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Working with other contractors on a job. Coordinating / Managing

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576

    Ok, this is a topic I'm being serious about. Grab your smartphone and read this while you're sitting on the throne, this is a long one!

    First off I would like to limit the responses to those that have been around the block a time or two in the contracting industry and that can relate.

    From time to time we do jobs where the client may have other contractors working on the property while we're there doing our thing. I fine with this for the most part, depending on the nature of what they're doing.

    I also work in capacity of general contractor. Where I coordinate and manage and overlook the subs, and I get paid for it.

    Well we're starting an excavating related job next week. It'll entail importing about 150 cu yds of fill.

    At the same time the home owner is replacing her concrete driveway. During the pricing phase of the job I told the lady her concrete guy could place his rubble in the hole, with kind intentions of saving him from hauling and paying dumping fees. Why export rubble when we're importing, right?

    So she talks to the concrete guy and he is very happy that I came up with doing that. Big load off his shoulders.

    About 45 days ago she asked me to call the concrete guy and tell him my plan of attack. So I did, nice guy, everything fine.

    I shoot the lady an email about 9 days ago saying we're behind schedule due to the rains. She responds "no problem".

    Sunday night she shoots me an email asking when we'll start. I respond with the date and day.

    She responds and says "can you call the concrete guy and coordinate?"

    Ok, well this is where I am interested in hearing others opinions.

    First, for the record, let me make it clear we're a small, busy operation. I AM HUGE ON CUTOMER SERVICE AND COMMUNICATION. it's truly the foundation of my success. It's a skill and an art and it's not something everyone can master.

    I have my plate full with managing our current jobs. This nice concrete guy is working for her, he's not my sub.

    I sent her a nice email saying "would you
    Mind calling him and just tell him the details stated in my email". She sent an email back saying I really needed to coordinate with him. And 4 hrs later she called me.

    I didn't tell her this but frankly I do not want much involvement with her contractor for liability purposes. Next thing you know something comes up and it's a he said she said. Where as if I keep a low profile, there is no finger pointing at me. And my contract does not include managing her people.

    So I politely said she had to call him and simply pass on the info in my email. She said "but you said you would coordinate with him". And yes I did, I thought coordinating was me
    Telling him we'll take his rubble and we'll be ready the 2nd day". My priority is communicating with our client. If we're behind I have to call her and advise, I don't think I should be responsible for calling every other Tom dick and Harry that she may have working there! They're her babies.

    She sounded upset with me. I'm sure once we start and she sees me everyday she'll she that I'm a genuine guy an that we do quality work.

    In the past this topic has come upon this forum, and most folks say they hate working with others. But it's not a perfect world and sometimes we have to.

    What are some thoughts from some of the veteran contractors here? I'm my case I think we had a communictikb problem, I think she thought I was going to take this guy under my wing and communicate with him like I do with her.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576


    And before someone responds with "how hard is it to call someone and say we're strting on Monday" let me say that would be my response if I was you reading this!

    This guy is a talker. The last time we spoke I had to pull over on the side of the road because I was almost out of signal and he was a talkin and a talkin and a talkin and a talkin and a talkin. So much so - I think he's a happy drunk! That was my impression I got from our phone conversations.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    thats the great things about cell phones, dead zones, say hello hello are you there a couple of times and then hit end. I've said every time you start out doing something nice they will take advantage of you like she is doing and somehow when something goes wrong its somehow your fault. you did the right thing.
  4. SVA_Concrete

    SVA_Concrete LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    Ah.. the ole hello hello trick

    We work with other subs about half of the time. Where you are drawing the line is a good thing it keeps responsibility clear. I have a personal fault that I am working on....in that I would call the other sub contractors. Even when im not getting paid for it cause I hate headaches.

    I give alot of free work away...the superintendent style of work.... I don't place enough value on managing subs and logistics.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. SVA_Concrete

    SVA_Concrete LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467

    I don't know if im qualified to respond..... I've been in the industry snce 2003 and no I wasn't 12 in 03working for my dad...
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    Not intended to sound harsh, but you put yourself in that position as soon as you green lighted him dumping his concrete into your needed fill area. At that point it wasn't her responsibility, it became yours. I have been in contracting long enough to know it's a VERY RARE occurence that any of us are just doing the other contractor a favor. Let's be honest here, sure he is getting a great benefit from dumping his busted concrete on site, but im sure it's scratching your back a little bit too having a large amount of free fill without delivery or labor expense.

    Once the above variables took place you were compromised. She could very easily simply never call the concrete contractor and on the day you show up you find a very large pile of busted concrete piled up in front of your excavation site. Then the bickering begins with her saying "well you said he could dump his busted stuff into your site and you weren't here, so he made a nice pile for you close to the proposed area." At this point, everyone is about to be pointing fingers.
  7. OutdoorCreations

    OutdoorCreations LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    I am young, but I will chime in. I would just text him and be done with it. Ask him to confirm he got the text. If he calls you to "talk" just don't answer and when you see him onsite tell him you were walking into a meeting and couldn't talk right then.
  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576

    ok, but the only thing is Fill Material in the DC area is free :) So, we do not benefit by letting him leave it onsite.

  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,576

    thats the best response yet!

  10. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    Really? They will deliver a dump truck full of fill for free? man that's utopia, but is it true?

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