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yet another big jam

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by environment, May 15, 2004.

  1. environment

    environment LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    well, im back for advice on another bad situation
    im doing a job for a couple, very large job, biggest i have ever doen so i wasnt all that good at estimating it out, didnt give myself enough profit, but i figured what the hell, people see this job and it will bring me more work and so on

    anyway, the job is coming along slowly, however it is coming out fantastic,
    problem is the customer wants more guys working on the job, i priced it with the help i have, no one extra, and as i said wasnt making much to begin with, so to make them happy i ate it again, and i brought another guy, now those who know me already know this is my first season having my own business and those who dont now you know, so anyway, we get a jump and things are going quicker, and better, so we are building the wall and front steps and sidewalk, and i put in a few plants just to get a feel for the finished product, and i ran out of cash, couildnt figure out how that happened so fast, but i figured it was cause of the extra guy, then we run out of materials, now i really dont get it, so i ask for more cash, and they give me another 2500, so i go get more materials, , now i have run out again, i still need 1 pallet of caps for the wall, i pallet of pavers for the walk, more than half the plants, mulch, fill for behind the wall, and river rock, not to mention money to pay the crew

    basically i need another 3 grand, to finish,

    so i did some investigating, i met these people in january, and they wanted a design. i said to wait for spring so i could get the measurements, they pulled out there survey and insisted i use that so they wouldnt have to wait, and we could start first thing in the spring, so i based my design off the measurements on the survey, well, the survey was all wrong, some measurements were off by almost 25 feet, so there was my extra quantities

    i should have only needed 6 pallets for the wall, i ended up needing 8, just as an example

    now i know this is partially my fault because i should have had enough of a brain to measure the property out before i started, but i was cought up in the job and excited, still no excuse but the major problem is that they dont want to give me more money till the job is completed

    now the job went from 13000 to 16000 after all adjustments, they have already given me 10000, so im only walking out with 3000

    not to mention i had to borrow money just to cover payroll this week, and bounced a check on the last pallet i bought for them,

    am i completely at fault here, how should i handle this, i cant finish this job without the other 3000, and i want to finish it more than anything

    i need some advice
  2. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    I think both of you are at fault, they are because they wanted to rush and the survey was wrong and you for doing it the way you did. As long as it looks kick-a$$ hopefully they wont mind.
  3. MJM

    MJM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48

    All depends on how your cintract was worded. ( you do have a contract?)

    If you worded your contract in such a way that you were quoting on the measurements they gave you, then you are in the clear. Everything above those measurements is an add on and billable. However, if you did no such thing, sorry you need to chalk this up to an expensive learning experience.

    We had a sod job last week. We quoted x amount square feet. That was in our contract. Well we miss- measured. We needed more sod. They signed a change order and we were paid for the additional work.

  4. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    I can't belive that you screwed up and had the stones to charge your client for your mistake .... I guess they're not as smart as you are at measuring!
  5. gramps

    gramps LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    Hopefully you have learned that you can't hurry on some things. You should have taken more time to estimate the job originally. As it is you should figure out what you need exactly to finish the job, finish it, and git on with it. You don't every let your customer tell you how many men that you need to work for you. If you promised an impossible completion date well then learn from it.
  6. MJM

    MJM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 48


    I guess your missing my point here. My perception is that he did not have a contract. And if he did have a contract, it in all likelihood did not specifie the terms.

    When you have a customer ask for an estimate, what exactly does that mean???

    A estimate is an estimate of what the job will cost. Now they agree so.... you put that estimate into a contract with specifics. IE: how much sq footage you will perform said task.

    I was only trying to say that if he went off of the homeowners numbers and had put that in the contract, then he would be covered.

    BTW: Yes I do have alot of stones. I have no problem with going to the client with a change order slip for an additional 1/2 pallet of sod that was not in the cleary written contract. No deceit was intended here, the client knows. End of story!

  7. environment

    environment LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    well, they are paying me more money, I sat down with them sunday and we had a long discussion about the matter, we ended up compromising a bit and seeing eye to eye, when all is said and done, hopefully this week, i will walk out with about a grand, out of a $17,000 job i walk out with a grand, but i also walk out with a major lesson learned, and not to mention this job secured me alot more work in the neighborhood and beyond, so it was worth it, it was my foot in the door for bigger jobs, thanks for everyones input, always appreciated
  8. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,369

    Forgetting the above how the hell do you make a grand on a $17000 job. I'll bet it wasnt even a grand or even a dollar but geez. ...........getting more work.....what kinda of reference will they give...he kept upping the price until we had no choice but to pay him to get it finished?

    live and learn.
  9. environment

    environment LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    live and learn is key, however these people are exceptionally nice people and have already referred me to two other friends of theres for work, they are very happy with the final product and like me very much for some reason,
  10. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    I would have to second that. You may take offense to this, but hey. It's guys like you that like to work for free, and feel it was all worth it if you get another job out of it. YOUR KILLING THE MARKET! Not to mention yourself! How the hell can you survive on $1K? And I know thats way more than 1 days work. That's not how it works! A $17K job should be landing you AT LEAST $7K in YOUR pocket. It also sounds as if you are not a licensed contractor either.

    Your supposed to be the professional here. Luckily the customer was understanding and you were able to get more money out of them. What if they weren't so understanding? Seeing is believing my friend. ;)

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