Whats a multi level 4500sq ft patio cost you?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    What do you charge for one? Sorry for the rant, this all comes back of our first patio of this season that started the end of March 08, its the same one some of you may know we had to go back and rip the steps out because the landing was an inch and a half too low coming out the back door?

    Well all of that has been done, actually over a month ago now. Customers now complaining because of the "time we took for completion" and that the job is still not complete.

    The last remaining issue is his "core drilled railing". At the end of the quote for his patio, we added in about 1k for railing expense because they're a long time customer and i poorly judged the amount of manhours it was going to take us to core drill, and install his railing around the perimeter of this 22x20' patio.

    Since we've installed fence before, i "assumed" railing would be similar, and it was, but takes a ton longer to complete when all said and done. We ran into the first problem when my quotation outlined the estimated 1k in material expense, and then my company finally receives a call a week later from the fence company with the actual quotation for us of roughly 2k+ sales tax in NJ, ouch. So i discuss this change with the client, he wants to take a day or two to decide what he wants to do. He finds online a company in PA that sells fence. We go over my estimated supplies list, in detail and figure out we can cut off a post and a section of railing, to lower the price a little. I usually always figure one extra piece just in case something is mis-cut or damaged.

    So he calls them up, gets a cash price quotation for the supplies list and its darn near half of what my quotation was. Assuming this other place in PA just had exceptionally small markup since they even stated it was directly shipped and i could pick it up with cash, i honored to drive from NJ to their location, pick up all the supplies and bring it back to the jobsite, in compensation for my error on the 1k estimation of supplies.

    Low and behold, at the end of the job, we need an extra post, takes 2 weeks for this same company to have one shipped to us. We then find out the 2" square diameter posts cant be used for the landing and 3' worth of steps and the railing 6' section we have only racks 7" over a 6' span. We need it to rack 27" over a 3' span. Now we have extra supplies we cannot use or take back because theyre not local.

    I go back to the original company we deal with that had the 2k+ tax quote, the guy laughing, says well your quotation already had figured in the 2.5" posts and rackable railing you need for steps which costs more, $585 worth for two fence sections and 3 posts :( . I never saw the quotation after hearing the price and knowing the customer probably did not want to spend that much etc.

    Now the customer wants/expects us to fork out the extra $600 for the railing to finish the job, yet we charged him NO additional labor to install the railing in the patio quotation, because we were already near his theoretical limit of cost for the job, and only estimated 1k in supplies. None the less, we spent $200 MORE for the railing still that they have not paid for.

    The patio right off the bat, was extended off our original design by 2', or about 40sq ft worth which included the whole side 25" tall block wall made of Rinox Rio 90 block. We added two lights onto his pillars that tower above the patio, and because of his modification of moving the pillars half inside the 20x22' patio area and half exposed on the outer side, we used darn near two skids of block at $440~ each to prep and build up the wall for the support to then add the pillar kits on top, each kit comes on a skid for one 27x27x36" tall pillar.

    We also installed a Vinyl fence around his backyard perimeter with two gates, which he now claims bang into each other and arnt level/flush etc. 4 months later. The fence quotation was $7,900 ish, and cost $200 more for one more section of fence needed, only due to the fact that we extended his fence line in the rear yard one 8' section, we used up the "extra" panel on the other side of the yard. The customer paid half of the $7,900 deposit, and owes about $4,100 now. The fence cost for us was over $5,600 and has been done and completed for over 3 months, still not paid for.

    The customer owes us $3300 MORE than the original patio quotation and $200 more than the fence quotation. plus the 2nd half of the fence installation amount. The $3,300 more is a DIRECT price increase in supplies only, we charged him a straight labor fee from the beginning and have not changed it even to this date. If we don't get $1 of the $3,300 amount, we will have lost money on the supplies. They feel the $3,300 is not justified because they didnt want to spend any more than the original quote yet made changes afterwards. Again, this number could DOUBLE if i added in appropriate labor for these changes or additions.

    To make matters worse,

    One of his colleagues husbands is a landscaper and stated "He just installed a 4500 3 level patio in the back of a house for $10,000" So he feels our price of darn near double that is ripping him off, 3 months after the patio is installed. Thats what $2.22 per sq ft INSTALLED? Maybe they meant $100,000. We did a patio that was 1000sq ft, ONE level and was more than that.

    He had another landscape company come out and quote him for a patio, of the same size, for $12k. Three experienced hardscape guys have looked at the patio, 1 in person, and agree there is no way ANY company could do it for anywhere near 12k. Its honestly one of our less profitable hardscape jobs when all said and done and especially after costing about 17k, our markup % is squat at best, thank god for the fence installation, oh wait they havnt paid for that either !

    This client also has talked to a guy that "offered", not sure what line of work his is in cement or mason or hardscape, to fix/and or rebuild the patio for a substantial price, quoting that they "use cement for doing the pavers". Now how many of you have every laid pavers in cement? This company/guy specifically told him that every paver/patio surface they install is cemented in place? WTF?

    They feel that paying $4k is more than generous to call it even and thats not acceptable. I know this is going to have to go to court, to make matters all the better, he is an attorney for a big company up in north jersey. I know most of our conversations border speaking with an attorney because he stresses many issues he thinks he can win with if this does go into court, such as time of completion. Because he claims that the job is STILL not complete as of today, and started in the end of March 08, he should be compensated for something?

    I will have to hire an attorney to battle an attorney which sucks. On our contracts, there is always a 10% variable amount on the quotation. Given he has paid about 20k of the 24k for the original quote, BEFORE His changes even, that still leaves him liable to pay 4k for the remainder and about $2,400 extra based on that alone. Since i have all documentation to prove that we purchased supplies on these dates for his patio for the total difference amount, we are not bickering over labor charges here, why do people assume they can pay $4000 of a $7k+ final invoice?


  2. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Collect the 4k and call it even, then go cut your lawns. I remember this thread. You should be happy the customer is offering to give you that 4k. You need to gain more experience before you practice hardscapes at customers homes.

    Consider it a learning lesson.
  3. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

  4. Hardscaping

    Hardscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 359

    why does it go from a skinny pillar to a big pillar at the top, it doesn't look right?
  5. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 616

    Just start taking it apart, without prior notice. That will definitely get their attention.
    I too agree, pillars look wrong.
  6. dvlscape

    dvlscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Ok, I'm confused that looks like a 450 SF patio, not a 4500 SF one?
  7. markam70

    markam70 LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Messages: 223

    its taken you since march to complete that? no wonder the customer is unhappy. i agree with matt (as much as it hurts to say that,lol) take what they're offering to pay and walk away
  8. markam70

    markam70 LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Messages: 223

  9. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    It was a joke, see the bottom of the original long post. Customer now feels "taken" because we must have severely overcharged for his patio. One of his co-workers husbands supposedly installs patios and "Just did a 4500sq ft. multi layer patio for 10k" . Thats $2.20 sq ft? That wont even cover supplies, not nearly. Yes it was only about 500sq ft with the walkway.

    Your right it doesnt, and yet out of anything theyve complained about, pillars are never mentioned. I personally didnt like the way this looked either. The pillars are supposed to be 2'x2'x3' tall. Theyre close but not. After the wall was built to those specs " see bottom of pillar", the pillar "kits" were built on top and the pillar kits actually come out to 27"x27"x37". Since we've never installed pillars ON TOP of a patio or wall, I personally have never measured the exact size the pillar comes out to be when finished.
  10. 600rrpilot

    600rrpilot LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 58

    take it and walk away. thats probably the smartest thing to do. unless you feel like getting ripped apart in court. they'll go over that patio and throw the book at you.

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