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What would you do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DuckHunter, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. DuckHunter

    DuckHunter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 6
    Messages: 1

    New to the board as a member but have enjoyed reading and learning from all who contribute to this site.

    The situation I've run into is unique to me and I could use some imput.
    I am a certified pesticide applicator and operate a small 1 man operation. I do not undersell my services and take great pride in offering top notch service.

    I got a call last month from a guy who wanted me to quote fertilizer service for his yard for 2005. He had told me over the phone he had a room added to the back of the house and the contruction left his back yard "Bare Dirt", and asked if I did seeding. I said I would take a look at it. I do slit seeding and just the run of the mill overseeding but stay away from hardscape work.

    I left him a quote for Fertilizer treatments and a note saying he needed to have the yard tilled and graded before any seed was put down and suggested he call a landscape company.

    2 weeks go by and he calls in desperation for me to "Throw down Seed". I made a call to someone I know with a Kubota and tiller attachment. Together we priced $900.00 just to till and seed his back yard which is 5000 sq.ft.
    Another week passes when he makes the call to me to say "Do it". Of course it rains for 2 weeks before I can get to it. Now it is getting too late in the fall to seed and I feel like I'm against the wall. I take advantage of a 3 day rainless window and go to the property. It is covered with leaves, the yard is full of construction debris and I'm ready to go back home. His wife comes out and said they just want some grass to keep the mud and errosion to a minimum over winter. She seems nice and after giving her a conservative estimate on results because of the time of year and conditions of the site I commit to coming back in the spring and seeding any spots that do not grow in. I start to work. The ground is dry enough to till except for a small patch and when done he hand rake the whole yard, spread seed and cover with straw. Of course the wife is no where to be found when we are done and I leave an invoice on the door.

    Three days later, the homeowner calls and said that his "Lawn Guy" said the ground was too lumpy and it should have been dragged smooth before seeded. He had already raked up the straw and was going to let the "Lawn Guy" reseed it. Naturally, he felt that he should not have to pay my invoice if it needed to be redone but showed some "Compassion" and said he would pay a portion of it to cover expenses.

    3 weeks have gone by and no payment. I drove past the house today and someone had done extensive landscaping and put in a fence. Fresh straw was laid down suggesting to me this re-do was just completed.

    I seldom get unhappy customers and when I do, go out of my way to keep them happy but I feel that this joker didn't even give me a chance to make corrections. Also, he asked for just a "Seeding" if wanted the back nine at Augusta I would have begged off. Not to mention, I raked the whole yard, picked out broken concrete and messed up my best pair of workboots. $900.00 seems dirt cheap now.

    Should I demand full payment? Accept a partial payment, or just take my lumps?
  2. Gautreaux's LNG

    Gautreaux's LNG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 379

    Did he sign an agreement? or was the work verbal? In some states verbal contracts are held up in court in others they carry no weight?

    Bill he for what he agreed for, if no payment in 30days add finance fees and start collections process. You may be able to get a lawyer to send him a letter ($50-75) regarding placing a lein on the property. The letter may scare him into payment. This has worked for us in the past.

    Good Luck! I Hate customers like this!
  3. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    the pushovers on this board will tell you to bake him cookies and forget about the bill. i say if you did what you said you would do, for the agreed price, you get every freakin nickle of it, demand, harass, anything you have to do. i suggest immediate action. the longer you wait, the more of a fool you look like.
  4. mcclureandson

    mcclureandson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    He owes you the money, period. I might fault you for commencing work without a written agreement, which is especially important when you know you are doing something against your better judgement. I sometimes agree to what I consider 'sub-par' work, improper grading or drainage, beds, sod or plantings w/out irrigation etc... but in those cases I make it abundantly clear to the homeowner I am doing so under protest, what I recommend to fix any deficiencies etc...In these cases I stipulate in writing that there is no warranty of any kind and list the suggestions they rejected. Too many people fail to understand much of the real work in landscaping takes place behind the scenes. They think you can slap down sod, heap a pile of mulch with a few plants in it here or there and call it good. This guy was in too much of a hurry to think things through and was trying to save some money. You shouldn't have to pay for his ignorance and impatience.
  5. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    demand the full amount. You did the work, you should be paid for it, no matter if he didn't agree with your work
  6. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    I'd bake him some cookies

    Than get my payment in full ;-)
  7. ICE

    ICE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    HAHAHAHA, You are cracking me up, both of you!! You too BobbyG! :blob3:
  8. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    If you have a backhoe...knock him off and bury him...

    Just kidding of course

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