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Opinions Please

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by TPnTX, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    I got a quote from a sub to trim and cut down a bunch of trees on a fairly nice property. 2 days of work and I intern mark it up and sold the job.

    On the scheduled day the guy shows up with his climber and two helpers. I thought we were going to work but instead, his saw is broke, he has no gas and needs money to get started.

    Now I get money up front all the time but I don't show up emtpy handed asking for money because I'm broke.

    So my gut told me to decline which I did. He did say that he had other work he could do that would get him some cash and then he'd be able to do this job. So I told him no problem.

    After that he has stood me up several times. It's been over a month. I could just sub it out to someone else but I quoted the job off this guys price that compelled me to wait and give him another chance.

    So yesterday he shows up, two hours late. So my schedule is screw up completely. We go to the job site, he gives the workers, one is a climber supposedly, his instructions and then he leaves to get a new chain.

    He never comes back. The climbers doesn't know what he is doing, the helper had never used a chain saw.
    They begin to butcher the trees and the worker almost kills himself cutting down a tall oak tree.

    So what do I do? I stay the whole day. Telling these guys what to do and how to do it. They keep tellng me that Pedro doesn't pay well and they want to work for me. I tried to brush it off.

    I had to go and get the guys lunch. At 3pm he shows up ,with lunch, I didn't say anything because I wanted to see what he would do. I turn my back and he leaves and continues to not answer his phone.

    The agreement was to work until 6pm. So at 6pm he's not there. I didn't want the guys there so we pack up and I bring them back to my shop.

    He's calls at 6:45 wanting to know where we are.

    They are gone at 7:15 but before they leave he wants to get paid. I tell him he'll get paid tomorrow when they are finished.

    This morning he calls and his "climber" is sick.

    We have re-scheduled for monday.

    I told him that I am not so much pissed about today rather I'm pissed that I had to run the job yesterday. That he dropped off two guys with no experience or food.

    I have half a mind to pay his guys directly, i gave them my card, and give him 20.00 for gas.

    I'd rather pay those guys 10.00 and hour than to pay him money and then he only pays then 70.00 each for 8hours.

    if anyone cares to please advise becuase I have a bad habit of making rash decisions.
  2. mybowtie

    mybowtie LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 683

    WOW I would have drop him at the first hint of problems....Should have told the client what was going on, and let him know that they didnot want this hack on there property..Probally had no Ins either. I would take out what your time was worth for being his foreman for the day, and give him the balance...........:usflag:
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    You can't baby sit your subs, that's why you hire them in the first place, to do a job so you don't have to.

    Sure, pay the guys yourself instead of the owner. Just as long as you don't think it will come around and bite you in the butt in any way.

    Your doing the guy a favor by getting him work, he's not out getting it himself. If you feel the job wasn't done correctly, then don't pay him.

    Just be prepared to go to small claims court with plenty of ammo if the guy gets ticked off at you.
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Forgive me for having to make this point. The reason that you are entitled to mark up a sub is because it is work and a responsibility (with responsibility comes risk). It sounds like you did not know your sub and maybe took a low bidder.

    What is the difference between one of your customers hiring a low priced unknown and expecting good results and a contractor subbing work to the same and expecting good results?

    You are ultimately responsible for hiring the sub. That makes the whole mess your fault whether you want to believe it or not. The job got delayed a month because you did not hire a good sub and because you could not replace him at the same price. You had untrained guys on your customers property doing dangerous work that could result in property damage, personal injury, or death. Did your sub have proof of insurance? All of that is on you for not doing the proper work in order to responsibly hire a sub.

    You had your job delayed, probably pissed off your customer, and still don't have the job done. If you were the customer, would you fire the contractor (you)? My guess is that next time you hire a sub, you'll do what it takes to earn that mark up.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Thanks AGLA :)
  6. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    AGLA, you are stating the obvious. I am responsible and I am making sure the job gets done. I am insured.

    Once we arrived I watched carefully as the workers started. I immediately stepped in and took control and remained in control for the remainder of the day. Only for a very brief moment did anything including the customers property become compromised.

    I did look into this sub. I called a very trusted source who knows him and was told he's a good guy and does good work. Apparently a lot of people have used him. The only reason I excused repeated failed attempts is because of this referrence.

    I didn't't solicit the job, they came to me and wanted a solution to their situation. Coincidentally I did not approach some this guy at a labor station. He came on to my job, gave me a card and price per day on a 3 man crew with a climber.

    So while what you say is true, it is a little slanted without the both sides of the issue. The question isn't't who fault it is. You're looking at him so to speak.

    The question is at the beginning of this post. I am going to get the job finished. The customer can only be pleased with the price and the service at this point. The trees done right and look good.

    How we accomplished this was due to my direction and my 28ft ladder. I did not allow the "climber" to train himself with a harness on my dime. He used it to secure himself only. Again all under my direction.

    At this point I don't care how good the subs references are. You're only as good as your last performance and leaving me stuck with workers that required me to supervise and instruct is unacceptable. I could have put my own guys on the job which I will probably do.

    As far as earning my markup I didn't really ask for a lecture so if you got any advise on my choice of action please continue...
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Your course of action? Either have your guys finish the work or hire a good arborist. Don't pay the first guy any more than for the hours his guys worked. If it costs you more than what you quoted your customer, you'll have to eat it. There is not a lot of choice.

    Do you have an actual contract with Pedro? If so, what does your contract say about performance, payment, and termination? If you don't have a contract with him, give him a letter explaining that he did not perform and his help did not have the necessary training or supervision and then how much you are paying him to cover the guys that were there (keeping a copy for yourself).

    TP, you have to remember that not everything is directed at you. There are lots of guys who read this stuff and learn from it. Whether or not it matters to you about what you should have done or not, it matters to other guys who read this stuff. Sorry for pointing out the obvious, but it might help some other guy from making the same mistake.
  8. JNyz

    JNyz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    It sounds to me you went with the low bid. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
  9. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    AGLA, eh, are you referring to reply #3? that is you isn't it? :) forget about it.

    Very good points, it seems my thinking is consistence with others.

    the point you make about a letter to the sub is good. Speaking of the obvious, that should have been obvious to me so thanks for pointing it out.

    The only thing that bugs me now is I feel that if I only pay him an amount to cover the 2 guys , which would be significantly less his quote, He will not pay those their earned income.

    There is no written contract with the sub.

    I'm not trying to be a cheapass or take advantage of anyone. I worked my butt off that day. Which of course won't kill me but I do have other jobs going on.

    He hasn't done anything other than drop off a couple of guys for me to use and the use of some tools, most of which I have anyway not to mention my tools used.

    Then there is the issue of Lunch. What kind of person leaves two guys stranded at a job site with no food until 3pm.

    There is another 8 hours of work easy. If he shows tomorrow. I am going to give him a choice. Spend 8 hours with his crew finishing the job or hit the road.

    If he chooses the latter, I will ask for the names and contact info for the two guys that worked, if they aren't with him, give him 50.00 for his gas and use of tools and pay the guys myself. This along with letter explaining my actions.

  10. JNyz

    JNyz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    You used him as a sub. I am guessing without any refs. It sounds like the guy is a dirtbag but I don't see where it states he must be there all day. I am used as a sub about 30% of the year and I am not on the job 100% of the time. Sometimes it is just my foreman and two laborers. I would pay him for the work he completed and tell him since it was not done on time you are going in a different direction. I would assume his guys have been paid for the day. And since it did not work out between the two of you it still does not give you the right to approach his guys in anyway. I know you would not like any contractor approaching your men in any way.

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