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How to handle unforseen problems on a major landscape renovation job ?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by PACLandscape, May 11, 2004.

  1. PACLandscape

    PACLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3


    Need opinions on how to handle unforseen problems (ie digging up the yard and their are huge rocks under the surface or removal of a concrete base is much thicker that anticipated) - what do you do? It obviously adds cost to the job and sometimes getting the owner of the home on the phone immediately is not possible hence my guys are standing around and doing nothing and that is a waste of manpower time and money. What if they don't agree to the extra costs it will take to compensate for these unforseen problems? I can't eat these costs and it just seems to be a winless situation for the landscape company....any help would be really appreciated!

  2. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    Consider these options for the future: build a cost into your quote that covers unforseen items, and/or tell the home owner up front that there will be extra charges for unforseen items. As for your current situation, I think you can ask the owner to cover additional costs, but don't count on them agreeing to it. Unless they intentionally hid information from you, its not their fault that there are hidden rocks and foundations.
  3. north in south

    north in south LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    When digging, put a clause in the contract for unforseen problems. Give them an additional estimate on the problem. Most customers know you don't have a crystal ball.
  4. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    Our contract for our paving stone and retaining installation business is currently 8-pages long.

    We have a clause about concrete. The original quoted price is for removal and disposal of un-reenforced 4-inch thick concrete. I tell them this the first time I meet them. Then I say tell them..."each additional inch over the original 4 is .50 cents a sf. any reenforcement is .50 cents a sf additional. If they have rebar and wire mesh....boom add a buck a sf. Re-bar, wire mesh and 6-inches thick, add 2.00 a sf. I did this after loosing money on a concrete removal. Now I wonder why it took me so long to add that "clause' into my contract.

    We also state, "any excavation outside the normal scope for comparable projects is billed as time and materials to you....."

    Good luck.



    our web site
  5. geoscaper

    geoscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Had a situation similar to this very recently. Did a new install for a customer on a new house.($600,000) I needed extra sod, topsoil, and rock for garden walls. The customer refused to pay. He said I should have known that I needed the materials. Anybody in this industry knows that many times there are cost over runs. I bet you only 5% of people would refuse to pay these that I deal with. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do. I know that i'll never do work for them again. I'm thinking about adding a couple of percent on all jobs i quote anymore to alleviate problems like this. This guy was a real a hole. I hate that i have to deal with a few of these type people a year. It makes you skeptical of new customers. Sorry for being long winded, this incident ruined my whole day.
  6. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    We also tell them in the contract how many square feet they receiving for the price. We have an overage clause. If the job goes over the sf they paid for, then we re-measure and add the additional work in. We just finished a driveway, walkway and steps. LA plan said 2450 sf of pavers. We actually laid 2700 sf of pavers. And, the homeowner is being charged additional money.

    Most people don't expect things for free, but there will always be the exception:nono: :nono:



    our web site

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