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Would you inform a homeowner if you saw them getting taken advantage of?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by shovelracer, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    So sort of as the title reads. Have any of you called out another company or told a homeowner if you saw something really wrong going on? We have a small development of ten we maintenance in. Full service work, 800K homes, currently accounts for about 35k a year. At one point we had every house, but with people moving and losing jobs, etc we are about half that now. We still are friendly with almost everyone though.

    The neighbor of a client, is a former client, and friends with many of my other clients as well. We still wave and chat from time to time. I see the back all ripped up like whoever was operating the mini ex had no clue, some brand new tools out, and a relatively small pile of stone dust on a tarp. All the signs of a homeowner job. So I go over and ask if they need some advice on how to make it better, since her son hardscaped with me about 5 years ago for a summer, I figured he was trying it out. I was told they hired a company, one of those signs you see on the side of the road. Hardscaping & Landscaping Free Estimates.

    So I briefly mention that I was concerned about what was going to unfold, and that she should pay attention to what they are doing. She said they are offering a 30 year warranty so she wasn't worried. I asked what good that does if they are not around in 2 years to fix it. So we walked over to the pile of dust and I started explaining why it was not looking like she hired an experienced person. We then looked over the excavation which was loose fill of depths ranging from 3" to 7" and not even 3' wide at the walkway to hold the 3' path they where about to create. She then told me that they didn't show up today because it was too hot. We laughed about that. This area is in the shade at least half the day.

    So I drew up a little cheat sheet for her, and told her to reference the techo manual she had for a guide as to what should happen at the least. I left it at, I am not really interested in the work, but if they need any advice I would be happy to talk.

    I have near zero chance of getting any work out of them, those days ended a few years ago with a price disagreement. I would also not normally not waste my time with this if the contractor appeared half way competent. I do however believe in a higher standard of work, and that a bunch of people in our area should be hung for the garbage they sell. It ruins the industry, well to an extent.

    Was I out of line? I did this one other time, and the contractor actually was telling people he was looking for me after the client ended the job on him. What he did complete fell apart after 1 winter. Oh and I'm right here, he could have consulted with anyone of a few sources and gotten my number, email, website, and home address, but I never saw him again. I would have said what I said to the client right to his face as well.
     
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,403

    Tough call!

    They took the WHOLE day OFF???? Holy cow! Must be nice! Ya know, at least here where we are, it was HOT, but there WAS a nice breeze, that really made the day more bearable. We cut out at 3:30, I wanted to get to the gym before they got crowded.


    But if she did not seem aggitated with you, you probably did actually do some good natured pointers.

    Hey, I'm passionate about my knowledge and experience. And I hate to see peple waste their money. If the people were already outside I probably would have found a freindly way to approach them.

    I had a lady call today. She says (in her lady on the phone voice, you know how they talk when they initially call, in a high pitched voice!) "next week we're moving into our new house that was just built and we want a patio"

    I very politely and very professionally told her to wait 1 to 2 years before they have a patio put in, and I told her 2 years would be better.

    She very politely said "the other contractors said they would do this and that...."

    I very politely said "they are full of you know what, we at the end of a recession and patio contractors will tell you anything you want to hear to make a sale".

    I then spent about 8 minutes going over the logistics as to why they need to wait.

    And hopefully, when the other contractors do their follow up calls - I hope this lady tells them that I told her they were trying to pull the wool over her eyes.




    And dont mind my typos and mispellings, I'm rushing.



    ,
     
  3. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    Nice thought. But drive by in a month and there will be a patio there.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    I am there at least 1 day every week of the year. Like I said I do not expect anything out of it. Actually even if they came to me I wouldn't be able to help them till August. Sort of long to wait for a 300ft2 patio. Sad part is it just poured for several hours all over the loose excavation. Had they showed up today they could have worked dry ground. This of course assumes they know anything about moisture contents. Yes, you are right, the next time I show up it will be done. All I can hope is that they drive the guy to do a better job than he started. Look I realize that out of several quotes for some reason they chose him. Since I no longer maintenance them it really is of no concern to me. What is a concern to me is that these people have guests over all the time. If the job is bad they will tell everyone how their pavers are an issue, not that they went with the lowest price, or did not check references. Then when these guests, my customers and potential clients are in need of a similar service they will not hold any value to a proper installation because they assume all paver jobs have similar issues. This is damaging to the industry.
     
  5. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,628

    I think you should of said nothing other than " you get what you pay for" Anything other than that isn't fair. Everyone starts from the bottom of the ladder and there will always be customers willing to spend very little to get very little. Let them figure it out on their own. It pisses me off just as much as it does you but thats life.
     
  6. JoeyDipetro

    JoeyDipetro LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Posts: 117

    Sounds like your heart is in the right place, but that and a quarter will get you a gumball from a gumball machine at the local grocery store. Folks will waste your time all day long. You said you had a prior pricing issue, and with folks like that that is usually when you have the issue, when it comes to money. No hesitation wasting your time and soaking up your information, but ask them for a dollar and lookout!

    It's not worth the wasted time and honestly, I applaud your desire to improve the industry, but your wasted time did nothing to improve this industry.
     
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,403

    Many folks deserve to be taken for a ride.

    I'm sure all my fans recall my story I shared here a few months ago about the guy with the new house that acted like I was a total jerk for telling him to wait 1-2 years before building the patio.

    I really HOPE that he did have that patio built. When that mountain of steps settle - he'll have nightmares with images of me!

    ,
     
  8. JoeyDipetro

    JoeyDipetro LawnSite Member
    from CA
    Posts: 117

    What happens in that 1-2 years that changes the way you construct the patio?
     
  9. scagrider22

    scagrider22 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,272

    LOL.The back fill around the house settles and everything built on top goes with it.
     
  10. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 966

    I think in this situation it was okay since you already working on a neighbors house and were friendly with them. Also, you claimed to have no desire to get the job so I can assume you weren't pushing her for a sale. However, I would have avoided due to them having a problem with my pricing. It sounds like they were trying to get by cheap calling some random sign on the corner of an intersection. Anyone advertising like this usually isn't going to be too good.

    If you come from out of nowhere and randomly knock on someones door where you see some equipment and start telling them whats wrong, they will ask you to leave ASAP.
     

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