011, 08:00 AM
When I did sod jobs in the past,, I would always require 50% up front,, then at least I would have my material costs.,, Since she signed off on the deal you can slap a lien on their house.
www.YourLandscapePro.com

Ric
05-26-2011, 09:58 AM
Gainesville

I have been reading but on the fence as to what to do, so I didn't reply. It appears things are way out of hand and might never be resolved. These things never have a winner, only two losers.

One Solution might be to offer to pay for a Pest Control company to spot spray the crab grass. That is SOP for sod companies in my area, most do it themselves illegal.

Ric
05-26-2011, 10:13 AM
Still thinking about this.

Over the years I have walked, no run away from customers who I had a funny feeling about. I am sure I lost some good work because of it. But I have avoided situations like this.

Educating the customer is the best way to sell yourself and your job. If a customer is fully aware of what to expect you should have no problem. Problem is not a problem if you are prepared for it.


My point here is sometimes we make our own problems by OVER SELLING the job.

Keith
05-26-2011, 01:27 PM
I sat there last night and read this two or three times, and just didn't have any good advice to offer. I don't know what I would do about it. I only have observations.

Like Ric, I turn down jobs when something doesn't seem quite right. Even then, a few will slip past. You kind of get a vibe from a person. And right or wrong, I go with the feeling. But, I've gotten bad sod before, and it has become more frequent. Stuff that had to have weeds pulled out of it, whole pieces just thrown out, and most recently I had to discard a pallet and a half of a four pallet job. And I think that's why I find myself usually turning away sod jobs that are more than 3 pallets. I don't even sub them out anymore. I don't know what I am getting, or if the farm will even back it up. I just give them the names of several sod installers and turn down any profit that might have been there. Sod has turned into a bit of a crapshoot.

If you replace it, it's likely coming from the same place. You better make sure, go over that thing with a fine-tooth comb that there is nothing in it but Bitter Blue. But also realize that now that they have seen it, any crabgrass that pops through, from now until the end of time, is going to be "some that you brought in," in their eyes. From where I sit, if it had a few pieces of crabgrass-laden sod, I think replacing those is suffient. Now if it was infested, like a 50 pieces or more had to be replaced, I'd pull all of it in a heartbeat, and eat it if I had to. I would definitely question the quality at that point. I'd find a new source for sod, and lay down the law to my employees about what to do when they start finding weeds.

Now if what you said is entirely accurate, this is what I think is going on. The threat of suit was to keep you from ever pursuing collections. They have no intention of paying you. And I don't think they ever did. If you do nothing, that sod will still be there a year from now. They won't do a thing about it. It won't be replaced, and they will have just walked away with a free sod job. If you replace it, they are going to find something wrong with it too. What about those chinch bugs you brought in? I would seriously be looking at county records to see if they had a history of this before I took another step.

GainesvilleLawnscaping
05-26-2011, 03:13 PM
I spoke with the sod company this morning and he was prepared to replace every piece of sod that had crab in it. Customer said he wasn't interested unless every piece of grass period, whether or not it had crab in it was replaced. He said he's having another company come out, rip out all 7 pallets we installed, and install new grass. He demanded his money back and of course I said no way. I have pictures of the property before and after, a contract to install 7 pallets of sod signed by his wife. I'm filing a small claims suit next week for the 50% he owes us and the sod farm is going to come to the hearing to back us. I have all communications in writing to him that we were willing to replace the infected pieces.

I too have run away from clients in the past that I thought would be issues, but I never got that feeling from him in the beginning. He's a local Dr. and thinks he knows everything about everything.

Georgia Lawn Works LLC
05-26-2011, 03:41 PM
Good deal. Here its only 100 to file a case. Id send some payment demand letters and then the collection agency take over for about a month. If he's a doctor he probably has decent credit. He may just pay after the collection agency contacts him. You never know. It would be a lot easier that way then having to wait and go through the court process. Id like to see his face when the police knock on his door and serve him.
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gregory
05-26-2011, 05:28 PM
good luck... sounds like the guy is being a pain in the ass.. i myself see nothing wrong with what you offered him. sounds like he is a picky ass...

Ric
05-26-2011, 07:05 PM
I spoke with the sod company this morning and he was prepared to replace every piece of sod that had crab in it. Customer said he wasn't interested unless every piece of grass period, whether or not it had crab in it was replaced. He said he's having another company come out, rip out all 7 pallets we installed, and install new grass. He demanded his money back and of course I said no way. I have pictures of the property before and after, a contract to install 7 pallets of sod signed by his wife. I'm filing a small claims suit next week for the 50% he owes us and the sod farm is going to come to the hearing to back us. I have all communications in writing to him that we were willing to replace the infected pieces.

I too have run away from clients in the past that I thought would be issues, but I never got that feeling from him in the beginning. He's a local Dr. and thinks he knows everything about everything.

Dr. Retired PITA was my customer for 3 years when I first started out. I finally got to the point where I had enough customers and could cull Dr PITA. I waited until Dr. PITA had one of his normal BS issues and told him where the Sun doesn't shine and that he should go there. Dr PITA went to the neighborhood Country Club and started bad mouthing me. BEST ADVERTISEMENT AND WORD OF MOUTH I EVER HAD. Everyone knew Dr PITA and when he said he had me for 3 years and I quit him in a not so nice a way, it was like saying I was the Plant God. I was told it became the local Country Club joke.

mdlwn1
05-26-2011, 07:31 PM
Dr. Retired PITA was my customer for 3 years when I first started out. I finally got to the point where I had enough customers and could cull Dr PITA. I waited until Dr. PITA had one of his normal BS issues and told him where the Sun doesn't shine and that he should go there. Dr PITA went to the neighborhood Country Club and started bad mouthing me. BEST ADVERTISEMENT AND WORD OF MOUTH I EVER HAD. Everyone knew Dr PITA and when he said he had me for 3 years and I quit him in a not so nice a way, it was like saying I was the Plant God. I was told it became the local Country Club joke.

Yep...not that it helps the OP..but dik's are known by EVERYONE as a dik.

mdlwn1
05-26-2011, 07:34 PM
Not sure of the legalities..but I filed a lean on some pita that didn't pay....they couldn't refi or sell without paying me...lol

Patriot Services
05-26-2011, 07:38 PM
When I did sod jobs in the past,, I would always require 50% up front,, then at least I would have my material costs.,, Since she signed off on the deal you can slap a lien on their house.
www.YourLandscapePro.com

X1 . I always get a down payment as sod and plants are perishable, nonreturnable items. Balance is due at time of completion.
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gregory
05-26-2011, 07:55 PM
ric, i remeber last year or so you had me on a 3way call with one of your guys and you told him you couldnt help him any more and i could tell by the way he talked he was one of those pita guys...



i think its a lession learned for the op to get 50% down from now on. on new customers...

Keith
05-26-2011, 09:48 PM
At post 10, he did say he got 50% down. He has not been paid the balance.

GainesvilleLawnscaping
05-26-2011, 10:08 PM
correct. i got 50% which is why i'm not freaking out. i'll let small claims deal with it, but i have in writing that i offered to replace the infected pieces, he refused saying he wants the full yard. no where on my contract does it state that all sod will be weed free, etc. i think this should be open and shut for the judge. yard was junk, we laid 7 pallets of sod. yard looks better. pay the man.

Tri-City Outdoors
05-27-2011, 07:21 PM
1st off they owe you in full! 2nd offer treatments. The rip it back up is not plausible. Popper TLC would fix any problems. But the lack of TLC is what got you the job. Lately I have only see a few times sod TRULY 100% weed free. Good sod is becoming hard to find!

The simple fact remains sod is a NATURAL product which in most cases in not grown, harvested, transported or maintained by the installer!
Also it kind of sounds like they may not have the money. Seen the same type of thing happen before!

GainesvilleLawnscaping
06-10-2011, 03:43 PM
Just an update for everyone.

Customer called 2 spray companies out and both told him that he's being crazy and should just replace the 15 or so pieces. I called him and told him the following morning I was filing a lien on his home and submitting paperwork for a small claims case. He folded and told me to just replace the 15 pieces. Today we installed the pieces and we got paid in full. What a waste of everyone's time!

Patriot Services
06-10-2011, 03:53 PM
Great job sticking to your guns. Nice ending on a Friday afternoon.
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Florida Gardener
06-10-2011, 04:37 PM
Got em'!! What a bunch of freaks
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TheGoat
06-10-2011, 06:08 PM
Awesome!!! Now you should go burn his house down to teach him a lesson about being a ******bag

Patriot Services
06-10-2011, 06:16 PM
I'm hiring The Goat to be my new complaint department. Straight out of Goodfellas. You dont like the yard? Eff you, pay me or I'll burn your house down!:usflag:

Ric
06-10-2011, 06:50 PM
Gainesville

I am afraid this is a case where you didn't win but at least you didn't lose. You didn't win because of all the BS you had. You didn't lose because you did get paid. But it is not the type of thing you want to do again.


ric, i remeber last year or so you had me on a 3way call with one of your guys and you told him you couldnt help him any more and i could tell by the way he talked he was one of those pita guys...

i think its a lession learned for the op to get 50% down from now on. on new customers...

Karl

I remember that call very well. We were talking when he called and I put you on Hold to answer. When I realized who it was and how I plan to deal with it I put you on 3 way to listen in and get a few laughs. The Guy was from ******ia, but both he and his wife are Pharmacist and together make over a 1/4 million a year. A cheaper SOB you can not find any where. His main issue was he would run the irrigation because his water bill was a $ 100.00 a month. If you remember My main problem with him was he would follow my directions (run the irrigation).

Keith
06-10-2011, 10:14 PM
Awesome!!! Now you should go burn his house down to teach him a lesson about being a ******bag

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:



Glad it worked out, G'Ville. I'm sure it was a relief to get that check.

LoweJ82
06-11-2011, 01:30 AM
I would take him to court. Over 1500 dollar job and its a criminal case. Email me and ill give you some payment demand letters that u might find usefull. Mention collection agencies and theft of services to him.
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Did wife order work? she signed to confirm it was done and she would pay, the husband (3rd party gets involved and says no pay?) I called the local county sheriffs office and confirmed then called the wife and told her either her husband pays or I have her arrested for theft of service and since it was over $300 that it would be a felony! got my check that day, no one wants to explain to the guy next door that his wife was put in jail cause he didn't pay the sod guy.

GreenCloverlawnCare, LLC
06-16-2011, 12:11 AM
You are going about it correctly. You seem to have weighed your options and are exercising your right to take him to court. It sounds like your ducks are in a row legally. I say put a lean on his house and go the legal route. I wouldn't budge or bend for this guy.