How Would You Answer This Question From Customer?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,835

    This is time sensitive because my client is just about to make a decision and sign a contract with me or the other company and I need to reply pretty quickly.....

    I have a customer who's done a pretty fair amount of work with us in the past. Recently we had given him a proposal for a pretty good size paver patio (Belgard Mega Arbel). He ended up getting a quote from another company for basically the same patio. But this other company has convinced him that they do base prep. better than their competitors. Instead of a base of compacted aggregate, they do it on a 4" base of concrete, reinforced with rebar.

    I told him that if he was really sold on that method and that company, I didn't want to get in the way. But if he was still open to discussing the option of having us install the paver patio, the way that the manufacturer recommends and the ICPI recommends (compact aggregate base) then I'd love to look over the proposal one more time and discuss our proposal more in detail with him.

    He said he is still open to discussing it with us, but wants to understand the advantages of doing the base our way vs. the other company's way. Here's exactly what he wrote to me:

    "Thanks Jim. I'm interested to better understand the advantages of the compact gravel base rather than the concrete foundation reinforced with rebar. We want to make sure the surface is sound and we don't ever experience the cracking that currently exists with our patio." (Their current patio is just exposed aggregate concrete with major cracks)

    Now I would normally just explain how compact aggregate, if done properly, is your most stable base. How the concrete, even with rebar, can still crack (especially in our climate) and that will probably lead to separation in the pavers above. But am I missing anything? What exactly would your reply be?
     
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,406

    Many contractors are venturing more and more into pouring slabs. Virtually guarantees no call backs.

    The purpose of unit pavers is they float with the heaving in the winter, where as concrete does not, hence their cracked exposed aggregate.

    The compacted aggregate base is the same method all highways and roads are built on. Whether asphalt or concrete - it's placed over compacted aggregate.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  3. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,759

    I also tell customers that a slab will trap water between the brick and the comcrete and lead to cracking brick since whatever seeps through the joint has nowhere to dissipate to
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    There are benefits to each. Really by doing the poured base they are defeating the purpose of a paver installation and it's ease to repair and ability to handle ground change. The poured method would be better than a poor base installation, but a proper base installation would be the best result for the dollar. The poured base is a waste of money that is not needed if the base installation is handled correctly. If they are going to go as far as to pour why not just go stamped at that point and get the most value?

    My official response would be that the pour is not needed when the base is installed properly, and by doing so is a waste of money. Sure it has benefits, but when the slab cracks or heaves the patio will be much more expensive to fix. We plan on installing to industry standards or beyond and we back it with our 5 year guarantee, but really if you ever have base issues please just let me know and I'll have it taken care of... Is the other company offering to jack hammer out and repour the concrete base if there is an issue down the road?
     
  5. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,007

    Shovel racers suggested reply:
    My official response would be that the pour is not needed when the base is installed properly, and by doing so is a waste of money. Sure it has benefits, but when the slab cracks or heaves the patio will be much more expensive to fix. We plan on installing to industry standards or beyond and we back it with our 5 year guarantee, but really if you ever have base issues please just let me know and I'll have it taken care of... Is the other company offering to jack hammer out and repour the concrete base if there is an issue down the road?[/QUOTE]

    I like shovel racer's suggested reply.
    I assume there is a large price difference in the two quotes. Since this is your customer, any reason why you dont want to quote it both ways. If you are not experienced in installing concrete slabs, get a sub to quote it, and you can let your customer choose the install method he wants
     
  6. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 487

    I assume there is a large price difference in the two quotes. Since this is your customer, any reason why you dont want to quote it both ways. If you are not experienced in installing concrete slabs, get a sub to quote it, and you can let your customer choose the install method he wants[/QUOTE]

    By doing/saying this, aren't you kinda like saying "they're right"?
    Just sounds to me like you're saying the other companies method is just as good as my way, and I really don't know what I'm doing.
    Jim, if your convinced, and I know you are, that doing it your way is the best way, then stick to it, win or lose.
    If you offer to put it on a slab, and you have someone else do the slab, or even if you do it yourself, you will always be wondering about it.
    Industry standard ICPI methods are what they are for a reason.
    I think there were some other good thoughts already suggested, i.e. drainage, etc.

    Just my $.002 worth.
     
  7. JJfishes

    JJfishes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I am wondering if they are pouring a slab then doing a sand base over the concrete. I have done overlays this way with no problems. Was a major savings over ripping out and redoing with aggregate base. The concrete we went over was in very good shape with minimal cracks and no heaving. I have never priced out a slab with sand base and wonder what the price difference would be. Seems like it could be a time saver, just wonder if it justifies the any cost difference. This would be the only way I would propose it in a frost environment.
     
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,835

    Thank you all very much! I just sent off my reply to the customer. With the help of your guys' points and wording, I was able to articulate what I was wanting to say to him much better. I think we now have a really good shot at getting this job, whereas a few days ago it looked like we were almost out of the running and he was just about the sign with the other company.

    I really appreciate the help, guys!
     
  9. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,069

    Jim let us know how this turns out. We all know the right way to do this, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if the customer feels a concrete base is the best way...

    All the suggestions are great. But I probably would have giggled and said, what would your patio look like now if pavers were Instaled on top of that?
     
  10. MatthewG

    MatthewG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 266

    Looking forward to their response
     

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