What should I do?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by l3en007, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. l3en007

    l3en007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    I screwed up big time. My customer agreed on pavers if i could get it done by memorial day. Shes a good customer so I took her word for it(no contract signed-wish i did) It is a driveway. So we started preparing the job(for pavers) by excavating 18 inches and bringing in 8 inches of modified 2a. So the job is halfway done and customer calls me and says she wants 3/4 inch river rock instead of pavers. :dizzy: So I say ok, drop the price 3 grand and finish the remainder of the job. I brought in 8 inches of sandy fill and topped it with 2 inch of 3/4 river rock. I understand I shouldnt have used sandy fill and probally used recycled concrete. Heres my biggest problem. Customer has called and said the tenants that are renting are getting stuck every week. How should I fix this problem? Any suggestions? This whole job has been a nightmare from the start.
    id appreciate any input.
  2. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    How about adding more river rock to the top? 2" isn't very deep. We used about 4"-5" of 3/4" natural michigan stone over about 6" of sand for a driveway and its worked great.
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Wow. I never use river rock for anything other than ornamental or decorative purposes. Not good to walk on, much less drive on. I never would have considered using river rock for a driveway. But that could be a regional thing. Sounds like procut has done it with some success. I just know you'd never see that done in my area. We have lots of river rock here but nobody around here would ever consider using it for a driveway - for exactly the reasons you described; river rock does not compact well and moves when you walk or drive over it.

    I think this is a good opportunity to upsell your customer on the pavers. Tell her this is why you really wanted to do pavers in the first place. Explain to her that there will be some additional cost in removing the river rock but once the paver patio is in place she will have something she and her renters will be able to use forever. Plus, it will add to the value of the home and property. A paver driveway looks 300% better than a river rock driveway does.

    I've had situations like this where I did what the customer wanted, even though I didn't think it was a good idea. Then only to regret it later, like you do now. First thing to learn from that is; don't do that again. You are the professional - not them. You know what works and looks good - not them. Nowadays when someone tells me they want something done that I know won't look right or work right, I politely dissuade them from it. My customers can tell by the look on my face I am questioning what they are saying and then they often look at me and ask, "You don't look like you agree. Am I off-base in wanting this?" And that's when I jump in and give my advice, because now they've asked for it. I'll say, "I think if you could fast forward and see the end result, you'd understand why I don't like that idea. There are some big problems because of ...... But no big deal. I see what you're trying to accomplish. I think a better way to do it would be......" And 90% of the time, they say, "Great! I like that idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I think you're right. Let's go with that." Then the project turns out much better.

    Second thing to do is upsell them on doing it right. At this point you can go back and say something like, "You know. I always liked the paver idea. That would have turned out just awesome. But I went ahead with "your" idea for the river rock because you sounded pretty firm about doing it that way. Now that we've seen the results of that idea, I think we should really reconsider going back and installing the pavers. I know that creates an additional expense you probably didn't want to occur. But 5 years from now you won't remember the expense. You'll just be thinking of what an amazing driveway you have and how much nicer it makes your property look."
  4. l3en007

    l3en007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    for the input Jim. I really appreciate it . Selling them on the pavers now , is a great idea. Trust me, I will NEVER install river rock in a driveway ever again.

Share This Page