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HomeOff Topics › Contracting... excavating cost question
10-31-2013 04:19 PM  5 years agoPost 1
hootowl

rrProfessor

Garnet Valley, Pa.

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Looking for some help in a situation with a neighbor and luke-warm friend now.
I did a big excavating job for him. We talked initially about how much I would charge but I never gave him a figure. He said for sure he would compensate. I am not a seasoned contractor, just helping the guy out.

The job consisted of digging french drains around a swimming pool. He was having water intrusion that kept pulling the liner out after heavy rains. Yes this is a built in pool with aluminum sides and a vinyl liner. He said every time it happens it costs him $500 to have it drained and reset.

I was hesitant to give a price early on as I wasn't sure what we might run into but I knew I would only charge a fraction of what a contractor would charge. I also made it clear that I wasn't interested in doing much manual labor, just the excavating and some design and installation help. Part of the job also included removing two relatively large cypress shrubs and a bunch of grown in roots from nearby trees and plantings.

I used my truck, my backhoe and my hydraulic tilt trailer.

I started the job on a Saturday. Here, I find out he would only be available on the weekends... after I started. The first weekend he had his grown son help for a few hours. He never helped again. Too busy going to weekend college football games and partying. The whole rest of the job was just me and him. I ended up doing way more manual labor than I ever intended. I even asked him to get some manual labor but he just ignored me. At the same time I was having issues with my forearm... possible cyst, but he ignored that.

We worked for about four weekends and I spent a couple of weekdays myself trying to get the job done and get out of there. I asked him if he could take a day or two off from work. No answer.

When he saw I had pulled my equipment out after I was all done, he stopped over and said he couldn't thank me enough and he wanted to give me a gift. I said, we agreed on some form of payment. I said the job that was done would have cost about $5000 if done by a contractor. I looked up costs... averaging $25 a foot for french drain. We laid 180 feet of drain. Average depth about 3 feet.

So I said, how about $1000. His jaw dropped.

Here is a grown man around my age, not naive, knowing full well he's getting the job at 75% off and he starts complaining how he didn't have that kind of money readily available. He kept shaking his head saying he couldn't pay me all at once. I said no problem, take your time. Got $400 so far.

Apparently he thinks I'm the neighborhood bum who needs work so bad I'd work for a sandwich and a gift.

The thing that really bugs me is how he was willing to pay a contractor $500 on multiple occasions... a stranger, but when a neighbor does the BIG job, he wants to just pat me on the back and throw me some chump change while he goes to work and brings home a paycheck. The neighborhood houses are selling now for $410,000.

Am I charging too much?

Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep

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10-31-2013 04:52 PM  5 years agoPost 2
RCHSF

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NC

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Heck no, a grand is well, way more than fair. If you were friends, and hung out, and got use of the pool some. I would have said, he pay all your fuel for your equipment and give you $500.00. But a straight grand would be about the same. Either way.

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10-31-2013 04:52 PM  5 years agoPost 3
fla heli boy

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cape coral, florida

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10 days = 100 dollars a day??? For an equipment operator??? No way Jose. You gave him a helluva deal....

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10-31-2013 05:06 PM  5 years agoPost 4
ACKopter

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Florida

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Owning my own small equipment business for 20 years now I learned a long time ago how to deal with this situation. When it comes to friends, neighbors or relatives, either do the job for free or dont do it at all. Anything in between those bounderies and someone will come away with a bad taste left in their mouth.
Sorry for your bad experience but chalk it up to a lesson learned and move on.

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10-31-2013 05:14 PM  5 years agoPost 5
xcellgasman101

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WOODWARD, OKLA....

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You give some people a inch, and they won't stop for several miles!! Don't worry Hoot, your so called friend, knows how much you saved him, Hopefully he will come thru with the rest of the money that he owes you, But don't lose any sleep!! XGM/VGM

John Crotts
www.soonerhelicamproductions.com

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10-31-2013 05:48 PM  5 years agoPost 6
TruckRacer

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Des Moines, Iowa

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Neighbor, friend or relative ...... always get it in writing!

I learned that lesson the hard way.

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10-31-2013 06:32 PM  5 years agoPost 7
hootowl

rrProfessor

Garnet Valley, Pa.

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I just wanted to see if anyone at all thought I charged too much.
Thanks for the responses.

Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep

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10-31-2013 06:45 PM  5 years agoPost 8
fla heli boy

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cape coral, florida

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ACKopter is 100% right.

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10-31-2013 08:08 PM  5 years agoPost 9
ssmith512

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Indianapolis, IN USA

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Am I charging too much?
Yes.

In Philadelphia it's worth fifty bucks.

Steve

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10-31-2013 08:57 PM  5 years agoPost 10
Rob43

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Midland, MI USA

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Yeah, but, you ain't Bo Diddly! Hahahahahahahah! I love it!

Rob

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10-31-2013 09:37 PM  5 years agoPost 11
Scott1115

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Greenwich, CT

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+1 ACKopter

Your neighbor is wrong and being a jerk. I would send him a very polite note saying the cost if done by a contractor would have run 5k, you spent 10 days and used your own equipment, etc.... At $100 per day you thought you were being generous. It would be appreciated if you would pay me the remainder.

Don't expect payment, but make him feel like a sh!t. Just do it ery politely or it does not work.

Compass 7HV, Trex 550E
RCRCC

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10-31-2013 09:37 PM  5 years agoPost 12
bikersurgeon

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Monett, MO-USA

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Hoot, the answer to your question is: hell no! 1000 bucks for that job is very cheap....he should pay that with a smile AND give you that gift.

TT .90 TOW, TT x50, TT 50se, Ergo 60, TT .50 apache, MT cobra, MT, Trex450, 450 airwolf, TT .30,

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10-31-2013 09:46 PM  5 years agoPost 13
scott s.

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Orange, Ca.

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you should
Go back and undo all your work and let him start from scratch all over again. See how he likes that.

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10-31-2013 10:46 PM  5 years agoPost 14
hootowl

rrProfessor

Garnet Valley, Pa.

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http://www.getdieselpower.com/misc/Albany/

Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep

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11-01-2013 01:22 AM  5 years agoPost 15
bikersurgeon

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Monett, MO-USA

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Lemme guess...you're the one with work gloves on..... lol

That much excavation...and thought...would have cost much much more than 1000 bucks...heck, in the 80s when I worked excavation for my dad, he charged a 3 hour minimum just to pull the equipment to the job site, even if it was a 30 minute job (still a common practice amongst excavators)

TT .90 TOW, TT x50, TT 50se, Ergo 60, TT .50 apache, MT cobra, MT, Trex450, 450 airwolf, TT .30,

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11-01-2013 04:18 AM  5 years agoPost 16
Gary Jenkins

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Nowhere, US

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If you’re doing a job for money then get it in writing, signed, witness and notarized. Quote the price as by the hour and record all your dates with the times you worked, materials, fuel cost, your machine operating hours, etc. Avoid quoting fix price and completion date contracts.

If you do a job without a signed written contact you should assume you are doing it for free and may get no gratitude. Your expectations (financial) are not out of order, but they don’t much his.

You can’t win a court case if it's all word of mouth.

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11-01-2013 06:27 AM  5 years agoPost 17
S Crutchfield

rrNovice

Arkadelphia,Ar. usa

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Clear understandings make for long friendships
Hoot, after 20 years in residential tree service and another 20 in the home building business, I've found that friends and family are the hardest to work for. I never start a job without giving a solid bid. The kiss of death, is when a friend or family member says, "just go ahead and do it, I know you'll treat me right". They are always shocked when they get the bill, because what they really want is for you to do it nearly free.
Most Of the time, if you give them a price up front, they will never do the work.

Chaulk it up to experience and learn to say no...

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11-01-2013 10:50 AM  5 years agoPost 18
hootowl

rrProfessor

Garnet Valley, Pa.

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Great advice Chesterfield. And yes that is exactly what happened.
I am smart enough to know that when I have work done for me I want a contract. I guess since he wasn't expecting to pay much of anything at all, he didn't want a contract. We were friends... but only casual.

Not everybody is like that. Me in particular.. I had a grading job in my backyard. I had an older backhoe at the time and was pretty knew at moving dirt. The dirt was really hard clay. I couldn't get the yard level. I called a friend who had his own construction company. He pulled up with his big skid steer in tow. Unloaded it and spent about 2 hours leveling.

When he was done I handed him four hundred bucks.
There was no initial talk of payment in that case.

Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep

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11-01-2013 10:58 AM  5 years agoPost 19
hootowl

rrProfessor

Garnet Valley, Pa.

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Lemme guess...you're the one with work gloves on..... lol
No, I'm the good looking one without the hat.

Gary,

I know if I was in business doing this I would do all that. This was just a job for a friend. I don't really care that much if he doesn't give me all of what I asked for. No court thoughts. This is a picture of what people are like when money comes into play.

Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep

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11-02-2013 01:41 AM  5 years agoPost 20
Shawn Behrens

rrApprentice

DEEP IN THE BOG

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OMG I just looked at the pics of the job and am blown away. I think your "friend" is way out of line. It can be such a bummer when you give people the benefit of the doubt and they take such advantage. I like to believe people get the just deserts in the end. Hope things work out for you sooner than later.

RCROTORPRO
Compass Helicopters

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