smitty80
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:24 pm

When to Cut Your Losses?

Hi All,

Would love your advice. Here are a summary of the particulars:

1. Signed a contract with a newly formed team for a $20K landscape job. For simplicity sake I'll refer to each individual as T1 & T2.
2. Payment milestones are 1/3rd to start. 1/3rd half way and 1/3 at project completion.
3. Newly formed team fell apart after payment at 2/3rds payment mark. T1 has skipped town and we believe with most of the project money. T2 has stayed on and is trying to make it right, but is increasingly pressuring us for more money. We did release $2K for supplies & salaries.
4. It's become very apart that T2 is great at excavation, but terrible at actual landscaping. Which was T1 proficiency.
5. The hard part of excavation is done. The retaining wall in my limited understanding is not being added with 3/4" angular rock all the way up the 3' high keystone wall. I would estimate the wall is 70% complete. T1 is also spent way to long on sprinkler system.
6. Remaining work to be done. 10' semi circle seating bench. Drainage system from front to back. Planting of approx. 30 plants. Drip system. Lighting along retaining wall and hillside. Small water feature to be installed(customer to buy feature) and connected to water system. Sod 20' by 30' area.

Should I just try and get the most out of him and then fire him when he asks for more money when he can't complete the job. Knowing that the work is becoming more and more shoddy or should I cut bait now and hire someone else to do it right.

Thanks in advance
Chris
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ButterflyLady29
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Posts: 1030
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:12 pm
Location: central Ohio

Re: When to Cut Your Losses?

Tough call. Does your state require a license or insurance or bonding for that type of work? Did you have to get any permits for the work to be done? Did you have a written contract?

I would consider consulting a contract attorney. The laws regarding construction contracts vary by state and locality within the state. In my area I would have had to get permits and variances for that type of work. With the licenses and permits the contractor would be required to have bonding and insurance. Since the contract is voided (in essence, since the team no longer exists) I would be able to contact the state and file a claim against their bond.

And looking at the retaining wall, I have some questions. Did they lay the drainage before setting up the wall? Is that plastic behind the wall or is it weed barrier? Is that all the higher the wall is going to be laid? Is there any rebar holding it in place?

Do contractors in your area charge for estimates? If not it wouldn't hurt to start calling some out.

imafan26
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Posts: 11670
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: When to Cut Your Losses?

It is a tough thing. Was T1 and T2 one company or two? I think it would be good to call a lawyer. If T1 and T2 were the same company, T2 would still have to honor the conditions of the contract. Although, I can understand that T2 may have a hard time doing that when T1 skipped out with the cash. I think since landscaping may not be T2's forte, I would look to have someone come out just to make sure he is doing his part right.

Keystone walls are held together by pins instead of rebar. They should be embedded into the slope the farther up they go especially if they are retaining. Since they are not mortared in they may not need the same kind of drainage that a CMU wall requires. It should have been backfilled with gravel as a drainage layer and there should be drain pipe passing through the first layer of tiles. Weedblock is commonly added behind the wall to keep weeds from growing through the wall.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ButterflyLady29
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Posts: 1030
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:12 pm
Location: central Ohio

Re: When to Cut Your Losses?

Thanks for the clarification. I've never put in a retaining wall and don't know all the specs behind them.



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