Appears Someone is about to get sued

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,622

    I received this e-mail this afternoon.

    Folks, this is what I have been preaching and preaching and preaching.

    I really believe many think they can TRY to install a hardscape. And when a client questions or complains about something - they have excuses set in their mind that they have theirselves convinced to believe.


    I really like the workmanship shown on your website.

    Are you ICPI certified? If not, that's okay. It appears you have a lot of experience and this is why I am asking for your professional assistance.

    Will you please provide a written, objective report showing your analysis and opinion based on what you see on my existing patio? This is fairly simple and straighforward. The report needs to show slope and drainage measurement results; that is, how much it drops per foot, whether the stairs are symmetrical, methods used, if the border is missing the gravel and sand base, and your opinion of the workmanship.

    I will make myself available for whatever appointment time and day works best for you.

    The report is needed within 15 days, but can go longer if needed. I will pay $350 for the report; and if the case goes to trial, then will pay $50 per hour for your attendance and testimony as the expert witness and 45 cents per mile for your mileage.

    Please let me know.

    Thank you very much!

    Senders name was removed
    Senders Addres was removed
    Hagerstown, MD 21742 (20 mins from Frederick)
    xxx-xxx-xxx (cell)

  2. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    What are you going to do? I would have a hard time doing that to an enemy even.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    did she send any pictures? Let see them if she did. Keep us posted on how this goes. Are you going to do the report?
  4. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,738

    I would wonder why they e-mailed you with all of that info. Do they know you or did they just look at your website? If they chose you just based on your website, they are foolish. Nothing against your website but anybody can hire someone to build one that looks good but that doesn't mean the owner knows squat. I would be very leary and most likely turn down their offer for assistance.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,622

    No pictures have been provided.

    And if we proceed, I will not be posting any pictures or my findings until after the case goes to court and after the 30 days to appeal has passed. I have been through this in the past - successfully.

    I have 106 photos on our website, with 13 more pictures being loaded this week, of jobs that we did. The entire purpose of loading the site with pictures is to show a prospective client our competency, professionalism, and most importantly knowledge. Believe me, our pictures speak for theirselves and truely perform as intended. A thorough, educated, consumer that does their homework, see's what we're about in our photos, they provide me with such feedback either when they initially call or when we meet face to face.

    But this isn't about my marketing tactics.

    Nor is this about ME.

    This is about bonehead people that don't know what they're doing.

    Look at the man's wording. No where in this initial communication has the man written or insinuated anything to sway my opinion(s). That tells me this man is a fair minded individual that simply wants a job he paid to have done - done correctly as he was expecting.

    This is real life. I see this crap go in first hand in my market. And I see this take place on internet forums. Whoever did the work must really believe they done the man a good job, otherwise they'd fix it. I'm flattered the individual has contacted me, yet on the other hand this makes my blood boil. Incompetency is one thing. Yet, not setting forth the time and effort to re-do and/or make corrections is even worse.

    Also, this is where the industry is headin. We'll see more and more of this. Remember my post from the other day comparing wages of a few recent years ago to wages paid today. Paying guys $10 - $14 / hour today, well, you get what you pay for, and you'll have unhappy clients. Mark my words - in the upcoming next 18-24 months - we'll be hearing more of these stories from other competent, knowledgeable lawnsite members.

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2010
  6. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    amen brother....I would tell him you want 50 cents a mile too. Lowballers drive for 45 cents a mile.
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,622

    This is where one's passion and dedication for professionalism kicks in.

    I do not know who installed the patio (yet). But, and I have always said this, and deep in the archives of this forum you'll find these remarks from me - I have no respect for incompentent or unethical contractors.

    It's one thing to make a mistake, we all do that. It's another to not step up to the plate and take responsibility.

  8. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    I would likely take them up on it if it was a total hack job. If the customer went lowballing than I likely would not. Nothing good usually come from calling someone out. I had a guy threaten me earlier this year because he was hacking up a good customers walkway and I called him out. In the end he lost the job, the customer got screwed, and I got to loose sleep. I got no work out of it, and now there is another A hole running around talking about me.

    I have seriously been considering getting my home inspection license though. I enjoy picking shoddy work apart, and it could be a good retirement gig.
  9. steve5966

    steve5966 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 210

    I would think long and hard about being in court for things like this. The e-mailer doesn't care if your ICPI certified, that itself is a problem. I guess that you are, but that alone doesn't make you an expert. Experience helps, but a lawyer will pick you apart. There are a lot of things about building that are standard, but many are unique to the installer. A quick example, DVS, I looked at a pic of yours where you used fabric between base and sand. Personally, I don't use it and don't see a good reason to. You use it and think your reasoning for it is solid. Both of us have opinions and neither is right or wrong.
    There are things that most of us can check, like slope. I believe ICPI recommends 2%, but that is a recommendation, not set in stone. Symetrical steps? Isn't that a matter of preference? If the treads are different sizes, I think that is a legitement problem.

    My first question would be, Would the homeowner have hired me over the contractor they did hire? You can't pay for a Chevy and expect the build quality of a Bently. Homeowners need to take responsability for their choices.
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,622

    I've been through this before, testifying as an expert witness against another contractor. Yep, gotta love an attorney that tries to trip up the blockhead contractor, only to have the contractor sit at the stand as calm as can be without the heart skipping a beat :)

    As far as a "homeowner taking responsibility", I dunno that is such a reasonable and fair expectation. I have a client that is some doctor specializing in research of cells, with numerous books written and published. This guy is so smart about medicine, but he has no clue of the tricks that can be pulled over on him by a hardscape contractor. He knows he and his wife want a nice patio and he knows he has $17k to spend on it.

    Business is about trust, jus like a personal romance. When you meet a woman, do you ask her to show the results of a current STD test before unzippin?

    Some homeowners bring it all on theirselves.

    And there are contractors that are snakes in the grass......................

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