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Would you do an install for this guy?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    One of my mowing customers just had a new pool installed. He wants me to do the irrigation work in the back and design and install a landscape.

    Anyway, this customer had a new 8' fence installed by a fence contractor around his new pool last week. It was finished today and I thought they did a pretty nice job. I did notice while I was taking measurements for a new landscape install that the long section of fence was a little wobbly, but I don't know if that's normal for a long section of tall fence or not.

    Anyway, the guy called me today. He had a question about the new irrigation system we'll be installing. He mentioned that he had the fence torn down today. He wasn't happy with the workmanship. A new fence contractor was coming out to build a new one. I couldn't believe it. This has law suite written all over it. The guy is middle class. He lives in my neighborhood. There's no way he can afford to pay for two fences. That poor fence contractor spent a lot of money on the first fence, sweat his azz off, paid a sub to carry off the old one and now he's getting stiffed (I would assume) because this guy has what I think might be unreasonable expectations.

    Anyway, I'm now having second thoughts on installing a landscape for this guy. I mean, to say that the first fence wasn't worth having and needed to be torn down doesn't sit well with me. It sure as hell looked a lot better than the old one. Maybe it needed some re-work or something. I'm no fence expert. But the Wal-mart effect on consumers of "I want my money back on this" shouldn't apply to something like new fence construction, should it?

    Would you install a landscape for this guy? If not, how would you bow out such that you keep the guy as a maintenance client?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Not sure how you'll get out of it,but no I wouldn't do it.Learned that second thoughts usually mean I don't need to do it.Those are red flags your seeing.Your instinct is usually right.Not always,but usually.
  3. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Depends on what your contract says to protect you. If he would sign mine I would do the job. And you really don't know if the fence was properly installed.

  4. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    "Trust your feelings Luke.Don't give in to the dark side Luke"
  5. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    Trust your contact Nick, not the other guys lol

  6. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    You make a helluva lot of assumptions about every person you encounter, don't you? If I were YOU, no I wouldn't take the job.

    IMPACT LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    I'd do it. Spell everything out in black and white in the contract, and then under promise and over deliver. You can't assume he's suing the other guy or whatever may be the case without knowing for sure.That's him, this is YOU... If you think right off the guy is going to be an unpleaseable PITA, then no, bow out of the situation..JMO
  8. Longstar

    Longstar LawnSite Member
    Posts: 62

    I have dealt with these type of people before. All you need to be concerned with is delivering what you say you are going to. Cover yourself in the contract for any "loose ends" that you feel may arise from your irrigation work and landscape install.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    I don't think you are giving me enough details to make an accurate decision. And I am not sure you know what to look for anyway. Maybe you don't know the difference between a well built fence and a poorly but. So to you, both a poorly built one AND one built correctly both look good. Not saying anything bad about you. I understand it's not your expertise. I couldn't tell the difference between a good siding or roofing job and a bad one either from just looking at it. But I know there IS a big difference. And someone who is skilled at it would be able to tell the difference.

    I mean, maybe this guy put the posts in further apart than they should have been. Maybe he didn't set the posts correctly or deep enough. Maybe the posts were also was off-level. Maybe he used a cheaper grade of wood or the wrong kind of wood than what they agreed on.

    You see, without know exactly what was promised, what was or was not delivered, it's hard to judge.

    Would it set off some red flags for me? Sure! There are definitely guys out there who are next to impossible to satisfy. And I always try to avoid people like that. On the other hand, maybe this guy isn't so hard to please as long as you just do what you promise to do. Maybe the fence contractor totally failed in that area. Without knowing, you can't judge the customer as being bad.

    If it were me, I would proceed with caution. I'd want to know more about the fence situation. I'd ask the owner what his big beef was with the contract. I'd ask why he felt that whatever was wrong couldn't just be fixed. I'd ask the name of the fencing contractor (you could just say, "Wow. What's the name of that company? I want to make sure to warn others about them if I ever run into them again!") But then I'd CALL the fencing contractor and get his side of the story and try to figure out who was telling the truth and if their stories gelled.

    Yah, I'd be a little cautious. You should investigate this guy a little more. But it may turn out that he's not that bad at all - he just wants people to do the job right and do what they said they'd do. Nothing wrong with that. I like working for those kind of people.
  10. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,468

    the power company pulled my fence up last year to access the lines behind my house I took pictures of there truck in my back yard. they did not have my permission the easement is on the houses behind mine. when they put it back up it was very wobbly so I knocked the whole thing down and called the power company they replaced it and I knocked it over again because they didnt cement the posts in, they said they werent going to fix it again and I told the superviser that I have pics of there truck illegally in my back yard, the next morning a fence company showed up and did it right.

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