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Old 11-11-2001, 08:35 PM
bobbygedd bobbygedd is offline
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commercial work

just did my first commercial job. the owner of the establishment had blue prints drawn up by an architect. the architect suggested that there be installed: 43 andora junipers, black plastic, 4 inches of mulch. plants must be 18 inches apart. i did not look at blue prints, rather, i spoke with the owner on what he wanted done. after speaking with him, i put in writing, 2 yds of topsoil, 43 andora compacta, 12 bags of pine bark mulch. i was not able to fit in the 43 andora at 18 inches apart, also i needed an extra yd of topsoil, and more mulch. i told the owner this would be extra, he said no way, i was supposed to do the job as per blue prints, i said no way, the blue prints are between him and whomever, i gave my price along with materials in writing. i cant fit the junipers in but still expect to be paid for them. his measurments are screwed up from the architect, he is refusing to pay, i plan to go(at night) and pick up my plants and abort the job. any opinions?
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Old 11-11-2001, 08:57 PM
kutnkru kutnkru is offline
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... i did not look at blue prints, rather, i spoke with the owner on what he wanted done. ...
I think that you should have stuck to the specs that were drawn up and an architectural scale for placement.

The client told the architect what they liked/disliked and then it was put on paper. Regardless of what you quoted for materials the client just knows what they have ordered and expect that with the exception of minor changes that you will comply with the specs.

... i was supposed to do the job as per blue prints, i said no way, the blue prints are between him and whomever, ...
In all actuality, the prints are between the client and whomever they hire to do the install. If you cannot comply with them it would seem to me as though you are in default because you havent followed what was written out.

In regards to the materials I would believe that if they arent going to pay you for them they are still your property and you can remove them for non-payment in the daylight. I would NOT recommend a scape-by removal as you will be prime suspect and could face criminal charges for theft of property.

Just my .02
Kris
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Old 11-11-2001, 10:20 PM
bobbygedd bobbygedd is offline
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as i stated, the customer and i had an agreement. he had blueprints, but they were not part of our agreement. after we got into the job, he started refering to HIS blueprints. the blueprints were never discussed prior to the estimate or start of job. he simply ordered the 43 plants, mulch, soil, etc, then after we started the job, he broke out the blueprints. to avoid the "he said, i said" bullcrap, i put it in writing, there is nothing in that writing concerning blueprints. as far as me going back after hours, this would be to avoid a physical conflict, as this guy is a bit on the violent side. not that i would mind pounding his head, but it would look bad on my resimay (spelling) that i beat up a 50 year old man. he also insists that I am responsible for watering the plants daily. he claims that any"real landscaper" does this as part of the job. seems i always get the loonies. and now kris, think about this and tell me what u really think, u stated that if the client didnt pay, these plants are still my property, if this is so, then i can take them day, or night, they r mine, right. thanks for yur opinion, i think i may just bend this time and do what he wants, and get paid. one other question: an estimate is an ESTIMATE, right? or, approximate, meaning subject to change....
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Old 11-11-2001, 10:47 PM
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Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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I'm not sure you were engaging in sound business practices just then. That architect plan was made for a reason, and I'm sure the person who hired you expected it to be done per the plan. Sounds like you spec'd pretty much the same stuff as the plan, so why wouldn't he think that? I'd bet that whomever built the building followed the arch specs to the 'T'. Then you have no liability if things don't go well, because you did it as the plans spec'd.

You said you disregarded the plans - since you decided to do your own thing, it should be expected that what YOU spec for a plan will work, and will fit. So if YOU spec'd too many plants, and now they don't fit, I'd think you'd eat it. Otherwise what are you going to do? Charge him for stuff he didn't get?

As for the legaleze of an 'estimate,' you'll have to look at your contract and see what language is there. If your contract says, in no uncertain terms 'we will do this', then you'd better do it.
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Old 11-12-2001, 12:05 AM
kutnkru kutnkru is offline
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as i stated, the customer and i had an agreement. he had blueprints, but they were not part of our agreement. ...
If you are the installer and the "designer" has spec'd something on paper than it would seem to me the thing to do is to review what the client has spent money to have drawn up and if it isnt going to fly then have the prints changed.

Just because a guy with a shingle over his door draws something up doesnt make it necessarily possible or probable in the field. Just ask any builder and they will tell you how many hundreds of blueprints they have thrown back at Architects because the practical application simply wasnt there. Looked great on paper - nothing more unfortunately.

There must have been something about the prints that made you scratch your head which means that the prints are not going to work regardless of application. To me this would throw up some red flags immediately.

If the client continues to insist that you follow the prints then I would have sent him a letter on company stationary stating that you are going thru with this according to the spec'd plans under duress and you will not be held accountable for the following reasons, and then state why the number of plants wont work, and other criteria that should be changed.

... but it would look bad on my resume that i beat up a 50 year old man. ...
Without a doubt it is in your best interests to avoid a physical confrontation with a client. There are more effective ways to getting the desired end result and still having a respectable reputation for being a sound business person.

Is it frustrating??? Yes. Is it aggrevating??? Even more so. Worth it??? I personally think not.

... he also insists that I am responsible for watering the plants daily. ...
If I bid a job I always submit a price for watering. If they are not willing to pay to have us water what we install there can be no guarantee by us for what we are not sure will or will not happen by someone elses watering schedule.

... if the client didnt pay, these plants are still my property, ...
If YOU purchased the materials they are yours. If HE purchased the materials they belong to HIM and he only owes you for the labor you quoted for installing them.

an estimate is an ESTIMATE, right? or, approximate, meaning subject to change....
This is not the case when you BID on a project. If you were discussing shearing I would agree. However, this is a site that had a spec'd drawing plan, and you gave them a price for the job according to the specs. At least thats what he will say in court.

Due to the fact that you did not price according to the plan it makes it tougher for you to stand ground because you have no paperwork to back yourself up against the spec'd drawings. He would then probably add that he thought you were going to water and all these extra items because nothing was thoroughly written out on your end to cover thine own arse.

I think that if you dont finish the job he will not only get out of paying you for whats been done thus far because you breeched the contract, but be able to re-coup some of his loses as well at your expense (ie. Lawyers fees and the like).

I think its best to finish the job as best you can, and chalk it up as a learning experience.

Kris
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Old 11-12-2001, 12:57 AM
bobbygedd bobbygedd is offline
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kris, u r right, and i will finish the job. however what strikes me as odd, is that no one seems to understand: I GAVE HIM, IN WRITING, WHAT I WILL DO, AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST. he hands me a deposit after reading it. my written estimate does NOT say, job will be done according to specs. simply, installation of 2 yds top soil, 43 andora compacta, 12 bags pine bark mulch, period! job WAS done to specs, the ones we agreed on, wich was my estimate. as far as watering, i give the customer watering instructions, wether they follow them or not, i dont give a crap. also, when client asks that i jam 43 andoras into an area that should hold only 25, i dont give a gurentee . once again, i should have covered all basis, some things though, i think go without having to specify every little detail.
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Old 11-12-2001, 01:47 AM
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Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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I think we do understand. Absent a plan/drawing that you created yourself, it would be reasonable to assume you intended to plant per the architect's plans.

If I look at your contract, does it say where the plants will be planted? On the roof? In the street? Probably not.

Does your paperwork say where the mulch will go? In his car? On the grass? Again, likely not.

According to what you've laid out here, you spec'd the same stuff that was spec'd in the architect's drawing. If that's the case, and you didn't provide a drawing different from the one the owner had from the architect (and then stated on your contract 'per bobbygedd design'), then it's a reasonable expectation for the owner to have you place the materials according to that drawing.

I'm sorry that you don't like the answers you're getting here. Hopefully this experience won't be too costly for you, and you'll have a better idea of what's needed to CYA in the future. Hopefully, the other thing you'll get from this experience is an enhanced ability to pick out the 'loonies' as you put it, before they sign up with you. I used to be wayyy to nice until I got stung bad once. But I learned all kinds of valuable lessons, and have walked away from many headache-inducing customers, because I'm better at spotting them now.
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Old 11-12-2001, 02:09 AM
bobbygedd bobbygedd is offline
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stone, u r so right. but, once again, i didnt specify wether the plants would go in his car, roof, etc., nor did i specify to do the job according to these specs that were kept from me, till i got far into the job. iii admit, i do have a very bad habit of doing work on a very casual basis, often with no contract at all, i am an idiot for doing business that way. guess i have to charge extra , and take the time to draw up detailed diagrams. and.... i do like the answeres i get here, they are the opinions of proffesionals, its just that i feel this aching pain, in my wallet. later. can anyone PLEASE answer my thread titled "scotch pine"
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