possible confrontation problem

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Isobel, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 548

    I'm landscaping a yard for an old time family friend. Fully legitimate business deal, went through an estimate, a contract, deposit, the whole nine yards. So my friend's neighbor that lives behind her is also a landscaper. She had asked him and myself to do an estimate for her. Her neighbor never did, but I did and got the job.

    I've started the project, cutting all the weeds down, put loam down. Everytime I'm over there, I'm almost guaranteed a call that evening. The call is something about how, "Her landscaper neighbor says you didn't do enough of this, or didn't do this properly, or need to do this, etc." And she always tells him that I know what I'm doing, ie: she backs me up, she has confidence in me.

    I've only run into the landscaper neighbor once, and it was just him staring at me shaking his head, but I feel like the next time he might start in with his "suggestions."

    I have neighbors of mine who don't use me to landscape their properties--which is fine--and I have never gone to my neighbors and begun questioning their landscaper's techiniques. I just feel that's unprofessional, and a bit immature too.

    How do I handle any potential confrontation that I might have with this guy? I obviously have to work there, so I can't just walk away.
  2. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,370

    Just find out where he is doing some of his work, go by and look identify the "issues" with his jobs, and next time he starts down that pat just give it right back to him about how he's not doing his job properly !! And oh yeah, unless he wants you to tell his clients about his installation problems, he should keep his thoughts to himself.
  3. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    It sounds like the customer knows what's up with this character.... so, just answer any questions they might have and ignore this bufoon-blow hard. Give him the cold shoulder if you ever run into him... ignore his dopey arse. Don't lower yourself and begin exchanging low blows. Turn your back on him.... there is no better passive aggressive way to torque off an idiot. he simply does not exist... and treat him like that.

    I've done projects for next door neighbors, but I don't want any for weekly maintenance. I want peace with my neighbors, and that would be an unecessary complication. I've even told them so... and they agree. I don't need any "you mowed YOUR lawn in the rain.... why not mine?"

    Planting installs, removals, mulch jobs, one time deals are fine... even a one time application for weeds.... but not weekly maintenance. BTW,,,, this customer should tell him to stfu. But, as it's the next door neighbor.... and that is my point.
  4. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 548

    Thanks Whitey, that's good advice :) Just ignoring him.

    I'm going to have a chat with the client this weekend, and taker her and her husband through exactly whats going on, so that they haven't any questions.
  5. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    Just tell them you feel he is attempting to undermine you, and you want no part of that kind of "no one wins" sort of exchange. Short and sweet. Then tell them if they ever have any questions, please ask... there is a reason why I do everything I do, and will be happy to respond to any questions you may have. Taking the high road seperates us from the idiots... and most customers will respect that.

    Tell them what and why you are doing what you are doing.... but again, keep it short and sweet. Tell them too much, and now they think they can debate with the bufoon.... and the bufoon will pick them apart with half truths and outright lies. That might only serve to fuel the fire. Telling them too much might make it look like you are in defensive mode.... and the best advice I can give is too do nothing to legitimize his BS. Ignore him. Answer any customer questions. Let your results speak for itself.
  6. Green Team Landscaping

    Green Team Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    Just say "Well everyone has their own opinions dont they." or something like "Im sorry, but who was hired for this job, and who's opinion counts?" Just "polite insults" almost.
  7. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,315

    I got in pretty big trouble with a neighbour (about 6 houses down) when he approached a client and started talking sh*t about my workmanship. The client fully backed me but this neighbour just has it in for me (one thing he hates is how loud my dmax is:dizzy:). One day I was walking with my younger sister and her friend's dog and this guy starts questioning my work and how a "punk 17 year old kid" thinks he knows what he's doing. At this point, I blew my top and filled him in until I was too tired to keep going. As you can imagine, it resulted in police and the whole bit. Moral of the story, just ignore it... I guess the guy is insecure about his quality and has to make sure your friend doesn't realise he's actually the chitty landscaper.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    I agree with the advice Whitey has given. I'll add a few things;

    First, it comes down to a matter of self-confidence. You gotta know that YOU know your business better than that neighbor does. If you're at all unsure about this or think maybe this other landscaper is a little more experienced than you, than maybe you really should listen to his tips. But if you know you know your stuff better than he does, then it's just a matter of proving it to your friend/customer. Once you've proven your knowledge and explained yourself a few times, your friend/customer will have gained confidence in the fact that you know what you are doing - and he'll quit listening to the neighbor/competitor.

    A conversation might go like this;

    Customer: "My neighbor was watching you prep. the soil today and he suggested that maybe you didn't amend the soil with enough planting compost. I just thought I'd check and see what you thought or maybe if you were planning on adding more???"

    You: "Well, he doesn't have the bigger picture in mind. I do. And sure, ideally it would be great to bring in 40 yards of perfect soil and rototill it all in to every open area of dirt you have on your property. Yes, that would be best. But that would also cost thousands of dollars more and I am keeping your budget in mind - he isn't. So to keep things affordable, I just ordered 10 yards of planting compost and I am just amending the soil in JUST the areas where we are doing the planting for this project. In doing that, I'm saving you thousands of dollars and the important areas where we are working on THIS YEAR are getting amended properly. I am tilling it in to 12" depth and when I am finished that whole back yard planting bed will be great soil to plant in."

    Customer: "Oh. Um.. Ok.. Makes sense. Just checking. "

    You do that a few times - he'll quit his "just checking".

    If this kind of crap is happening, it just means your friend/customer is starting to second-guess your experience or methods. Once you reassure him that you are doing things properly, that you know what you're doing, he will eventually quit bugging you.
  9. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

    I have a neighbor of one of my full maintenance customers that is a know it all as well.My customer sometimes says that Jack next door said it should be done this way or that way. I just tell her to look how great your property looks and then look at his ragged property. I GOT A KICK ONE DAY,I WAS TALKING TO HER AND JACK WAS TRIMMING HIS SHRUBS WITH A CHAINSAW.LOL
  10. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 548

    that's hi-larious! :laugh::laugh:

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