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Tree Care, Irrigation, Landscaping, Hardscapes
Discuss issues dealing with landscapes, hardscapes, exterior landscape lighting and lighting fixtures, lawn irrigation, sprinklers, sprinkler heads, mulch, retaining walls, etc.

Garden Border, I need assistance!


Tree Care, Irrigation, Landscaping, Hardscapes

Discuss issues dealing with landscapes, hardscapes, exterior landscape lighting and lighting fixtures, lawn irrigation, sprinklers, sprinkler heads, mulch, retaining walls, etc.
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  #1  
Old 05-01-2009, 06:32 PM
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Default Garden Border, I need assistance!

So I started the job today;

The customer wants a border around his pool, so he can fill it with rocks.

In 5 hours I got 1/4th of the job done.

I have the border to install, the weed block paper & my tools.

I started by digging out 1.5ft around the pool, lifting up stones that would prevent me from installing the border.

I put the stones in a bucket & the dirt on a tarp.

I layd down the weed block paper & installed 1/4th of the border cutting excess border with scissors.

So now I'm stuck with a mountain of dirt & grass. I used the stones I collected to hold the weed block paper down & to help level the holes I dug up.

I then took my bucket & filled it with water, I poured it onto the tarp trying to create "slop mud". I used my hands & patched up the exterior of the border & a bit of the interior to hold the border in place.

Then I decided to fill my bucket with dirt & fill it with water, then I mixed it. I poured it into the interior of the border & hoped that it would level itself out, it worked!

The problem is, I still have so much dirt & grass, on the tarp & it's useless to me. If I do the rest of the pool I will have so much, & I can't take it away.

I'm exhausted.

Anyone have any tips or advice to make this job go smoother?

PICTURES:
Pool Border 1
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2009, 06:56 PM
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Default Some of my previous work

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This is what I did before the pool...

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  #3  
Old 05-01-2009, 08:00 PM
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When a customer agrees to a quote, to some extent the faster either I or staff are done and they are satisfied the better.

Personally I would have went around it with a power edger, then using the sod lifter I would have removed the sod, any larger rocks, laid the landscape fabric and would have been done, total time about 45 min.

I tend to buy equipment to make the job faster and easier, I only ever had one client make a comment about it not taking very long to do something for the rate, I simply said you are looking at a piece of gear that will set you back about forty grand, yes it is fast but I have to charge enough to get my capital investment back and make a living, she called two weeks later asking for us to come back and do other work.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:15 PM
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Scott,

You do great work. As you reflect on the job now, is there anything you would have done differently if you were to do it again?
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2009, 01:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Scott,

You do great work. As you reflect on the job now, is there anything you would have done differently if you were to do it again?
Well for laying down the walkway, I shouldn't have put all the dirt onto the tarp, I could have just spread the dirt around and leveled the entire thing & only removed what was necessary.

I could have also not cleaned the stones when I took them off, that actually took a few hours to do, I thought I would be able to keep them flat so their easier to lay, but not really necessary. The only reason I cleaned them was to look professional & to keep my hired help busy, lol.

-

As for the pool job, man these situations bug me. I have to slap myself and ask "what is the mission?" in this case my mission was to remove 1 1/2 feet of dirt from the pool, & install a border so the customer can fill with rocks.

So I take my shovel and cut 1 1/2 feet around the pool, lift all the dirt & grass up & create a mess. I struggle digging up rocks that just don't want to be lifted out, but that's done for now.

I cut out strips of weed block paper & lay it out over where I have dug the dirt out.

Then I unroll the border (pain in the backside) and try to fit it perfectly in the hole I've created. Now I have to use these metal picks & hammer them through the border, & into the ground so it doesn't move (they are useless).

Now I have excess dirt.. Hmm.. Well it's gotta go somewhere. Let's think... This border will never be not crooked until my customer fills it with rocks, but I'm not going to bug him right now, so I will cover the dirt with water so I can make pasty mud, I can use it to fill in & hug the border well enough that it wont move.

I still have a lot of dirt..... I will grab some and put it in my bucket & fill the bucket with a lot of water. I now have diareah water. I dump it onto my weed block paper, thinking it would spread & level out the ground. This way my customer doesn't need 1000 bags of rocks... it worked!

I still have excess dirt, & it's useless!

The grass I ripped up, I used it to make my previous job (walkway) filled in on the sides. It looks wonderful.

I have no more stones, i tossed them in with the diarrhea water.

I'm just left with dirt.
-

If I could take the time & think. It would probably be best to get a partner for this job. I still have to work at it tomorrow, so I'll have one of my guys come give me a hand. The day is harder when you don't socialize & you just work.

Job Includes:
-Digging
-Weed Block Cutting & Laying
- Border installation
- Mud patching
- Hole filling
- Cleaning

I'm tirrrred lol... I have a weeding job to do tomorrow too, $75.00 for a small garden.
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:43 PM
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I'm about to lose my mind with this customer. I am offering such an inexpensive service for two big jobs, I was hoping if my price was low, he'd at least be able to afford the needed supplies & I'd be in & out!

I go there every damn day & nothing happens, no money for supplies, so I just stay an hour & tweak things. Then he constantly asks, "when will you finish?"

What he needs to understand;
1. I can't continue without supplies
2. Stop asking me to do other jobs until I complete the ones I'm doing.
3. Stop complaining, he said, "The job doesn't look beautiful"
my response, "beautiful will cost you $2000.00"

, & the only profit I'm making is $50.00, because the rest was spent on supplies that I bought, so now my service price is going to go sky high with him.

All he has to do is give me a few bucks, but he's like retarded or something. it takes me an hour for him to sort of understand me.

Scott: I need supplies, 6 more bags of rocks, 6 bags of soil, & more border, I need the money for all of this.

Customer: You come tomorrow to finish?

Scott: I need money for supplies, then I will finish the job.

Customer: When you finish, tomorrow?


= my frustration level is high, he's not even foreign!

********-

Another thing:

It took me awhile to lay down his walkway, and he says, "Why does it take you so long to do? I did it before & it went fast, I put the stone down & walkway blocks.

I feel like saying, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT I HAD TO DIG UP THOSE STONES TO MAKE EVERYTHING LEVEL? IF THOSE STONES WEREN'T IN THERE I WOULD HAVE TAKEN ME NO TIME AT ALL! DON'T COMPARE YOUR WORK TO MINE!" FACK!!!

Last edited by CHEESE2009; 05-05-2009 at 04:49 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-06-2009, 06:13 PM
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If the guy isn't foreign, what is the problem? Language barrier? or is he just playing stupid?

I'd get away from him after this job is complete, & stay away.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:57 AM
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Ultimately this is all a great learning experience.

Quote:
I'm about to lose my mind with this customer. I am offering such an inexpensive service for two big jobs, I was hoping if my price was low, he'd at least be able to afford the needed supplies & I'd be in & out!
I can totally see your side of this. If you do it for a low price, the customer should work with you more on getting the supplies.

From the customer's view point, they probably are broke and want everything done the absolute cheapest. In fact, I am sure they would be more than happy if you simply bought all the materials yourself and absorbed the costs.
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:55 AM
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I'm sure I don't know the whole story but it seems to me your setting yourself up to get screwed over here Scott. If the guy can't buy the materials as agreed, what makes you think he's going to pay you as agreed?
That would be a big red flag for me, & I'd probably cease all work and demand payment for what ever was completed already, then continue.
" Mr. Customer, not to be a jerk, but it seems to me that if you are having trouble getting the cash together for materials, how can I expect that you'll be paying me on time? Now I would love to finish the job for you and I plan to do just that, but at this point... I am __50%___ complete, I need to be paid 50% of the labor we a agreed on, & you will need to have the rest of the materials to COMPLETE the job here. Then I will return to finish the job as requested. Ok? See you then sir, Give me a call when your ready."

That or just throw the ball back in his court... he keeps saying " you finish tommorrow? You finish tommorrow? as if he understands nothing else you are saying right? So kick it back in the same fashion. "Do you have the money for me to finish today? DO YOU HAVE THE MONEY FOR ME TO FINISH TODAY? No money? NO FINISH!
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Old 05-07-2009, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musician/lawnman View Post
No money? NO FINISH!
LMFAO! I love it!

Well I finished 100% yesterday afternoon, so now I'm going to ask for my money.

The thing is, he's a taxi driver & he works in the airport area & is now sick. Money won't be coming in I guess, but I am able to understand him, I'm there every day & he's home sleeping all day trying to get better.

I did a ton of work, but it's over now, he paid me for the supplies, not for the labor though. I told him to pay me as soon as he's back to work, personally I don't give a damn if he does because I am FREE from there currently lmao.
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