Mad Customer

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by prairie, Apr 22, 2002.

  1. prairie

    prairie LawnSite Member
    from kansas
    Posts: 115

    I have a client in a 1 million dollar home or more that I landscaped and put a sprinkler system in last fall. The client paid for the job. He was concerned about the way we had to put the sod in though.

    Story, house was built on a corner lot at the base of a housing devision. 3 large natural springs and everyone elses water drain off to deal with. Now the builder of the home didn't do a rough grade at all. We had to go in and add about 3-4 ft of topsoil. Now, The concrete wasn't in place for weeks and the clients wanted the sod put down now!! So that the soil wouldn't wash away. so we peices in the sod around where the drive and sidewalks were to be placed. Then we couldn't use a grader or bobcat by the driveway, because it would void the warrantee fro 2-3 weeks. So we wheelbarreled the dirt in and sod.

    Now he's pissed about the sod not being perfect along his drive and walks also some lumps around that have settled in , because of the natural springs. NOW the ******* wants to go to court because the sod isn't perfict. I let him know that it would work itself out after some time and that we would keep rolling the sod. But he thinks we didn't use the right equiptment,HA. HA, HA
    we couldn't because of the new cement.

    Now what in the world should I do????????????:blob2: :blob2: :blob2:
     
  2. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Fix the problem with the sod, don't just peice it in repair the job right. You've lost the clients respect already but you can repair some of your problems with future clients by being a bigger man than the homeowner.
     
  3. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    Sometimes when working with a customer, it's your job to give them bad news. This may include telling them that though they want it done 'now', it can't be done until you can get equipment in to do grading work, and it won't get done until the slabs are poured. This means some soil might wash away. They may not like to hear that, but it's your job to ensure a quality job. If they don't want to work with you because of that, walk. Otherwise, you'll end up in the spot you're in right now.

    If this guy has a million dollar home, you can bet he has a million dollar attorney, whose fees you don't want to have to reimburse should you lose in court. Suck it up and fix it is my advice.
     
  4. prairie

    prairie LawnSite Member
    from kansas
    Posts: 115

    The only bad thing is I've fixed it several times and it keeps settling. And he wont listen to me about it at all. I've already fixed the sod about 3 times and remulched his house and have about $4000 in outstanding bills for him that he wont pay until the sod is perfict. And no matter how long or what we do It'll never be perfict. He shouln't have ever built the house there in the first place, but I'm not going to tell him that.
     
  5. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    Having dealt with new concrete before, I would have rather broken a peice of walk, rather than have 3'-4' of dirt settling around his house.

    Dealing with water problems, springs and drainage since you where the last person on it, your responsible. You should have handled this before any work was started. Proper grading and or drainage structures should have been installed before you even layed a yard of sod or brought in dirt. Too many people feel that adding dirt to a job is all it takes to correct drainage.

    Learning when to walk away from jobs is an important part of being in business. Think of this as on the job training.
     
  6. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    Prairie,

    I'm going to respond here to the new thread you started on this same topic.

    What Paul and I have said is spot-on. You took on this job with the understanding that you knew what had to be done. If you've done all you are willing to do, then sit back and wait. He will likely hire to have it fixed the right way, then sue you for however many thousands that bill is above what he owes you (which sounds like many).

    What Paul said is true - recognizing when to walk away from trouble is an invaluable survival tool in biz. I imagine that in a few years you will find that this situation was a turning point for your business.

    Paul, I'm wondering if he should consult with an engineering firm to advise on a course of action.
     
  7. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    An Engineering firm and a soils expert should have been contacted before any work done. Do you have pictures and drawings of the work you installed? Very important that you have pictures of the work as it as done.

    I would contact a soils firm as soon as possible and have them survey the site, then take your findings to a civil engineering firm.
     
  8. prairie

    prairie LawnSite Member
    from kansas
    Posts: 115

    I let him know that I would keep rolling the sod every couple of weeks to let it settle and then spot it dirt in the fall and seed over it so the sink spots a level. Don't know if he will really go for it we'll see.

    I'll get the sil guy and civil engineer out to take a look at it and support my endless efforts. For I have bent over backwards too many times to make him happy, this is the last time I go with
    "THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT" he pushed it too quick and we had to do some of the work backwards. And I let him know upfront that this isn't the way it's done right. And he wanted to do it his way, not my way.
     
  9. prairie

    prairie LawnSite Member
    from kansas
    Posts: 115

    If he does decide to sue me it's kind of FUNNY, he's also suing the concrete guy's already for their job they did. So I might have a stronger leg to stand on since he's suing them and probably me too.

    What do you all think?
     
  10. prairie

    prairie LawnSite Member
    from kansas
    Posts: 115

    If this interests you we have and are still trying to fix the problems, so we are trying the best we can to fix the sod.

    Now to get really intersting Landscaping is what I have as a part-time job or I guess full-time also. with 6 employees full-time everyday. Now I also am a Broker and this client is my Boss so here is where the plot thickens!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

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