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Landscape Gardening

Court action and underquoted a job need help

Ive been in the business 5 years, I underquoted a job that was half way through customer till date gave me £3,300 after calculated the cost I realised that I have so far spent £2,000 on waste and £350 on a digger and £200 on a dumper I have made a 100sqm retaining wall in this time and dug out 7 grab loads of waste bare in mind this garden is in a back alley so the waste had to be transported out this way. Quote was given £7,000 including material. Customer demanded full refund as there was so much delay in the work as none of my builders wanted to do the work but I had explained to them to take £1,000 and end the job but they refused and said continue the work I had spent a further £2,500 out of my pocket but the job is still not complete and requires another £2,000 now she is threatning me that she will take me to court bare in mind she hasn't given me any money for the last 2months what could I do please help. Thanks

4 Answers from MyBuilder Landscape Gardeners

Best Answer

Hi,
You have messed this job up massively from the outset, you invested £3300 and are making a loss, you invested another £2500 and making a massive loss, you are now thinking of investing a further £2000 which will make a huge loss. Maybe you will then invest more.

The best possible scenario here is the customer takes you to court and you get awarded the majority of your expenses with no profit and still make a rather large loss.

You need to sit down with your customer and negotiate a fair deal for both parties. Come up with a deal for you to walk away now and another to complete the job.

If you believe the customer will not ever pay then you are wasting your time here when you could be earning money starting another project elsewhere.

Spend your time on a project that will earn you money that will pay to cover the losses on this one and not invest any more into this one unless you are 100% sure that it will be profitable. This customer will not recommend you or use you again so investment of your time and money is simply ridiculous (you are doing this to feed your family and your family can't eat good will).

Post your question to Markupandprofit.com for good advice.

You may even be better off, if you've completed half the works and to a good standard, negotiating the £3300 as a settlement without completion. As in the long run you could lose much more.

In a court without a detailed contract or agreement, the works carried out to a satisfactory standard, it would be very hard for the customer to produce an argument for a full refund due to 'their perceived delays'. Although a 'reasonable profit is your problem (mistake) so you will not get more than proved and reasonable expenses. Keep logs of communications and get professional advice.

Remember these things happen and always work out 90% better than you think they will.

Regards,
Laurence

2018-11-11T22:35:01+00:00

Answered 11th Nov 2018

was it a fixed quote or an estimate ? legally this makes a difference ,you have looking at your figgers you have spent £5050 and need to spend another £2000 total £7050 you will make a loss of £50 but customer will have had job done and will owe you balance of cost of job £3700. put it down to experience,if client will not give you any more money pull off and see her in court.

2018-11-10T14:05:02+00:00

Answered 10th Nov 2018

Got anything in writing?

2018-11-10T14:00:03+00:00

Answered 10th Nov 2018

I think we can all say we've under quoted works before, but it has to be said, it sounds like you're in a real mess!

How you thought you could build 100m2 of retaining wall for £7000 I do not know. I think you've taken on a job that you didn't know how to do. Possibly with the hope of paying someone else to do it for you i.e. the builders you mentioned? Or is that an excuse you've used to explain the situation? Have the walls been built properly? Retaining walls that haven't been designed and built properly will almost definitely fail.

Your client probably knew that £7000 was cheap. Some people will take advantage of your mistakes, unfortunately that's what happens. If they were that unhappy with your work then they wouldn't have let you continue.

If they have only paid you for the work you have done, and the materials used, and you have been told you aren't going to be paid then why are you still working there??

You are the only person that knows the situation you are in and so you need to decide what you are going to do and deal with the consequences. The best lessons are hard learned after all!

All the best

2018-11-11T10:40:02+00:00

Answered 11th Nov 2018

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