You learn from your mistakes

Discussion in 'Other Trades Talk' started by aten, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. aten

    aten New Member

    I've been working as a labourer for a company that does gardens/landscaping among other things and I'm ready to set up on my own. The company I work for got an enquiry about tidying up a garden but they are booked up so said I could take it on as my own. The guy who deals with the company's admin isn't very experienced and told the customer what my hourly rate is so you can see the problem already. Spoke to the customer on the phone and she wanted some ivy taking off the fence and some slabs down in the front.

    It sounded straightforward so I thought ok it'll take a few hours and she can pay my hourly rate for that and I'll be on my way. When I got there she was ready to muck in and help and I soon realised she thought she was employing me as a labourer so she could micro manage every move. Over two mornings things became more and more ridiculous, like I couldn’t use the wheelbarrow because she was storing things in it, I couldn’t dig with a spade because it would make a mess, I was using my spirit level wrong. In fact everything I suggested was wrong and she was changing her mind every 5 minutes. Anyone else would have walked off immediately but I felt I couldn’t because I was worried she’d complain to my boss even though it was nothing to do with him. Obviously the job is nowhere near finished and to add to the insult she hasn’t paid me.

    So I should have known better and have learnt a few lessons from this but it never occurred to me that she would be there ordering me about all day. I suppose there isn’t much I can do except put it down to experience even though I am thoroughly p’d off still.

    What would you have done? Are there any other traps I should look out for next time?
  2. spirits are real 2016

    spirits are real 2016 Screwfix Select

    The company you work for might have already have heard about her strange behaviour and that is why they said they were to busy to take her on and was willing for you to take the job on , how did you dig holes without a spade..
  3. just pumps

    just pumps Screwfix Select

    I would calmly and politely explain then should she kick off you can ask for payment for work done and leave. She may not be aware of herself.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2020
    Jord86 likes this.
  4. welshblue

    welshblue Active Member

    You did better than me. I'd have just walked off and left her to it after ... at most 2 hours.
    Respect has to work both ways ...

    Good luck in branching out by yourself
  5. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Why have you not been paid?

    You should have asked her to clarify exactly what she was lead to believe via your old company and explained your own position before things got underway to avoid this scenario now, also should have put her square about your previous company hourly rate not your newly self employed higher rate. However if she's a bossy rude twot then it doesn't matter as you really don't want to work for her or people like her.
  6. aten

    aten New Member

    I think that's true, in hindsight the unfinished extenstion at the back should have been a warning sign but I was naieve.

    Levelling the ground for paving? Well with a scraper and tupperware box of course :p
  7. aten

    aten New Member

    She said a few times she'd transfer it but hasn't happened yet.
  8. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Then keep on reminding her, to the point of final demand before you drop a headed letter through the letterbox politely stating that you will be taking her to small claims court if she doesn't settle up promptly.
  9. Okoak

    Okoak Active Member

    Generally speaking and in my own experience, the following tends to apply.....
    1)if upon first meeting them someone gives you the impression that they are a bit odd or eccentric, it's because they are and they will be a pain in the ****.
    2) If at any point during the pricing/quote stage they ask for a discount, they will inevitably be bad payers and are best avoided.
    3) If at any stage they suggest that you provide a keen price because "there will be loads of work on the horizon that we want you to do" it's ******** and having done the job cheap you will never hear from them again.
    4) If they have had work done by other people recently, and especially if there is unfinished work, ask why the original contractor is not being called upon to do this job?.. Its probably because they didn't get paid either!
    5) If your gut feeling is telling you something isn't quite right, it's because something isn't right and you should tread very warily.
  10. koolpc

    koolpc Screwfix Select

    Tell her you want paying now befor you continue
  11. spirits are real 2016

    spirits are real 2016 Screwfix Select

    This is all so true i done some work for a so called family friend that wouldn't discuss money he would just say i will sort you out at the end you won't be disappointed half way through i demanded money for all the work ive done he paid me but wasn't happy and called someone else in to finish the work who told him to call me back in as i was a lot cheaper and knew my stuff he never did call me back..
  12. Okoak

    Okoak Active Member

    I had a great one earlier this year when I was working on a property which had been sold by order of the court as part of the estate of a criminal who had served time recently for a very substantial fraud and money laundering case.
    I waa aporoached by said recently released fraudster (who was living in an adjacent property) if I would be interested in doing some work, and that he had a mate in the west country who was a builder, and that I could invoice through him, and he could lose the money through his business and then pay the fraudsters who would then pay me cash.
    I thought long and hard for about a nano second before suggesting that I was too busy thanks anyway!
    gadget man likes this.

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