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View Full Version : What a Friggin Day


picframer
10-09-2009, 07:04 PM
So my day starts today at 4:30, have equipment to move.

We are 95% finished a 27,000 dollar job, all we have left is spread 12 yards of mulch, this client has been amazing, the perfect client, we put a massive drainage system in along his driveway and made his driveway 3 feet wider, we put a new driveway in crowned and rolled man "did" it look nice. Did major excavation work, we had a crew there for almost three weeks.

I am at the site to drop off a tractor to make spreading faster, I always buy from the same place, new driver. As I always do I make them get out of the truck and do a walk, the homewoner, my son and a worker walked as I explained stay away from this side and when you are beside the house dump, do not go back further as the septic field is there.

What's he do???? Jumps in the truck and starts backing up the driveway this is a freightliner truck, he starts getting close to the drain so we all yell and wave out hands, what's he do??? Floors it and spins out 250 feet on drain in no time, does he stop at the top by the house to dump,,,,nope he keeps going and buries the axles of the truck in a twenty thousand dollar septic field, I thought I was going to have a heart attack, I could not even speak, the home owner made me get in his car and rushed me to an emergency clinic, severe Anxiety attack, gave me something under the tongue which calmed me down, let me go an hour later, this has never happened in my life.

The home owner was calm, cool and collected, I was wild and I never get that upset.

I called the owner of the company as I have his private cell, we are a pretty big client, he is two hours away for the long weekend (Thaksgiving) I explain what happened and that he muct come and come now, he finally agrees. I leave the truck in the septic field, I didn't have an excavator there any longer anyhow, owner arrives, long story short the driver had never driven the truck before, didn't work for them, was the office managers brother and was filling in as they were short staffed.

Call my lawyer and he is there within 15 min as he lives on the ocean not far from this site, it is written by the owner of the product his company will cover all repair costs, will probably run 30 grand or more.

I am beside myself this evening as we are booked solid 7 days a week into November and now booking April of next year but I can't leave the site until it's fixed, it will take us a good week and the driveway is a bloddy mess, it looked so nice and the client said people stopped and asked who did it......

Anyhow this has to be the most stressful day in my total career.....think I will take the dog for a walk and maybe start a camp fire in the back yard over a cold one.;

This customer Dave has to be one of a kind, he wasn't upset at all at any time, even my staff were shocked.

majoe7
10-09-2009, 07:31 PM
Andy,

All I can say is WOW! I am glad that you are okay other than the near heart attack. I would have flipped my lid too. It is nice to see that some clients can be the cool ones when something goes wrong. This one needs some pictures to it...

Once my brother in law went to a new place to get a haircut due to the fact he had to go to an important meeting and had no time to go to his regular stylist. When she was done he stood up and took a look in the mirror and just passed out. He has never had a crew cut but now he did. He said take a little off and next he knew he was almost bald. It was bad enough because he is already starting to lose his hair on top. They called the ambulance and everything but he said that he just had to leave. To top it off they said he didnít have to pay for his haircut. LOL

I hope that it all works out for you. Enjoy your cold one.

John

Steve
10-09-2009, 09:29 PM
I am very sorry about that happening!

It's hard for me to picture exactly what was going on there. This may be a stupid question but I was wondering what he was dumping? Gravel for the driveway?

I guess ideally he is supposed to dump it gradually and slowly while he drives to spread it out?

picframer
10-10-2009, 03:14 AM
I am very sorry about that happening!

It's hard for me to picture exactly what was going on there. This may be a stupid question but I was wondering what he was dumping? Gravel for the driveway?

I guess ideally he is supposed to dump it gradually and slowly while he drives to spread it out?

He was to dump a pile of mulch about 12 yards, a little over 1/2 a load so that we could finish the job and get paid, I only stopped by to leave a tractor with a loader and give a quick hand as the guys would have been done in about two hours as the landscape fabric was already down and the beds ready, then we would have been paid.

The driveway was finished, I spent three days on the driveway alone building it then we even rented a ride on roller to compact the Class A for the extra touch, it looked amazing.

Although I do have images, I can't post them until this is settled financially but I will once this is behind me, it's 5 am here, I am heading to the site with a crew at 6 to work on the damage, they got a lot done yesterday but it's a real mess. I spent most of the days getting new pipe, fittings and ordering clear stone, I helped them for about four hours, I worked on trenching out where the drain was tore up.

I've never had a panic attack before, I had no idea what the hell was going on, I honestly was so chocked up I could not even talk, scared the hell out of my son as he has seen me in some pretty interesting situations and never get that upset, I wonder if in part it was because I have been burning the candle on both ends and working 7 days a week plus we had the big Ocean front job on the go yesterday and started a 5,000 foot road rebuild, this was the last site I had to be at for the morning, plan was to bring a tractor, help my son and Brett, get paid and start a job next door that is a three week project, I have to take pictures of this new job, three companies have turned it down, it is an interesting location as far as the danger meter goes, backfilling a pool on a side hill but it's all bedrock underneath.

picframer
10-10-2009, 03:16 AM
Andy,

All I can say is WOW! I am glad that you are okay other than the near heart attack. I would have flipped my lid too. It is nice to see that some clients can be the cool ones when something goes wrong. This one needs some pictures to it...

I hope that it all works out for you. Enjoy your cold one.

John

Thanks, the client probably saved the day for me, had he lost it I am not sure what would have happened.

Anyhow the walk was great, had a small campfire and after one it was time to hit the sack so I could get started early this morning......was in the mood for a lot more than one after yesterday!

mark123
10-10-2009, 09:39 AM
That homeowner was beyond cool. I've been in a similar situation. One time I was delivering a load of stone to a job and the guy that was there told me to drive up on the lawn and where to dump. I start to pull into the spot he directed me to and the homeowner blows a fuse. "YOU'RE ON MY *!*#*$* SAND MOUND! GET OFF!!! GET! OFFFFFF!!!"

There was no damage but we lost the rest of that job. Even though it wasn't my fault I didn't sleep for a week over it.

SuperiorPower
10-10-2009, 10:49 AM
wow!! what a situation! I don't envy you on this one at all!

So how does this work out, the customer pays the amount of the original amount and the other company for the repair to bring it back to where it was supposed to be?

That is an interesting situation no doubt. Keep us updated on this.

picframer
10-10-2009, 03:53 PM
wow!! what a situation! I don't envy you on this one at all!

So how does this work out, the customer pays the amount of the original amount and the other company for the repair to bring it back to where it was supposed to be?

That is an interesting situation no doubt. Keep us updated on this.

The drain and driveway are repaired and back looking as they were before this mess, all the mulch work is done, customer paid me in full the balance due.

As for the septic, by law I can not touch it as I am not certified so I won't, I will be by spring as I started the course.

I will prepare a bill later for the work I did and email it to the owner of the supplier that did the damage, I personally trust them, they would not want this getting around let alone me saying they do damage and don't pay, the homeowner is not concerned either, my repair biill will be close to five grand and that is at a discounted rate, it was one hell of a mess to tear up and put back down but it's done.

Someone was in today to look at the septic, he agreed with the owner as he knows this company as well as I do, something was really up with the driver as you rarely see this on a site, I never have, I have seen some damage and experienced some by suppliers, nothing this serious. It's generally the eve drain, man these truck drivers hit them a lot and its generally the handle for the top tarp that does it, I had this happen probably 6 times this summer, only one homeowner flipped out, crap happens but when it's holy crap that is a different story.

Steve
10-10-2009, 07:50 PM
I've never had a panic attack before, I had no idea what the hell was going on, I honestly was so chocked up I could not even talk, scared the hell out of my son as he has seen me in some pretty interesting situations and never get that upset, I wonder if in part it was because I have been burning the candle on both ends and working 7 days a week

I am no doctor but I would agree that when you are working hard, very focused, and on a tight schedule, there is a tendency to get tunnel vision and if something bad happens, it can have a multiplying effect on your mind.

It's hard for me to imagine what went on over there so I do look forwards to seeing some of your pics of it once this is all resolved.

a 5,000 foot road rebuild, this was the last site I had to be at for the morning, plan was to bring a tractor, help my son and Brett, get paid and start a job next door that is a three week project, I have to take pictures of this new job, three companies have turned it down, it is an interesting location as far as the danger meter goes, backfilling a pool on a side hill but it's all bedrock underneath.

I look forwards to seeing and hearing more about this job too.

picframer
10-11-2009, 04:39 AM
I am no doctor but I would agree that when you are working hard, very focused, and on a tight schedule, there is a tendency to get tunnel vision and if something bad happens, it can have a multiplying effect on your mind.

It's hard for me to imagine what went on over there so I do look forwards to seeing some of your pics of it once this is all resolved.



I look forwards to seeing and hearing more about this job too.

I will post some pics tomorrow night as we start the job first thing tomorrow.

As for the panic attack and how it effected me, did a lot of reading as I was curious, sometimes we are under a lot more stress than we realize which is reallly hard on the body and when things like this happen, the body somewhat shuts down.

I could see my doc but I already know the answer, slow down and I will in a few weeks.....

Steve
10-11-2009, 06:22 PM
I will post some pics tomorrow night as we start the job first thing tomorrow.

I look forwards to seeing them!

As for the panic attack and how it effected me, did a lot of reading as I was curious, sometimes we are under a lot more stress than we realize which is reallly hard on the body and when things like this happen, the body somewhat shuts down.

You also gotta wonder if you have been eating right and sleeping enough. I bet that can have a huge factor in it as well.

picframer
10-12-2009, 04:08 AM
You also gotta wonder if you have been eating right and sleeping enough. I bet that can have a huge factor in it as well.

One thing we do is eat well, I have a breakfast sandwich on the way to work with orange juice and generally we hit Subway or a place like that at lunch, as for sleeping I hit the sack by 10 every evening and get up around 5:30 to do paperwork, check the forums etc. It's the seven days a week, I think in the back of my mind I am concerned over when the weather here will swing, I dress in layers as even yesterday and again this morning it's pretty cool outside, in your temps around 40, and knowing other stuff I would like to get done and some things I have to get done before the snow flies.

Steve
10-12-2009, 07:44 PM
It's the seven days a week

That makes sense. It must wear on you doing anything 7 days a week.

picframer
10-13-2009, 04:54 AM
That makes sense. It must wear on you doing anything 7 days a week.

Variety keeps me going, if I was running an excavator 7 days a week I would be a basket case, I switch my own jobs up from spraying, mowing to running machinery.

Yesterday I ran the excavator for 9 hours, it was great, today and tomorrow I am running a loader at this pool sight, that will be fun as it's been a week or so since I did this, Thursday Deere hired me to demonstrate their new line of excavators, loaders, skid steers etc. that will be fun, $$$ is amazing but that is not why I am doing it, they treat me like gold so it's an honor to do this and they have told me many times they don't know of any company that can operate this size of equipment the way we do and get the results and business like we do.

Friday I am trading with a mowing crew and mowing with my helper for the day to teach him how we do it, he is generally with me on bigger construction sites, Saturday I will be rebuilding a private road that is 3,000 feet long, this will be a super fun project.

I get tired mentally keeping track of everything on the go, I stopped doing quotes a few weeks ago other than to neighbours, our response from website inquiries is we are now fully booked for the season however we do appreciate you contacting us, we would be happy to look at your project in April of 2010, Thanks Again!

This has dropped the stress level a lot as it's one less task to balance, the company is winding down for the season now, slowly but we will get there.

Frig it calls for snow flurries Thursday and I still have 18 projects to get to including clearing and building two out door skaing rink areas, just the excavation and tree clearing for the government, big bucks and very easy work, that will be my last two projects of the season.

Steve
10-13-2009, 08:12 AM
Thursday Deere hired me to demonstrate their new line of excavators, loaders, skid steers etc. that will be fun, $$$ is amazing but that is not why I am doing it, they treat me like gold so it's an honor to do this and they have told me many times they don't know of any company that can operate this size of equipment the way we do and get the results and business like we do.

How does this work out? Do you go to their store and drive it around for potential customers to watch? Or is there more to it?

picframer
10-13-2009, 03:47 PM
How does this work out? Do you go to their store and drive it around for potential customers to watch? Or is there more to it?

No, these are big machines brought into a quarry by tractor trailer, the sales guys speak, I do the demos depending on what the potential customer is interested in, it's advertised on TV and paper, probably 2,500 people will show and yes tire kickers also.

Steve
10-13-2009, 08:11 PM
That fascinates me they would call you to do this. It makes sense, but I would have figured the staff at John Deere would know how to use all these machines and wouldn't need to hire anyone to do such a job.

But maybe it just comes down to, they know how to speak about the machines and you know how to use the machines in real life situations.

This sounds like it is going to be very interesting.

How often do they have these and have you ever been to one before? What do you think of them?

picframer
10-14-2009, 04:29 AM
That fascinates me they would call you to do this. It makes sense, but I would have figured the staff at John Deere would know how to use all these machines and wouldn't need to hire anyone to do such a job.

But maybe it just comes down to, they know how to speak about the machines and you know how to use the machines in real life situations.

This sounds like it is going to be very interesting.

How often do they have these and have you ever been to one before? What do you think of them?

With no disrespect to the dealer, the staff know what they have read about the machines and sell based on that, this is one reason the dealer had every staff member come out and work with me for at least a day, we know all the in's and out's, things never mentioned in the brochure and there is nothing that compares to hands on experience.

I have tought the dealer a lot, my tractors all have custom features that I either saw somewhere, read about or used on a larger model.

They have these demo's once in the spring which I worked at and actually sold 7 pieces of equipment on my own and one in the fall, this is the big one as snow removal gear will be there also.

Running machines is simply in my blood, my sister was a massive potatoe farmer, around 1,200 acres, 16++ tractors and two very large barns full of gear, I loved working on the farm and starting driving tractors around the age of 12 by myself, running them day in and out, I was running a skid steer by the age of 13 in the barns moving potatoes from bins to train cars, I think the only machine I know of that I have not operated would be a boom lift, everything else I have even bull dozers as we used them on the farm to clear new land.

Steve
10-14-2009, 08:54 PM
You should take some pictures of the demo. I'd love to see what goes on there at them.

Also, you could offer to make some videos for them on how to operate the different machinery. They could be put into dvd format and attached to the machinery. Or they could be made available for viewing on their website.

In the past you have talked about how fantastic their support has been for their product and it has made me wonder, are other manufacturers on par with them or does John Deere simply stand out with their support?

picframer
10-14-2009, 09:00 PM
You should take some pictures of the demo. I'd love to see what goes on there at them.

Also, you could offer to make some videos for them on how to operate the different machinery. They could be put into dvd format and attached to the machinery. Or they could be made available for viewing on their website.

In the past you have talked about how fantastic their support has been for their product and it has made me wonder, are other manufacturers on par with them or does John Deere simply stand out with their support?

Very good question, it depends on where you live.

I belong to a tractor forum which is massive, some folks have very poor experiences with Deere, I should say the Deere dealer.

Color doesn't mean a lot to me, it's how well the product performs and the team where I bought it to back it up.

I have operated machinery from six differnet manufacturers, they all have their strengths and weakness but when the day is done, they will all do the job.

My blood runs green only because of the dealer, the staff, the support and the feeling like I am family, once I am in bed with a product or manufacturer, a sales guy's chances of switching me are near zip, like the old saying goes better the devil you know than the one you don't, even when I have an issue with something which is rare, it's a none issue after a quick telephone call and it has happened a few times this year.

justin_time
10-14-2009, 09:05 PM
Still waiting for those accident pics. I can't picture it into my head

picframer
10-14-2009, 09:09 PM
Still waiting for those accident pics. I can't picture it into my head

As soon as I have payment and my lawyer tells me we are clear, I will post them, I have the damage, repair and finished product pictures as does the client.

justin_time
10-14-2009, 09:21 PM
As soon as I have payment and my lawyer tells me we are clear, I will post them, I have the damage, repair and finished product pictures as does the client.

Sounds good, happy to hear your ok.

Steve
10-15-2009, 06:25 AM
My blood runs green only because of the dealer, the staff, the support and the feeling like I am family, once I am in bed with a product or manufacturer, a sales guy's chances of switching me are near zip, like the old saying goes better the devil you know than the one you don't, even when I have an issue with something which is rare, it's a none issue after a quick telephone call and it has happened a few times this year.

Do you feel like you have learned business lessons from the way they run their dealership? Have there been ways they have interacted and dealt with you that you learned from and have taken those experiences and lessons and applied them to the way you interact with your customers?

picframer
10-15-2009, 03:55 PM
Do you feel like you have learned business lessons from the way they run their dealership? Have there been ways they have interacted and dealt with you that you learned from and have taken those experiences and lessons and applied them to the way you interact with your customers?

I don't think so as it's how I built the last company, started with 8 employees and ended with 451 7 years later when I stepped down, it's all about the team and treating customers like we want to be treated. This lawn care business was to be me, my son and maybe a helper, at one point we had close to 20 staff this summer and here we are mid October, cold with snow flurries and still at least two calls a day for landscaping/excavation services, all pretty much word of mouth or people that have seen our work.

picframer
10-15-2009, 06:55 PM
Sounds good, happy to hear your ok.

I received payment from the company that did the damage today in the mail along with a nice letter and 32 yards of Organic Top Soil in 2010 at no charge, I thought this was very nice.

As soon as I am told I can post images I will, I just don't want to screw anything up on my end and my lawyer said to hang tight last time we talked until payment was received.

Steve
10-15-2009, 09:20 PM
I received payment from the company that did the damage today in the mail along with a nice letter and 32 yards of Organic Top Soil in 2010 at no charge, I thought this was very nice.

That was very nice. You can tell they really value your business! I am glad this is coming to a final resolution.