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Unhappy Customer

 
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:24 PM   #1
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Unhappy Customer


Hey guys new to the site but looking for a little input.
Recently completed a paving job and it passed city inspection and when I met with the customer he bagan to tell me he was unhappy with the work because there were a few "bird baths" in the asphalt. I know ideally we shoot for this to no occur but it happens from time to time. I discussed with the owner about possibly placing more mix and then sealing over the top to give it a uniform look at no cost to the customer to which he was ok with.
So before 2 days before the additional work was to be done I hear from the customer stating to not do anymore work that he had met with other contractors who gave him prices to pave the driveway and included that they were all cheaper than the price we had agreed on and that he would be meeting with the city inspector about the work that had been done.
Well long story short the job has now failed inspection because the home owner dug into the middle of the driveway and found a spot that was 1" thick where as the contract stated it would be 2". The customer sent me a text saying he would needs the asphalt removed but a certain date because he has hired another contractor to do the job. Now I take full responsibility for the low spot and have offered to cut out and remove the section because I know for sure the entire job was not done at 1". The customer has refused and said the other contractor will be doing the work. I asked for no money up front and am out thousands of dollars so my question is am I responsible to remove the asphalt or can the customer try and file suit? I have been in business for over 12 years and never had an issue and guarantee all my work for a 5 year period just not sure where to go from here.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:06 PM   #2
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Re: Unhappy Customer


What’s the contract say about disputes. Seems if it failed inspection you get a chance to remedy it. You failed to deliver on your own contract, do you really expect to get paid?

Edit; I wouldn’t lift another finger until he agrees in writing to pay you once you do the proper job. In other words, YOU tear it out and YOU do it right.

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Old 12-27-2017, 10:12 PM   #3
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Re: Unhappy Customer


Does your contract give specifics as to "birdbaths", such as "not to exceed_____depth"?
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:24 PM   #4
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Re: Unhappy Customer


I wouldn't tear it out if you're not given an opportunity to repair it. But you need to give him a new driveway not just a patch job.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:24 PM   #5
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Re: Unhappy Customer


Quote:
Originally Posted by WBailey1041 View Post
What’s the contract say about disputes. Seems if it failed inspection you get a chance to remedy it. You failed to deliver on your own contract, do you really expect to get paid?

Edit; I wouldn’t lift another finger until he agrees in writing to pay you once you do the proper job. In other words, YOU tear it out and YOU do it right.
I have no expectations of getting paid at this point my question is more about proceeding from here as in am I liable for the cost of removal of the asphalt when the customer has already contracted another company to do work and is refusing to let me even attempt to remedy my mistake.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:25 PM   #6
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Re: Unhappy Customer


Quote:
Originally Posted by TimNJ View Post
Does your contract give specifics as to "birdbaths", such as "not to exceed_____depth"?
No speciifics about bird baths and uneven surfaces.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:26 PM   #7
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBailey1041 View Post
What’s the contract say about disputes. Seems if it failed inspection you get a chance to remedy it. You failed to deliver on your own contract, do you really expect to get paid?

Edit; I wouldn’t lift another finger until he agrees in writing to pay you once you do the proper job. In other words, YOU tear it out and YOU do it right.
I have no expectations of getting paid at this point my question is more about proceeding from here as in am I liable for the cost of removal of the asphalt when the customer has already contracted another company to do work and is refusing to let me even attempt to remedy my mistake.
nope! But this is a contractor forum not a lawyer forum.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:27 PM   #8
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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I wouldn't tear it out if you're not given an opportunity to repair it. But you need to give him a new driveway not just a patch job.
He has refused to even discuss options he said he signed a contract with another contractor and the work is scheduled to be done Jan 5th and he wants existing asphalt removed
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:39 PM   #9
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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I wouldn't tear it out if you're not given an opportunity to repair it. But you need to give him a new driveway not just a patch job.
He has refused to even discuss options he said he signed a contract with another contractor and the work is scheduled to be done Jan 5th and he wants existing asphalt removed
make him pay for the original tear out first or give the man a price to tear it out.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:47 PM   #10
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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........he wants existing asphalt removed
Sounds like a Change Order.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:59 PM   #11
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Re: Unhappy Customer


So before you started was there a previous driveway that you tore out? And then paved it? And he paid nothing so far?

If so. Then the customer is out no money correct? So then is the other new contractors bidding lower because he doesn't have to do removal?

My two cents is if the above is all true. Then I would let everything be the way it is now. No sense in helping the next guy save money for tear out. Chances are he will tell customer he has to charge more for tear out and new. Thus putting the price close to yours.

In other words you do two demo jobs and a driveway for free. The other contractor does half the work. And makes more. The homeowner gets a driveway for cheap because you paid for demo twice. Marry Xmas.

I would give the option to have him pay for original tear out . And then you'll take out new. Or you'll tear out new completely and redo. 1/2 deposit. And if pass with flying colors then pay balance. Otherwise let the new guy earn his cheap price.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:03 PM   #12
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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So before you started was there a previous driveway that you tore out? And then paved it? And he paid nothing so far?

If so. Then the customer is out no money correct? So then is the other new contractors bidding lower because he doesn't have to do removal?

My two cents is if the above is all true. Then I would let everything be the way it is now. No sense in helping the next guy save money for tear out. Chances are he will tell customer he has to charge more for tear out and new. Thus putting the price close to yours.

In other words you do two demo jobs and a driveway for free. The other contractor does half the work. And makes more. The homeowner gets a driveway for cheap because you paid for demo twice. Marry Xmas.

I would give the option to have him pay for original tear out . And then you'll take out new. Or you'll tear out new completely and redo. 1/2 deposit. And if pass with flying colors then pay balance. Otherwise let the new guy earn his cheap price.
Previous driveway was chip rock and native soils which were removed and replaced with 4" of 3/4" aggregate base material per city standards.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:04 PM   #13
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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make him pay for the original tear out first or give the man a price to tear it out.
That was my thought. Did other guy bid cheaper because no tear out ? My guess was other guy said if first guy will tear out he will do for cheaper. Because if other guy bid for tear out the owner wouldn't be demanding removal before the 5th.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:05 PM   #14
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Re: Unhappy Customer


And yes correct customer has yet to come out of pocket a single penny. Entire Balance was due upon completion of work
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:05 PM   #15
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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Previous driveway was chip rock and native soils which were removed and replaced with 4" of 3/4" aggregate base material per city standards.
Did owner pay for for that removal. And new base?
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:10 PM   #16
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Re: Unhappy Customer


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Previous driveway was chip rock and native soils which were removed and replaced with 4" of 3/4" aggregate base material per city standards.
Did owner pay for for that removal. And new base?
Negative I have paid for all material and trucking to this point. I did the excavation of original materials and have no charges or received any payments from the home owner.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:22 PM   #17
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Re: Unhappy Customer


I'm not a paving guy, but if he hasn't paid anything yet then his side of the contract isn't fulfilled any more than yours is.

IOW, whatever is there now is better than it was before you started.....and it was free. If he don't like it, HE can pay the cheap guy to remove it and replace it.

On the other hand.........I'm not a lawyer, so.....

EDIT: Oh and by the way, change your contract. Always, always, ALWAYS keep the money ahead of the work. Add payment points into your contract. After tearout 33% / after paving 33% / after inspection 33%...whatever. Just get SOME money before the job is done and your bargaining power is gone.
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Last edited by jproffer; 12-27-2017 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:37 PM   #18
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Re: Unhappy Customer


paver i always used ALWAYS stringlined the sub base. either i put it to grade, or had to pay him to. i wonder how the owner knew "where" to dig down and find it 1" deep? were there multiple test holes, or just the one?
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:39 PM   #19
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Re: Unhappy Customer


Quote:
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I'm not a paving guy, but if he hasn't paid anything yet then his side of the contract isn't fulfilled any more than yours is.

IOW, whatever is there now is better than it was before you started.....and it was free. If he don't like it, HE can pay the cheap guy to remove it and replace it.

On the other hand.........I'm not a lawyer, so.....

EDIT: Oh and by the way, change your contract. Always, always, ALWAYS keep the money ahead of the work. Add payment points into your contract. After tearout 33% / after paving 33% / after inspection 33%...whatever. Just get SOME money before the job is done and your bargaining power is gone.
Thanks for you input on larger projects I usually stipulate some form of down payment, but smaller jobs such as this one it really is more hassle than it is worth and like I stated earlier in my 12 years of working I have yet to run into an issue. I know I should always cover my ass my mistake and will change the contract from here out, but honestly I am more concerned with the harm to my reputation than the lost money on the project and am certainly not wanting to lose even more money on it be it law suit for removal of the asphalt.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:41 PM   #20
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Re: Unhappy Customer


how many square feet we talking?

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