View Full Version : Bid $600, Bill $1365???

04-15-2003, 12:24 AM
For the record I am a homeowner and would like some information. I recently received a bid for 10 yards of mulch to be blown in for a total of $60/yard or total of $600. I also had them plant a few Fountain Grass plants at $15 a pop (he planted 4 of these). We agreed to this and he did the job. I get the mail today and I get a bill for $1365. Instead of the 10 yards he said he installed 20 yards. I think this is ludicrous. I do understand it is difficult to bid mulch jobs and could see under/over estimating 1 or 2 yards, but 10 yards. Am I out of line for complaining?

04-15-2003, 12:30 AM
Did you sign a contract (proposal for work) stating the scope of work and the sum to be paid? I expect clients to sign a legal contract for the work to be done so there are no such misunderstandings later on. Without a legal contract---its an uneasy situation for everybody. Guess I would wonder why he didn't call when he saw what was happening. You should be able to verify the amount of mulch used by measuring the area and the depth of the new mulch.

04-15-2003, 04:05 AM
like lanelle said you can get the amount by measureing, if you will find the length, the width, and the depth we can figure it for you. also i would tell him that you agreed on a certain price, and that is all your gonna pay.. tell him (or her) that if they dont like it they can come get there mulch back... i bet they see it your way then..

04-15-2003, 08:32 AM
Has this person done work for you before? Has he been honest in the past dealings with you?
Estimating material and labor can be tricky sometimes. When I estimate things like this, I tell the customer that it is not a quote but a estimate. You can measure to get the base line numbers but to actually put out an even 3 inches is a different story.
However, he should have informed you that his estimate was off. The last thing he shopuld do is just bill you for the extra material without lettng you know before hand.
I think the ball is in your court. If I had done business with this person before and I trust him I would probally pay him. I had a job estimated once for 2 hours and ending up taking 8. I was there while the work was done and they could not have done anything different. I paid the bill that was 4 times higher than the estimate.
I think there is a difference between a estimate and a quote. If were talking its a estimate. If it's on paper, it's a quote, and we stand behind it, right or wrong.

04-15-2003, 09:48 AM
IF I may

We all have botched a few Quotes/ Estimates. Shot my first wall I put up I made $1.12 per hr. Thank goodness it was small. But I stuck to my price.

I can maybe see paying for the extra material, but the labor too NO WAY!

As it was stated you were given a price. That is what you should pay. If you offer to pay for the extra material (if it was used) I would be happy with that. Good gesture on your part

I can not believe that he would just bill you though. WOW!

I would talk to him

04-15-2003, 10:16 AM
I agree with lawnmutt, if he gave you a price without saying it could be more, you should hold him to it. Like you said, it's easy to be off 1 or 2 yards just by the way it is spread out, but off by twice as much is his mistake and he should eat it as a lesson learned. I have done this, sometimes the customer will offer to pay the extra material, but that is only a friendly gesture and I dont ask for it, and if it was a really bone headed mistake on my part, I wont accept the extra.

He's doing backhanded business practices, which is stupid in the long run because you probably wont have him back or refer him out.

Let us know how it turns out.


04-15-2003, 10:59 AM
10% difference is ok but 100% no way.
If I give a price, right or wrong I stick to it.
Plus I always have a contract. So I dont have any disputes.
If he is new to this then it is possible he made that big of a mistake. But the only way to make one that huge is to not prepare properly. If he didnt measure it then its all his fault. If he did measure then his math skills are alittle suspect.

04-15-2003, 08:19 PM
that's pure Bolshevik. Pay what you agreed to.

04-15-2003, 08:43 PM
Check Your Email.

04-15-2003, 11:53 PM
pay only what you agreed upon an not any more . if he is professional he should of bid it rite , sorry about his luck!!

04-16-2003, 01:21 AM
For the little its worth, I am on the Oregon Landscape Contractors Board which licenses landscape contractors and some tree services in Oregon.

We see all kinds of issues. In fact, several times a year, we have claims come before us where we vote to support or override a judges decision on issues.

The contract field is interesting to say the least.

First, Oregon requires contracts for installation, not maintenance. But we believe that a written contract or estimate is best.

A verbal contract is nice to adhere to if one existed.

As a contractor, I never raise a price without asking on maintenance work.

If it was installation - here - I could not legally do a change without writing it.

In general, if you really were given a price, I think the mulch guys should stick to the price.

What needs to be considered, is if verbally, the agreement was to cover the area at a certain depth at a certain price per yard. If someone missed a detail, that could cause a confusion that needs to be worked out.

But a job that big should never be done, legal requirement or not, without the description and price in writing.

Also, if it was underestimated, they will not lose all the difference should it go that route, because the materials will not total the difference.

In addition, consider what you needed, and what you got. What I'm saying is, if they covered an area, and you were absolutely going to, or needed to, cover it, what was it worth?

You may get a quote from another company for the same square footage at the same depth, or the same number of cubic yards. If the price of the guy that did it is in the ball park, and you received a benefit of value, maybe you could give in slightly.

But I can understand where someone gets slammed with an extra dollar total that they never could afford, and would have held off on for a while if they knew the details.

God Almighty! Mulch must be high there. We have logging in Oregon. Bark mulch here goes for $100 per UNIT - slightly over 7 cubic yards, which covers 1100 square feet @ 2 inches deep. Its about $200 per unit to have it blown on, and about $180 per unit if several units are blown on one location.

But if you go for a second over the phone quote - which should be no problem:

1 cubic yard of bark or mulch covers about 150 square feet at 2" deep.

Hope you get it worked out.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon - www.mdvaden.com

04-16-2003, 01:28 AM
This is a "PS" post to the original poster, and has nothing to do with bark.

I don't know where you are at in relation to Bloomington, but if you are close, or know someone in that area that ever needs good arborist / tree service / pruning - call Fowler Tree Service owned by Douglas C. Fowler of Bloomington.

He is a great businessman, courteous, experienced, and a real joy to do business with.

He was in Oregon, and had been in Indiana for over 8 years.