Berm work questioned

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by NNJLandman, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,306

    I have a customer who I did a bunch of berm work for and some other small bs. When I sent him my proposal it was for just bring in fill dirt and building the berms in several locations and a few other little odds n ends. So the proposal was $1120.00. He called and asked to add a layer of top soil to the berms, i called back and told him we dont usually do that, just build the berms out of fill dirt, rake the rocks out and thats that but we would gladly add topsoil to the berms for an addition charge. He called said the extra charge is fine go ahead with the work. Final bill was $1581.00. He calls today after me having to send him two bills and says that he called and said he wanted us to just build the berms out of fill dirt no topsoil....hes going to send a check for $1120.00, please call him about this matter as well as to go ahead with several other project on the property, which could amount to big work....So my question is...should I go after him for the money or should I just wait to do the other work and make my $461 up that way?

  2. stumpslawncare

    stumpslawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 153

    I would go after him for the money, other wise if you let it slide then you will do more work for him and he will attempt the same thing. If you do more work for him I would get a signed contract or work order and if he wants to add things to it I would do a separate work order for the add ons so you have a signature if he tries to back out again.
  3. bobw

    bobw LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 807

    Be wary of people trying to screw you by dangling other work in front of you. $461 is a bit of a price to pay to learn to always get change orders in writing, but we all pay a price for that lesson somewhere along the line.
  4. patpls

    patpls LawnSite Member
    from Mn
    Posts: 80

    NNJ get the balance is my opinion, do you hsave a receipt for the top soil? If you do send that to him to let him know the extra work was done and expenses incurred. No way I'd go back for any future work until some more was paid or you will be screwed again and next time who knows for how much?? I bet this is a pattern your customer does to all of his contractors that allow him too anyway, call some if you know of them you won't be alone I bet.
  5. Lawnmasters

    Lawnmasters LawnSite Member
    Posts: 180

    I have had a few customers like that hold the "carrot" out in front of you for other work, while holding back a payment. I used to go along with it but finally got fed up. No more. My contract says this price is for the work stated only, we will gladly do any and all work asked, but there will be charges for that work. This has stopped the "while your here, go ahead and do this, or that". Now they will say, I know it will cost extra, but can you do this for me. I like it much better this way.
  6. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    As my Dad would put it: "A bird in the bush is worth two in the hand"

    No future work is a promise. People often don't follow through, so I've learned. I now write up and get signatues for even the smallest thing if I do not "know" the person.
  7. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    This kind of thing is why Oregon's license board requires contract changes for any change of work.

    On measely stuff, many landscapers here might skip the change and risk loosing a few bucks: but measely means more like $50 or $100.

    Almost 99% of people I work for have email, so at minimum, I'll have them reply an email acceptance of changes until I can have them initial the contract sheet.

    I also have a monetary buffer in my contracts of about $200 in the fine print. I always point it out, but it's a $200 shock-absorber that grants me the permission to spend more in case a certain tree or something is not available and I have to jump up one size - stuff like that.

    Hope you get your cash. Try and work it out with them.
  8. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    you have that backwards....

    it is " a bird in the HAND is worth two in the bush"
  9. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    It depends what you mean by bird, I suppose.
  10. nc-native

    nc-native LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Never and I mean never start a job until you have a signed proposal. Cardinal rule #1. If you feel you know your client/contractor and want to "go ahead" with a verbal then you should be in Las Vegas shooting craps. Doing business without a signed proposal is like loaning someone money. You don't know for sure if you'll get it back. Clear this topsoil money up first before proceeding. This could be a sign of how he conducts business.

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