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shovelracer
06-09-2011, 07:12 PM
So sort of as the title reads. Have any of you called out another company or told a homeowner if you saw something really wrong going on? We have a small development of ten we maintenance in. Full service work, 800K homes, currently accounts for about 35k a year. At one point we had every house, but with people moving and losing jobs, etc we are about half that now. We still are friendly with almost everyone though.

The neighbor of a client, is a former client, and friends with many of my other clients as well. We still wave and chat from time to time. I see the back all ripped up like whoever was operating the mini ex had no clue, some brand new tools out, and a relatively small pile of stone dust on a tarp. All the signs of a homeowner job. So I go over and ask if they need some advice on how to make it better, since her son hardscaped with me about 5 years ago for a summer, I figured he was trying it out. I was told they hired a company, one of those signs you see on the side of the road. Hardscaping & Landscaping Free Estimates.

So I briefly mention that I was concerned about what was going to unfold, and that she should pay attention to what they are doing. She said they are offering a 30 year warranty so she wasn't worried. I asked what good that does if they are not around in 2 years to fix it. So we walked over to the pile of dust and I started explaining why it was not looking like she hired an experienced person. We then looked over the excavation which was loose fill of depths ranging from 3" to 7" and not even 3' wide at the walkway to hold the 3' path they where about to create. She then told me that they didn't show up today because it was too hot. We laughed about that. This area is in the shade at least half the day.

So I drew up a little cheat sheet for her, and told her to reference the techo manual she had for a guide as to what should happen at the least. I left it at, I am not really interested in the work, but if they need any advice I would be happy to talk.

I have near zero chance of getting any work out of them, those days ended a few years ago with a price disagreement. I would also not normally not waste my time with this if the contractor appeared half way competent. I do however believe in a higher standard of work, and that a bunch of people in our area should be hung for the garbage they sell. It ruins the industry, well to an extent.

Was I out of line? I did this one other time, and the contractor actually was telling people he was looking for me after the client ended the job on him. What he did complete fell apart after 1 winter. Oh and I'm right here, he could have consulted with anyone of a few sources and gotten my number, email, website, and home address, but I never saw him again. I would have said what I said to the client right to his face as well.

DVS Hardscaper
06-09-2011, 07:39 PM
Tough call!

They took the WHOLE day OFF???? Holy cow! Must be nice! Ya know, at least here where we are, it was HOT, but there WAS a nice breeze, that really made the day more bearable. We cut out at 3:30, I wanted to get to the gym before they got crowded.


But if she did not seem aggitated with you, you probably did actually do some good natured pointers.

Hey, I'm passionate about my knowledge and experience. And I hate to see peple waste their money. If the people were already outside I probably would have found a freindly way to approach them.

I had a lady call today. She says (in her lady on the phone voice, you know how they talk when they initially call, in a high pitched voice!) "next week we're moving into our new house that was just built and we want a patio"

I very politely and very professionally told her to wait 1 to 2 years before they have a patio put in, and I told her 2 years would be better.

She very politely said "the other contractors said they would do this and that...."

I very politely said "they are full of you know what, we at the end of a recession and patio contractors will tell you anything you want to hear to make a sale".

I then spent about 8 minutes going over the logistics as to why they need to wait.

And hopefully, when the other contractors do their follow up calls - I hope this lady tells them that I told her they were trying to pull the wool over her eyes.




And dont mind my typos and mispellings, I'm rushing.



,

PROCUT1
06-09-2011, 09:33 PM
Nice thought. But drive by in a month and there will be a patio there.
Posted via Mobile Device

shovelracer
06-09-2011, 09:51 PM
I am there at least 1 day every week of the year. Like I said I do not expect anything out of it. Actually even if they came to me I wouldn't be able to help them till August. Sort of long to wait for a 300ft2 patio. Sad part is it just poured for several hours all over the loose excavation. Had they showed up today they could have worked dry ground. This of course assumes they know anything about moisture contents. Yes, you are right, the next time I show up it will be done. All I can hope is that they drive the guy to do a better job than he started. Look I realize that out of several quotes for some reason they chose him. Since I no longer maintenance them it really is of no concern to me. What is a concern to me is that these people have guests over all the time. If the job is bad they will tell everyone how their pavers are an issue, not that they went with the lowest price, or did not check references. Then when these guests, my customers and potential clients are in need of a similar service they will not hold any value to a proper installation because they assume all paver jobs have similar issues. This is damaging to the industry.

zedosix
06-09-2011, 11:51 PM
I think you should of said nothing other than " you get what you pay for" Anything other than that isn't fair. Everyone starts from the bottom of the ladder and there will always be customers willing to spend very little to get very little. Let them figure it out on their own. It pisses me off just as much as it does you but thats life.

JoeyDipetro
06-10-2011, 12:11 AM
Sounds like your heart is in the right place, but that and a quarter will get you a gumball from a gumball machine at the local grocery store. Folks will waste your time all day long. You said you had a prior pricing issue, and with folks like that that is usually when you have the issue, when it comes to money. No hesitation wasting your time and soaking up your information, but ask them for a dollar and lookout!

It's not worth the wasted time and honestly, I applaud your desire to improve the industry, but your wasted time did nothing to improve this industry.

DVS Hardscaper
06-10-2011, 12:34 AM
Many folks deserve to be taken for a ride.

I'm sure all my fans recall my story I shared here a few months ago about the guy with the new house that acted like I was a total jerk for telling him to wait 1-2 years before building the patio.

I really HOPE that he did have that patio built. When that mountain of steps settle - he'll have nightmares with images of me!

,

JoeyDipetro
06-10-2011, 12:43 AM
Many folks deserve to be taken for a ride.

I'm sure all my fans recall my story I shared here a few months ago about the guy with the new house that acted like I was a total jerk for telling him to wait 1-2 years before building the patio.

I really HOPE that he did have that patio built. When that mountain of steps settle - he'll have nightmares with images of me!

,

What happens in that 1-2 years that changes the way you construct the patio?

scagrider22
06-10-2011, 01:24 AM
What happens in that 1-2 years that changes the way you construct the patio?

LOL.The back fill around the house settles and everything built on top goes with it.

Will P.C.
06-10-2011, 01:56 AM
I think in this situation it was okay since you already working on a neighbors house and were friendly with them. Also, you claimed to have no desire to get the job so I can assume you weren't pushing her for a sale. However, I would have avoided due to them having a problem with my pricing. It sounds like they were trying to get by cheap calling some random sign on the corner of an intersection. Anyone advertising like this usually isn't going to be too good.

If you come from out of nowhere and randomly knock on someones door where you see some equipment and start telling them whats wrong, they will ask you to leave ASAP.

White Gardens
06-10-2011, 02:33 AM
I think you did the right thing for all the reasons you mentioned.

If you didn't know the people though, that might be a different story.

I give credit to contractors who do good work, and I'll point out the mistakes of the ones that did bad work.

I will not go out of my way though to diss individual contractors or any of their products and services unless I'm called to fix the problems they have created.

shovelracer
06-10-2011, 07:30 AM
but your wasted time did nothing to improve this industry.

It did however allow me to get in the shade for a few minutes, and take a peek at what was actually going on. So improved industry, maybe not, wasted time, definitely not.

DVS Hardscaper
06-10-2011, 11:22 AM
It did however allow me to get in the shade for a few minutes, and take a peek at what was actually going on. So improved industry, maybe not, wasted time, definitely not.


LOL - that's the spirit!

Replying To posts for the sake of hearing yourself talk, could also be considered non-beneficial, for those thy are concerned about such.....



.
Posted via Mobile Device

JoeyDipetro
06-10-2011, 11:11 PM
LOL.The back fill around the house settles and everything built on top goes with it.

My question was directed towards DVS, but thank you for taking the time to respond.

I think you misunderstood the question though. I asked what happens in that 1-2 year period that changes the way you construct the project. I realize the area settles, but are you going to tell me that after one or two years you feel confident extending a warranty using standard construction simply because a year or two has passed? You are assuming all major settlement has occurred in that period of time, which is probably not a wise assumption.

I think some guys hear that 1-2 year period of time is best and regurgitate it to their customers without giving it much thought.

JoeyDipetro
06-10-2011, 11:13 PM
It did however allow me to get in the shade for a few minutes, and take a peek at what was actually going on. So improved industry, maybe not, wasted time, definitely not.

Fair enough.

bigviclbi
06-11-2011, 08:54 AM
So basically you gave away free advice and time to an ex customer that previously wasn't willing to pay for it. You are like the Robin Hood of hardscaping, must be nice to have the free time. I understand your desire to "improve" the industry, yet you just gave your expertise away for free. I wouldn't have done that, unless it was friend or family. I also would be royally pissed if i was the other contractor, if you really wanted to help and are always in the neighborhood you should have walked over to the job when the crew was working and explained to them, not Sally homeowner who probably doesn't understand half of what you told her anyway. Now if the contractor scoffs at you, oh well you tried. But maybe its a young kid starting out and you could have helped him(or her). You are obviously a professional in the way you work from your posts here, but I think you kind of stepped over the line here. What happens if she calls you over to "inspect" the finished job? IDK, just musing before another 12 hour day!!

DVS Hardscaper
06-11-2011, 09:21 AM
My question was directed towards DVS, but thank you for taking the time to respond.

I think you misunderstood the question though. I asked what happens in that 1-2 year period that changes the way you construct the project. I realize the area settles, but are you going to tell me that after one or two years you feel confident extending a warranty using standard construction simply because a year or two has passed? You are assuming all major settlement has occurred in that period of time, which is probably not a wise assumption.

I think some guys hear that 1-2 year period of time is best and regurgitate it to their customers without giving it much thought.


Again, you're assuming things, JD. And again, I'm not writing a 30 page manual here.

Short and sweet posts.

To obtain a response to your concerns/comments - the best thing to do would be to do a search on my user name using key words 'backfill', 'settlement', stuff lilke that. I'm certain you will find at LEAST 2 posts, maybe even threads where myself and others have gone over this in detail.

Thanks,
Have a great weekend.

DVS Hardscaper
06-11-2011, 09:34 AM
So basically you gave away free advice and time to an ex customer that previously wasn't willing to pay for it. You are like the Robin Hood of hardscaping, must be nice to have the free time. I understand your desire to "improve" the industry, yet you just gave your expertise away for free. I wouldn't have done that, unless it was friend or family. I also would be royally pissed if i was the other contractor, if you really wanted to help and are always in the neighborhood you should have walked over to the job when the crew was working and explained to them, not Sally homeowner who probably doesn't understand half of what you told her anyway. Now if the contractor scoffs at you, oh well you tried. But maybe its a young kid starting out and you could have helped him(or her). You are obviously a professional in the way you work from your posts here, but I think you kind of stepped over the line here. What happens if she calls you over to "inspect" the finished job? IDK, just musing before another 12 hour day!!



We're not attorneys, so "giving away free advice" is what service businesses do. It's a part of being community oriented.

I will say this topic is mistitled. It's hard to say the homeowner was "taken advantage of". When you take advantage of a customer - you're doing so intentionally. I know of many instances where contractors simply do not know better, and had all good intentions. Just they got theirselves into something they had no business doing.

Also, none of us we're there to truely hear the tone of the conversation, and to feel the energy of the conversation.

Many times people like to one up, in round bout sort of ways. Could have been that Shovel was really, deep down inside implying "hey you idiot, you're getting a hack job and you'll regret it". I remember years ago when I bought some land. I go there and there's an old man walking around my property. I'm like "what the....". He comes over to me and in a friendly manner he introduces himself as the owner of the vacant adjoining property, and then in a friendly manner he starts telling me what I can and can't do with my property, like he's trying to help. So in other words, he came over being nosey, not realizing I was coming there, and what I was doing bothered him that he couldn't resist the urge to set me straight. (which went in one ear and out the other)

We have a client in an upscale golf course neighborhood. He'a an electrical engineer for a HUGE, international construction company. In other words - he has a hefty salary and has money. I've known this client since 2000. He and his wife appreciate a nice landscape and home. Yet.......THEY ALWAYS SEEK THE LOWEST PRICE!!!! AND HE'S EVEN BEEN BURNED, BURNED GOOD! AND HE STILL LOOKS FOR CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!


,

JoeyDipetro
06-12-2011, 12:29 AM
Again, you're assuming things, JD. And again, I'm not writing a 30 page manual here.

Short and sweet posts.

To obtain a response to your concerns/comments - the best thing to do would be to do a search on my user name using key words 'backfill', 'settlement', stuff lilke that. I'm certain you will find at LEAST 2 posts, maybe even threads where myself and others have gone over this in detail.

Thanks,
Have a great weekend.

I did a search and found no explanation. I'm here to learn, so I ask. Can you tell me what happens in that 1-2 year period of time that makes you feel secure installing a project according to standard installation methods?

I realize settlement occurs, but 1-2 years for the majority of settlement? Seems like too short a period of time to me.

4 seasons lawn&land
06-12-2011, 10:50 AM
Tough call!

They took the WHOLE day OFF???? Holy cow! Must be nice! Ya know, at least here where we are, it was HOT, but there WAS a nice breeze, that really made the day more bearable. We cut out at 3:30, I wanted to get to the gym before they got crowded.


But if she did not seem aggitated with you, you probably did actually do some good natured pointers.

Hey, I'm passionate about my knowledge and experience. And I hate to see peple waste their money. If the people were already outside I probably would have found a freindly way to approach them.

I had a lady call today. She says (in her lady on the phone voice, you know how they talk when they initially call, in a high pitched voice!) "next week we're moving into our new house that was just built and we want a patio"

I very politely and very professionally told her to wait 1 to 2 years before they have a patio put in, and I told her 2 years would be better.

She very politely said "the other contractors said they would do this and that...."

I very politely said "they are full of you know what, we at the end of a recession and patio contractors will tell you anything you want to hear to make a sale".

I then spent about 8 minutes going over the logistics as to why they need to wait.

And hopefully, when the other contractors do their follow up calls - I hope this lady tells them that I told her they were trying to pull the wool over her eyes.




And dont mind my typos and mispellings, I'm rushing.



,




hahaha Lady on the phone voice thats funny

DVS Hardscaper
06-12-2011, 12:49 PM
I did a search and found no explanation. I'm here to learn, so I ask. Can you tell me what happens in that 1-2 year period of time that makes you feel secure installing a project according to standard installation methods?

I realize settlement occurs, but 1-2 years for the majority of settlement? Seems like too short a period of time to me.


Joseph,

I try to avoid typing out stuff that's already available here on this forum, I'm not going to engage in the subject you're probing at, because this topic has certainly been discussed a few times with myself participating. And I may have even initiated at least one thread on this very topic. Upon successful execution of your search you'll discover that I shared my thoughts about time periods, and you'll be deeelighted that I was helpful enough to qualify those thoughts with first hand experiences.

If this is a subject you truly want to engage in, then why not click on my user name and find the button that says "find all posts". Or can can use the search feature and search by thread.

The threads are still open, the class would love to hear your prospective. We encourage you to put in your 2 cents and bring them back to life.




,

JoeyDipetro
06-12-2011, 11:22 PM
Joseph,

I try to avoid typing out stuff that's already available here on this forum, I'm not going to engage in the subject you're probing at, because this topic has certainly been discussed a few times with myself participating. And I may have even initiated at least one thread on this very topic. Upon successful execution of your search you'll discover that I shared my thoughts about time periods, and you'll be deeelighted that I was helpful enough to qualify those thoughts with first hand experiences.

If this is a subject you truly want to engage in, then why not click on my user name and find the button that says "find all posts". Or can can use the search feature and search by thread.

The threads are still open, the class would love to hear your prospective. We encourage you to put in your 2 cents and bring them back to life.




,

I've searched the topic many times and can't find a thread in which you explain why waiting a year or two is sufficient for proceeding with standard base prep. As far as I can see, there is no thread. If you happen to know the title of the thread or can help me, please do so. I'm done looking.

Otherwise, you could simply explain in this thread. I'm sure others are curious. I do not agree that simply waiting one to two years is enough and then it's ok to proceed with standard base prep.

Moneypit
06-12-2011, 11:55 PM
I have done pavers on many new homes where the budget allowed for complete excavation to the footing with all new compactable fill. Durring excavation on two seperate projects, I found that most of the original backfill consisted of lumber waste, roots, stumps, and all other types of trash that got pushed into the overcut.
Moral of the story is you never know what your building on or how long it may take to settle unless the budget allows you to check and start over.

DVS Hardscaper
06-13-2011, 07:34 AM
I've searched the topic many times and can't find a thread in which you explain why waiting a year or two is sufficient for proceeding with standard base prep. As far as I can see, there is no thread. If you happen to know the title of the thread or can help me, please do so. I'm done looking.

Otherwise, you could simply explain in this thread. I'm sure others are curious. I do not agree that simply waiting one to two years is enough and then it's ok to proceed with standard base prep.


Please provide links to the threads you did find (and open a new topic, as this is not the subject of this thread).

My sincere apologies, that I'm not doing any legwork for you.

Key search words: overdig, compaction settlement.

Hope this helps.

,

JoeyDipetro
06-14-2011, 12:48 AM
Please provide links to the threads you did find (and open a new topic, as this is not the subject of this thread).

My sincere apologies, that I'm not doing any legwork for you.

Key search words: overdig, compaction settlement.

Hope this helps.

,

I'm not asking you to do legwork because the thread does not exist. There is not a single thread in the archives of this site in which you explain why waiting one to two years is sufficient for using standard installation methods. I'm not sure why you want to be so difficult, maybe that's just you being you.

However, I do understand why you instruct me to "do a search", as it's an easy way to avoid answering the question at hand and you seem to have a hard time admitting when you're wrong (from the threads I have read), so I will not ask you again.

Keep increasing your arrogance one member at a time.:)

shovelracer
06-16-2011, 06:34 PM
The update is like this. In the last week the 2 guys have moved a pile of QP by hand from the driveway to the spot about 50 feet away. They dumped and spread right over what was previously "excavated" if you can call it that. I had to go up and talk to them today just to see for myself what was happening. I introduced myself and asked a little about the what was happening. They where relatively nice, out of shape guys about 30yrs or so. Newports hanging out the mouth and shirts hanging on the truck mirrors. I asked if they had any geotextile fabric under the area, and one of them got defensive and told me there were no weeds under the base stone. I asked him if he was concerned about silty clay contamination or movement due to the expansive clay in the area. He assured me that he has been doing things this way for 7 years and he was not worried. The other chimed in that he was a big man over at a local hardscape company for 4 years. I asked him if he had any part of their flagship job over at another customers house, which is actually getting ripped out this month due to faulty masonry and stair footings and the customers wants changing. At that point they started to seem annoyed so I handed them some business cards, wished them well, and mentioned if they ever needed anything to call. As I was pulling away they were starting to compact the 700 or so sq ft of base in a single lift with a 10x10" hand tamp. Oh and not sure what this was all about but the area doubled in size from last week. I'm sure the client is very happy being as they are working not hard, but inefficient, doing everything and I mean everything by hand. I give up. I hope everyone is happy. I understand needing to start somewhere, we were all there once, but I'm personally disgusted.

DVS Hardscaper
06-16-2011, 08:38 PM
I'm not asking you to do legwork because the thread does not exist. There is not a single thread in the archives of this site in which you explain why waiting one to two years is sufficient for using standard installation methods. I'm not sure why you want to be so difficult, maybe that's just you being you.

However, I do understand why you instruct me to "do a search", as it's an easy way to avoid answering the question at hand and you seem to have a hard time admitting when you're wrong (from the threads I have read), so I will not ask you again.

Keep increasing your arrogance one member at a time.:)


JoeyDipetro,

I apologize for the delay. Maybe you're not aware, but this thread is about Shovelracer's former client using an alledged incompetent contractor to do work in their back yard.

If you need information about anything else, please, by all means, feel free to start a new thread, as I'm certain you'll get all the help/answers you need.

I'm sorry I can be of any help at this time.

Best of Luck

DVS

,

DVS Hardscaper
06-16-2011, 08:49 PM
The update is like this. In the last week the 2 guys have moved a pile of QP by hand from the driveway to the spot about 50 feet away. They dumped and spread right over what was previously "excavated" if you can call it that. I had to go up and talk to them today just to see for myself what was happening. I introduced myself and asked a little about the what was happening. They where relatively nice, out of shape guys about 30yrs or so. Newports hanging out the mouth and shirts hanging on the truck mirrors. I asked if they had any geotextile fabric under the area, and one of them got defensive and told me there were no weeds under the base stone. I asked him if he was concerned about silty clay contamination or movement due to the expansive clay in the area. He assured me that he has been doing things this way for 7 years and he was not worried. The other chimed in that he was a big man over at a local hardscape company for 4 years. I asked him if he had any part of their flagship job over at another customers house, which is actually getting ripped out this month due to faulty masonry and stair footings and the customers wants changing. At that point they started to seem annoyed so I handed them some business cards, wished them well, and mentioned if they ever needed anything to call. As I was pulling away they were starting to compact the 700 or so sq ft of base in a single lift with a 10x10" hand tamp. Oh and not sure what this was all about but the area doubled in size from last week. I'm sure the client is very happy being as they are working not hard, but inefficient, doing everything and I mean everything by hand. I give up. I hope everyone is happy. I understand needing to start somewhere, we were all there once, but I'm personally disgusted.



All that made me laugh! Especially the "out of shape" part! Say, if you ever go to something like a Techo Showcase or one of them EP Henry things - look around the room and you'll notice a majority of the attendees are on the obese side.

There is no needing to start somewhere. I hate when people say that. This isn't baseball where you start out playing tee-ball at the age of 6 and move up from there :) This is a profession where people in the community PAY us and trust us to do work for them :)

It would have been great if you just shot some pics of them workin with their cigs hangin out their mouths!

I've been sneaky with my camera lately. I've been sneakin pics of other contractors in action. I have one that I shot specifically for this forum, I was about 40 yards away, and there was no way I could take the pic without being obvious, so it's not a close up, one of these days I'll post it. The other day a girl was full blown doing her hair while driving - and I snapped a shot of that!

Can you imagine how hilarious it would have been if you quietly got some pics and posted them!

I have a former employee with about 14 yrs experience of building patios, if you were to send him out on his own to do a job and you stopped by 2 days later and checked up - you'd think he just started. This is why they're employees and not contractors.

,

shovelracer
06-16-2011, 09:44 PM
What I meant by starting somewhere is more about equipment and work speed, and not meant to pertain to quality. There is no excuse for that. Especially when today you can spend an hour online and get more information than you can digest on how to do the job. Add in that they claim experience only makes it worse. I'm not going to really destroy them about using a hand tamp or new tools, at least the truck had commercial plates. I just dont see them or anyone hitting the thing 81,000 times by hand to make it happen. 3 passes with a 600bpm jack will take 135 minutes. 135x600=81,000. Yes it would theoretically be possible to build a great job with a 10x10 hand tamp, but totally unrealistic. DVS where does that fit into your post from the other night about compactors?

DVS Hardscaper
06-16-2011, 10:30 PM
.........DVS where does that fit into your post from the other night about compactors?


HAHA! iT dOESN't!!!




,

JoeyDipetro
06-18-2011, 12:16 AM
Everybody does start somewhere and hopefully that somewhere is with a company that is passionate, cares about quality and does a good job teaching their employees. However, for some folks that doesn't happen and they start out experimenting on client's homes. I never really feel bad for those homeowners though.

I've had all kinds of work done on my home. I've paid for projects ranging from $500 to $50,000. You better believe I knew enough to check insurance, ask for referrals and for the higher dollar work, go out and take a look at potential contractors previously completed work.

It's not that difficult. It's like Carfax, checking credit, etc.....It's common sense. Most times though, those folks that get burned did not want to pay the going rate, rather they made a decision based on price and I really have no sympathy for those folks.