Clients block me

califajoyOctober 31, 2004

One of my clients stop picking my call, did not return my call, should I go their home and knock the door? it seems very foolish, I am in the middle of the work, I want to complete the work and receive payment, the clients gave me 25% initial payment, do I have right to collect the rest of design fee?

This is the only client that husband and wife had totally opposite ideas, every meeting I spent almost four hours with them, I was patient to listen, it was very hard to work on that project, that is the job I spent too much time and not make enough money. Can I ask client real answer why they block me? Did I do something wrong? I know I will never get the answer.

Should I respect their choice, not to bother them, forget about it?

One more question, how do I prevent this happen again?

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jeremy_b(5b ME)

I would send them a letter reminding them that you have been unsucessful in contacting them, and that you cannot complete the design without their input. Ask them to contact you when they are ready to continue the design process. Then just go on to the next project until you hear from them. If you don't hear from them in, say, two months, bill them for the time you have spent, minus the deposit.

I doubt you did anything wrong, people are just flakey sometimes.

Jeremy B

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 8:51AM
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landscapelight(zone 10)

First I'd learn how to express myself properly with literate sentences. Perhaps they don't take you seriously. Are you a credentialed professional? Are you working with a contract? Me Tarzan, you Jane Ugh! You are kidding right?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2004 at 8:40PM
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treebeard(z5 MA)

Letter first. Visit second. If they do not respond to your letter, then pay them a visit to get things cleared up.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 6:54AM
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califajoy

Thank you for reply, the problem has been solved.

I will be carefull next time to list in the contract, if client stop, I should collect the rest of design fee.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 11:26AM
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mich_in_zonal_denial

Califajoy
could you post your contract ?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 11:54AM
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deeproots(8b South Ga)

good call... despite us having good contracts (check over by the law) I'm really interested in seeing other contracts.

we can all improve i'm sure

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 4:29PM
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inkognito

landscapelight shines a beam of rudeness that outshines anything that I have ever been guilty of but beyond that it may be possible, after all, to get something of value from this enquiry.
I think joy is me, or you, some years ago, the approach has been somewhat weird but nonetheless familiar, English is evidently a second language but as far as I know this is not a crime.
If you have a formal contract post it, whoever you are. There is not a contract that will cover every eventuality but....

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 6:48PM
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bonsai_audge

...you're never gonna completely cover your @$$ with a miniskirt?

-Audge

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 9:08PM
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califajoy

I am too shy to post my contract, do you have contract example to show me so I can improve?
Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 9:43PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

The situation you described between a disagreeing husband and wife is a recipe for a potential disaster. I have one set of client who puts me in this impossible situation constantly. The only way I can continue to work for them is knowing that the wife is passive aggressive and needs to complain, and that ultimately the husband feels he gets to decide the final result because he is paying the bills. It has resulted in some occasionally very ugly verbal scenes while doing work on the property.

If you can deal with such a situation, at least make sure the money compensates for the extra hassle. If it doesn't, I wouldn't touch such a client and project with a ten foot pole. If your gut instinct is telling you that the clients will be problematic, trust your gut. With such clients, never get too far ahead with your work, and I'd suggest a payment schedule that is pay as you go, or with retainers in advance of each phase to guarantee payment. Or you could act like you are independently wealthy, which perversely often seems to make potential clients value your time and input that much more, and be more willing to pay for it. My advice is, never let them know you are hungry or actually might need work, nor discount your rates if it doesn't feel right...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 11:29PM
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vandyken

Fortunately most couples consist of 1 person who has absolutely no interest in the yard.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 2:42AM
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mich_in_zonal_denial

I am too shy to post my contract, do you have contract example to show me so I can improve?
Thanks

All taking and no giving does not make for a good balanced exchange on these forums.

get over your shyness and get professional.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 12:58PM
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deeproots(8b South Ga)

too shy? or you don't have a contract and this is your odd way of asking for a freebie contract lesson?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 1:45PM
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miss_rumphius_rules(z6 NJ)

There is no reason to be shy. If you truely don't want a repeat of the current problem, post your contract, get critique and learn. Isn't that why you asked the question in the first place?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 3:24PM
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bambooo(6 CT USA)

I think that the original poster is both learning to master the English language and culture of doing business in America.

I am glad that landscapelight is 3000 miles away from me and could not express myself any better than INK a few posts previous to mine.

Califajoy, don't be afraid, having your contract picked apart here is much better than not being paid for work you have done.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2004 at 9:18PM
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califajoy

My last question has been solved, now I have another problem, one contractor refered me to a client, a very big project, maybe I was too nervous, I was anxious to get that job, maybe I wanted to show my best because that contractor refered me, maybe the cell phone converestion was not clear, when I called the client, we only talked a minute, she said she will call me back, not she did not call back, what should I do?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 12:24AM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Here's my take....

There are still many in this country that are biased against those that do not speak perfect English. Sorry-But I believe this is a correct observation, like it or not. The last thing many want are hassles with a contract and they percieve additional problems with someone who is not a perfect English speaker.

I would really suggest additional conversational English classes and maybe even a basic grammer class to correct sentence structure, comma trama and the like.

And let the kind people here look over the contract...They have plenty of experience, lessons learned (good and bad), and are professionals in their fields. Also, English is one hard language and there are plenty of mistakes to be made-even by the profecient...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 8:03AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

I have to agree with Rosa; I do believe there are far too many Americans who equate less-than-perfect English with a less-than-perfect intellect.

I think you would be wise to invest in a well-designed print flier that highlights some of your work. Work with someone on the language to ensure that it's absolutely perfect and flows well. Then when you get a referral, mail that off immediately. Unless it's absolutely urgent, wait a couple of days to call, so they have an example of your work in hand before they speak with you.

Second, I would be concerned about the cell phone. Did you call on the cell phone because that was convenient, or do you not have a land line? If you don't have a land line, I would consider investing in it along with a good quality phone. Make sure that the tools you use for communication don't add to your difficulty. I know I have had a much harder time understanding some people with accents when I am on my cell phone versus a better quality phone.

Good luck, Califajoy, you seem to be trying hard!

V.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 2:52PM
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landscapelight(zone 10)

I will guarantee you this person has no credentials, probably does not pay proper income tax and has absolutely no right to be in business. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it's a duck. It's unprofessionals like this that give the green industry a bad name. Shame on you for supporting and encouraging this kind of behavior.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 6:29PM
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laag(z6CapeCod)

A client looking for landscape design work will hire a good designer whether he or she has an accent or not. I think that is not an issue unless communication is extremely difficult. Califajoy communicates well. I grew up watching people treat my father with high respect despite his accent. That is not the problem.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 9:11PM
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bonsai_audge

I don't think an accent really has to do with anything, much like Laag said. But what I do think that matters most is the ability to convey ideas. An accent doesn't really have much to do with it, but if one cannot word their ideas in a clear and concise manner, people will find it hard to interact with said person.

The professional gardener forums isn't an english grammar class, but part of being a professional in the field of landscape design does require the ability to communicate ideas clearly at the very least, as that is an integral part of the business.

-Audric

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 11:33PM
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miss_rumphius_rules(z6 NJ)

The art of effective communication includes much more than spoken language. Something is not being communicated effectively, and unless we are on the receiving end, we'll never know what is missing.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 6:45AM
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gardengal48

landscapelight, you have absolutely no justification for your statement. It is not based on any firsthand knowledge and therefore specious in the extreme and smacks of bigotry. All of us started out in this business with varying degrees of knowledge and skill level and professionalism is a learned skill - so is politeness - and some of us learn it faster and better than others. Supporting and encouraging increased professionalism is what this forum is all about - not for demeaning someone who is obviously somewhat new to the game and has the added disadvantage of a language barrier.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it must be a duck and an unpleasantly rude one at that.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 10:26AM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

I have encouraged civility in these forums over the years; however, something is odd about Calijoy's posts. There seems to be something of a disconnect between the novice level of questions he is posing and the advanced level of design/installations he is describing. Something that goes beyond any confusion wrought by the English as a second language issue.

I think maybe that is where some of the confusion and hostility is coming from.

I have aked that Calijoy tell us a bit about him/herself so we can place him in terms of training and experience. He has not responded. Others have asked him to post his contract. Again, no dice. INK has written that he suspects Calijoy may be a bogus poster having fun asking crazy questions in the forums.

It seems that something is missing here. Again, as Ms. R. writes: "Something is not being communicated effectively, and unless we are on the receiving end, we'll never know what is missing."

If Calijoy reveals himself a bit, he may be better received. Or a least experience less hostility.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 11:01AM
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mich_in_zonal_denial

Do you think Calijoy has anything to do with bananas ?

hmmmmmmm. Or least some sort of convoluted association ?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2004 at 11:32AM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Convoluted asociation:

Remember the Woody Allen film, "Bananas," Michelle? Allen is a nebbishy-type guy who goes to San Marcos for a vacation and becomes the revolutionary head of the country thru a series of mishaps . . . h-mmmmmmm, indeed.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 8:00AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Reminds me of "3 Billy Goats Gruff." The troll character. I smell troll.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 7:44PM
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landscapelight(zone 10)

What a waste of space

    Bookmark   November 9, 2004 at 11:08PM
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LinLee(z5 MI)

This is curiousÂand I could be totally off on this.
But, there has always been a strange rhythm, or lack
there of in CalÂs posts.
Sometimes the Âthe and ÂonÂs are dropped then the
very next sentence is complete and dare I sayÂvery
American in the turn of the phrase.
Just an observation.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 7:45AM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

Not a complete waste of space as, despite the source, good questions were asked and answered; lurkers and posters alike no doubt learned something from the replies to the various posts. The thread on California regional style was pretty interesting and informative, too.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 9:32AM
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califajoy

I am glad the forum remain open, and I see lots of answers, thank you for concerning.

I am a real person, don't need to guess who I am, until one day, I become rich and famous... my accent doesn't bother most of clients, acturally they feel I am special, when clients become good friends, that is the most valuable for me. Some people close door to me, I still think positive, I believe good project will come soon.

I just open a showroom, my partner helped me a lot, it is a cosy place, near the beach, I am looking for high quality garden furnishing, I mean the best quality, do you know any vendor?

Another showroom I am working with other partner, that is very big project, it will be nursery convert to garden. I am interviewing, but it is hard to find compatible employee, maybe you can give me some ideas.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 11:31AM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

No doubt you are a real person califajoy. But it's hard t help you not knowing anything about you. I don't mean your name or address or where you live, but your gender, experience, etc.., would help alot. As one poster said,
"All taking and no giving does not make for a good balanced exchange on these forums." Without some giving here you may find that no one want to contribute suggestions to your questions/problems.

I too am seeing something that doesn't quite fit. Califajoy,You say that you and your partner opened a showroom and you are wondering where to purchase really high quality gardening furnishings? What the heck do you have in it now?
What are you interviewing for-the job,to work as a partner with someone or interviewing people to work with you??

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 6:44PM
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inkognito

Curiouser and curiouser. Califajoy in wonderland.
Here is someone who cannot negotiate a contract, has no idea how to communicate with either client or contractor, has two different partners involved in showrooms with nothing to show, was once an estimator but does not know how much to charge. It can only be make believe.
You have had your fun boyo now buzz off.
So that no one gets the idea that I am being frivolous let me say that there are a lot of hard working and genuine people who come to this forum for support and stuff like this is demeaning to them and their supporters.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 7:20PM
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bonsai_audge

And also, why do you keep on changing the topic? I mean, first you ask the question on what to do if a client blocks you, then you come up with a situation where you have a quick phonecall with a potential customer, then after that you say that you're opening a showroom.

Also, you say that you are dealing with quite a few design projects. It seems that in every single thread there's another project with another problem. You have "severl custom home design project over an acre."

AND, your business is little over a month old. In Vectorworks 11 design program, you stated, "I just start my design service." The date? Thursday, October 21, 2004. And since then, you have gotten several large custom projects, a project that you're in the middle of, a showroom open and yet another in the making. You must have been at that proverbial "perfect spot at the perfect time".

-Audric

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 7:42PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

It can be quite difficult to find the high quality garden furnishing, yes.

But we are here to help.

Here is a link that might be useful: high-end stuff

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 7:55PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

nice stuff, Eric.....LMAO!!!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 8:29PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Califajoy, you can obviously use the computer for this forum and others but cannot search the internet for plants in your region that attract bees? And you can't think of any either??? If you have no other resources or experience than this, your clients are in BIG trouble and you are way out of your league.

RE: plant police/invasive plant list from customer
Posted by: califajoy (My Page) on Tue, Nov 2, 04 at 23:04

anyone knows what plants attract bees?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 8:45PM
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mich_in_zonal_denial

I am especially pleased to see ethnic diversity amongst the lawn jockies.
Finally politically correct lawn ornaments .

Scoop 'em up Calijoy !

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 10:02PM
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miss_rumphius_rules(z6 NJ)

One must be politically correct and very careful in these uncertain times when using certain garden ornaments.

Here is a link that might be useful: PC gardening

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 10:21PM
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Ron_B

How come they're all looking in one direction but the cannons are pointing in another?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 12:32AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

One must prepare for the eventuality of a flank attack by those durn Yankees. Fortunately there are stone Civil War soldier statues available as reinforcements.

I don't know if the phenomenon of dressing one's stone geese has come to southern California, but now is the time to get ahead of the curve. The "Biker Girl" goose outfit (see link) is especially striking.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 8:37AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Eric, I'm extremely PO'd that you posted that picture of my yard without asking my permission!

V.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 9:54AM
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janengland

I just popped into this forum and am now in tears laughing at Eric's helpful photo, link, and subsequent posts...we see this stuff (lawn jockeys, haute couture geese, etc. ) in Florida all the time. I hate that we no longer have the monopoly on 'tacky'...sigh. Oh, BTW, where's califajoy? I can give him the butterfly plant list.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 8:06PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Dang, Eric! I've been looking for a lawn cannon for ages! Where'd you find those?!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 9:49PM
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Ron_B

In Miami they're probably all pointed at Havana.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2004 at 11:10PM
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deeproots(8b South Ga)

ron, miami is too far south...
the invasion already landed, Orlando is almost taken.

Seems us Georgians are still here to keep the 'spaniards' outta the states.
We mostly put them to work harvesting chickens and picking tomatoes.

dp

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 11:48AM
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ginger_nh(z4 NH)

"We mostly put them to work harvesting chickens and picking tomatoes"

Is this what you mean, DeepRoots?

http://www.ciw-online.org/slavery.html

Regards,
Ginger

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 2:15PM
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deeproots(8b South Ga)

I havn't seen that locally, heard about it in southern fl tho...
to be honest with you, most of the mexicans around here make more than I do.
Course I payem $8-14 an hour when the going rate is $4-$6. (course most of em are smarter than me)
*shrugs*
I just drive down to lil mexico city and go to the 'mexican unemployment office' (actually a trailer that about 6 families live in)
the ones I hire are refugees from Chiapas more than anything.
Good guys, the lot of em, and considering the local white trash won't work its a good thing we have them.

Didn't mean to come off racist, just really the reality of the situation.

dp

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 6:38PM
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mich_in_zonal_denial

Nah,
He's just being a good Christian ... just ask Bush.

Leviticus 25:44 states that you may possess slaves, both male and
female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations.
A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not to Canadians.
King George can you clarify ? Why can't I own Canadians?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 9:28PM
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Ron_B

Maybe they won't work, either, just like the local "white trash". But: who's gonna keep the Georgians outta the states? Aw now, don't go seein' red on me...

Is this thread still having "a failyuh tuh communicate"?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 9:43PM
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deeproots(8b South Ga)

good thinking mich, so can I go to alabama and rustle up some slaves?

and ron, most georgians (atlanta metro excluded) havn't been outta thier counties, let alone the state. I wouldn't worry bout them invading other territories.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 10:01PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Trouble is, you gotta let 'em go free after 7 years, or let them buy their freedom. The turnover and having to train the new guys is a killer.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 11:04AM
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mich_in_zonal_denial

The Hebrews get all the good breaks... they get to go free after just 6 years : Exodus 21:2

But if you sell your daughter into slavery she's gotta stick to the 7 year rule.. and no partying inbetween, only the guys can do that.
( the goils get the shaft again! )
Exodus 21.7

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 2:01PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Hey, at least they get to glean the outside edges of fields when they're widowed.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 2:55PM
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landscapelight(zone 10)

what a waste of space

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 10:27PM
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juniorballoon(Z8a WA)

Buck up delight. Your life can't be that bad.

Cheers,
jb

    Bookmark   November 19, 2004 at 10:17AM
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punamytsike(9b FL)

Wow, that was great, I actually got a bible lesson.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2004 at 9:12PM
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radwmack

Just passing through, and stumbled onto this thread...ROTFLMAO!!!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2004 at 2:58PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

It wasn't a waste of space after all. Our job here is done.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 10:14AM
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NOTHO__NANTUCKET

Help Mr. Wizard!!!!! trissle, trussle, trassle, trone time for this one to come home. Whitey B. is calling thee. N.N.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 5:15PM
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califajoy

how to close this topic?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2005 at 4:03PM
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superphosphate

Get out of the landscape businss.

The nursery business is so much more commoditized.
A pricing problem? Leave it to the best execution desk.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 12:00AM
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mjsee(Zone 7b, NC)

Oh. my. goodness. Came across this thread while searching for something...and thought y'all might enjoy a walk through the past.

Love y'all!

melanie

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 1:30PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I think actually there are quite a few people talking their way into - or maybe being given substantial projects through some other means, like referrals from contacts - who don't have it all put together yet. Somebody coming from overseas could even be a political refugee who made piles of money in the old country and can fairly easily get a shop or office started here because they have the means to pay for the it even if they haven't identified all the vendors and so forth.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 2:20PM
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inkognito

Say what beaboy?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 6:16PM
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laag(z6CapeCod)

What really freightens me is that this was 3 years ago. Just how long have I been doing this?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 6:47PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>Say what beaboy?I don't think somebody doing landscape projects - design or installation - that doesn't have it all together before they are getting the work is that rare. And somebody coming from say, Hong Kong because the political climate changed there might have lots of money to throw into setting up shop without having found out everything about what they were doing yet.

Other than that you can stop following me around the site and targeting me anytime. Misspelling my screen name makes your intent transparent - as if it needed to be shown. If you were speaking to someone in person would you mis-pronounce their name?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 8:08PM
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