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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

Projects that test us


Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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Old 04-25-2009, 03:31 AM
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I am sure we all have had projects that just didn't go as planned, perhaps a clean up, fertilizer that burnt the clients lawn or whatever, if the customer is home I am wondering how you react should they start to flip?

Had a situation yesterday, I am digging a 600+ foot trench in the back yard of a home and along the base of a hill which is the issue from water run off and really hard compacted clay soil. Half way up this hill is their septic field, my first question was where is the pipe from the house to the field, I was told and I asked them to mark it, basically what happened is the water waste from the tanks is pumped from the tanks up the hill to the field.

Started the job and did around 400 feet then all of a sudden I had more water coming out of the ground than I knew what to do with, it was a small river and you could see it, homeowner was there, got off the tractor to have a look, a white 2 1/2" pipe, my heart sank, that is the pipe from the tank to the field, about 16 feet from where they said and had marked.

Long story short is it took me over an hour to fix as I had to go buy the tools and supplies, which I will bill the client for plus my time as we agreed it was not properly marked.

At first the fellow was really upset, the wet back yard that I was already having issues getting through was a small lake, I explained sir I asked where the line is, the backhoe doesn't know or care if its a rock or pipe, it's coming out.

He settled down after it was fixed, back together and working, I finished the 600 feet which for now will remain open and somewhat of a mess as it has to dry up before I dare go back in.

I must say I was upset for the down time, this effects our entire schedule for next week, no ones real fault I guess in hindsight.

I'm sure we must all get into situations from time to time, just curious if you want to share what happened and the outcome.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:06 PM
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That is one heck of a situation! I can only imagine when a customer is saying the underground pipe runs here, they must really have no idea!

Is there any way to confirm where they think the pipes are before anything is done?
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Old 04-25-2009, 07:46 PM
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That is one heck of a situation! I can only imagine when a customer is saying the underground pipe runs here, they must really have no idea!

Is there any way to confirm where they think the pipes are before anything is done?
No as they are plastic, if there was it would be a big seller as all of us in the business cringe digging any where near a pipe.

Anyhow I was thinking there must be other situations we get ourselves into where we think oh boy.....
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:01 PM
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Anyhow I was thinking there must be other situations we get ourselves into where we think oh boy.....
I can totally understand. This is a rough spot too because I can see how a customer, even thought they gave bad information, could still lose their minds over this and make it even worse.
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Old 04-25-2009, 08:49 PM
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I can totally understand. This is a rough spot too because I can see how a customer, even thought they gave bad information, could still lose their minds over this and make it even worse.
As a business owner that is what was going through my mind, how would my staff handle this?

People treat the business owner different than the do the employee, even though an employee can handle the situation very well and sometimes better, I used to see this on a regular basis as my previous job.

Anyhow I was curious what situations others may have found themselves in, I am going to look at a clean up tomorrow, hope I see everything that is to be found before I qoute and send staff in there.
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Old 04-26-2009, 12:08 AM
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Cleanups have got to be the hardest job in lawn/yard maintenance to estimate.
I recently got burned on a cleanup job with a new customer. To begin with the customer spoke very broken english so there was a major communication problem. Anyway I bid the job on what the husband explained to me as to what he wanted done. When I showed up for work the wife came out and told me to do more than what her husband said to do. I told her that I did not quote the job for all that extra work and she said don't worry we will pay you for your time. Needless to say when the husband came home and saw more of the dead woods cleared out then what he wanted he went ballistic. I told him his wife insisted on me doing the extra work . After I watched them shout and argue in their native language at each other the husband came over to me and said I had to honor our signed agreement for the price of the cleanup. I had an extra 3 hours in the job that he won't pay me for. I have mowing and fertilization for this customer also and I am having second thoughts about keeping them. I've been in this business a long time and have come across some "different people" but this year especially I have run across some real crackpots.
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:50 AM
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Cleanups have got to be the hardest job in lawn/yard maintenance to estimate.
I recently got burned on a cleanup job with a new customer. To begin with the customer spoke very broken english so there was a major communication problem. Anyway I bid the job on what the husband explained to me as to what he wanted done. When I showed up for work the wife came out and told me to do more than what her husband said to do. I told her that I did not quote the job for all that extra work and she said don't worry we will pay you for your time. Needless to say when the husband came home and saw more of the dead woods cleared out then what he wanted he went ballistic. I told him his wife insisted on me doing the extra work . After I watched them shout and argue in their native language at each other the husband came over to me and said I had to honor our signed agreement for the price of the cleanup. I had an extra 3 hours in the job that he won't pay me for. I have mowing and fertilization for this customer also and I am having second thoughts about keeping them. I've been in this business a long time and have come across some "different people" but this year especially I have run across some real crackpots.
Ouch, that has to burn, three hours on a site for extra work and no pay and I bet you guys did a great job, 1/2 hour or an hour is one thing but 3....., you should be paid for it, I would go back and speak to the husband, just explain you are a business, you see the wife or husband as equal and take direction from either/both. Tell his to honor his wife by paying for the work she requested, personally if I didn't get paid, I wouldn't go back.
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:43 AM
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I spoke with the man of the house today and he told me he would pay me the additional 3 hours. He then told me not to listen to his wife's demands. I told him that our time is money on the job and for our relationship to work he must tell his wife to stop interupting us on the job and adding more work that is not authorized. For now I will continue to service their property.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:30 AM
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I spoke with the man of the house today and he told me he would pay me the additional 3 hours. He then told me not to listen to his wife's demands. I told him that our time is money on the job and for our relationship to work he must tell his wife to stop interupting us on the job and adding more work that is not authorized. For now I will continue to service their property.
Good for you bud, it IS YOUR money afterall.....
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