Ask a tradesman

Landscape Gardening

Help, underquoted a job and the customer is refusing us to finish and requesting a refund

My partner is coming away from working within a company to try and work for himself, so to see if this is possible without wasting financially I found him a customer online (social media). He quoted the job and priced the materials with the help of me ( I always find the offers) anyway so the customer was happy with the quote and went we went ahead with the work.
She was happy for us to make the choices for colours or sleepers/ patio etc...
she gave us the full amount for both materials and labour at the start of the job, however my partner made a couple of mistakes with the quote, so has been using his own money to finish the job in order with what was first quoted.
The original time frame was given however because of the underquote he is having to work a normal job to fund the underquoted job.
We have apologised on many occasions and explained the situation to the customer but she is now saying that she doesn’t want us to finish the job, and requests a refund to get the job finished.
There is literally 8 decking boards to put down and joint it finishing off with jet washing where materials where stored.
The customer is now saying that she wants a different colour joint it and thy it was done properly although this is the first time hearing this and it’s been well over a week since we did part of patio. ( joint it)
We are now being threatened with court and they’re requesting a refund.... so I’m looking on advise on what to do.
Do we refund for only the materials that were quoted?
Do we wait and see if court happens?
Joint it was never included in the quote ( he forgot ) so do we refund for that?

They are requesting a sum of money when actually if we was to continue it would cost just under half of that

4 Answers from MyBuilder Landscape Gardeners

Best Answer

You need proper legal advice really, but you shouldn’t pay for materials with your own money if you under quoted a job that a human error that your entitled to make.

The customer unfortunately should pick up the bill for that in my opinion any extra labour needed you should accept as a lost as then it’s a 50/50 lost on both parties if a customer refuses then they simple get a half finished job or very poor quality materials or you cut corners to get it done cheaper and you tell them this too I’m a big believer in being honest and fair at all times.

I wouldn’t refund them at all there trying there luck and trying to bully and intimidate you knowing your new to business and just starting out.

Id sit tight and wait for court letters to come if they do I doubt it most people haven’t got the money or mental energy to fight in court your be surprised I think your win if they do take you to court if what you say is true you done nothing wrong besides a simple human error.

Example when the government infrastructure projects go over budget like HS2 rail project and the company in charge needs more money they show exactly where money has been spent and receipts to prove it then a debate is held in parliament and money is given and usually under more scrutiny they don’t turn round and say well you said you could deliver this for X,Y Z so it your problem deal with it as then your be putting business under and people will lose there jobs etc.

You can’t expect somebody to work for peanuts or for nothing and I think any judge will agree.

I’ve got experience in court and FYI be your own solicitor and just worry about getting a barrister for court dates your save 25/50% on court fees my family is in court at the moment funny enough our fees are 10k the other side is 15k we saved 5k on solicitors fees by doing that ourselves it’s not difficult trust me also going back to needing a lot of mental energy unfortunately the other side main party died from the stress of it all after 2 years court takes a long time we are currently waiting to see if there next of kin wishes to continue the fight.

Now in your case your project isn’t billions of pounds but your new to pricing up jobs the customer & yourself should expect you to mess up slightly or hopefully not massively it’s difficult getting your head round pricing up and working out how long things take you it’s easy to make a lost or peanuts at first just don’t beat yourself up and don’t give up learn from these mistakes and don’t let them happen again.

my first big job at £3500 I originally went in at £2500 what would I go in at now £4000/£4500 live and learn.

I didn’t make anything on it I was down a good £200 because of labour my customer picked up the bill for the extra materials that was like £1000 they accepted I’m young 22 and new to this side of the job and accepted having somebody in who’s new to business is taking a risk.

I hope you get this sorted don’t stress your customer sounds like one of these customers from hell you gotta learn to spot these and walk away too I’ve been in business nearly a year and I’ve had one customer from hell and I learned what to look out for I’ve now walked away from 3/4 jobs if anybody displayed similar behaviour the normally warning signs are if they are rude & abrupt and talk down to you, don’t answer your questions and just expect you to answer there’s and if they ask a million questions and look like they doubt/don’t trust you with your answers all the time anybody like this I just simply walk away and tell them I don’t like their tone/body language/ general vibe and I can sense we won’t get alone they never reply too that’s says a lot I think sometimes they might come back with a nicer attitude but stick to your guns there learn the hard way when they meet an actual cow boy trader or somebody who’s got an equally poor attitude.

Anybody can tell a good honest tradesman from a mile off our work,our tidy vans and how we present ourselves in the first 30seconds normally speak for themselves.

BT Roofing Services


Answered 27th Sep 2019

Ideally you need someone thats not connected to either party to mediate between yourselves. Someone that fully understands what is needed by each side. Reach an amicable decision to finalise the work and all is satisfied.



Answered 27th Sep 2019

That was a long answer Frankie. Long story short.. I have been in business over 22 years and have a lot of customers who buy turf day in day out.... I hear everyone's story's of this kind..... I would NOT go to court, do yourself a massive favour and call the job off and pay him/her back any moneys you owe or materials and get out of there, let someone else get creamed in court, they will just go to a solicitor that takes a % and the customer will always win a Court case, I know so many small companies that have been took to the cleaners in court its unreal. Call it a bad quote, learn from it, dont do it again, simple, call it a loss and make the loss up on your next jobs. Your not the first and you certainly wont be the last to go down that road. Call it a loss and move on to the next job with a big smile telling yourself your better than this bring on the next job! 👍


Answered 5th Oct 2019

It’s an honest mistake but you have to live with a loss, however don’t repay the materials and charge at least half the labour. It’s a learning curve


Answered 10th Oct 2019

Post your job to find high quality tradesmen and get free quotes

Can’t find an answer? Ask a new question

Question Categories