OT Vent

wantoretire_didJune 9, 2005

Before I submit this to the local newspaper, any comments?

Just what does a modest property owner in this area have to do to retain the services of someone with knowledge of fertilization and weed control of a lawn to tend to that, do occasional yard work, plant 3 trees, and do some remedial yard work, excluding mowing?

We have admired a beautifully landscaped rural yard of someone who has posted a sign advertising landscaping, with a phone number, so called twice and received no response. We then responded to a good sized advertisement in one of the local weekly publications. The gentleman returned our call quite promptly yesterday and said that he would be at our home last evening to have a walkaround and give us an estimate. He called around the time he said he would be here and said that he was tied up at another job and would come over the following evening between 5 and 6. It is now 8:00 and we have not seen or heard from him. We can only assume that because we donÂt live in a McMansion, or an old stately home, we are not worthy of their services.

If these people are too busy, why advertise, or why not let it be known at the outset so as not to have us waiting, for a nonappearance.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


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Carol... very good question! I am afraid though that this is the same in every service field. "Serious" people are too busy for what they consider small jobs, others are simply not reliable. You are very right that they should be more outfront. Why make an appointment if they do not have the time!
If I understand correctly, you are going to submit this to the local paper. Right? Why not call these 2 companies, let them know what you are about to do? You do not name them in your article... why not?

As for getting some good people, why don't you check for recommendations with some neighbors, or even with your local co-operative extension? Good luck.
See you tomorrow,

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 7:39AM
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Anne Marie is right. I work in the environmental field and work with a lot of contractors. They don't want to do "small jobs" because they don't think it's worth the time, especially this time of year. They'll be busy until October and then they'll be crying for work. You could try smaller companies (that have ads in the Pennysaver) or see if you can hire some college / high school students to follow through with your plans.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 8:49AM
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That is maddening to be sure. I have had the best luck in hiring people who are already working in the neighborhood. Landscape people find it more cost-effective to go from one neighbor to another, rather than spending time driving. Don't know if there are houses near you where you like the work but I had the same experience you did til I discovered this little tip.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 9:43AM
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Anne Marie - Saner minds are prevailing so I don't think I'll submit that to the newspaper. I don't want to get a bad name in this very small town.

Booberry - the second person we called was from an advertisment in the Pennysaver or one of those. Unfortunately, hiring students, etc., leaves open a huge liability in case of injury.

Ginny - Most of our neighbors do their own mowing; I've only seen one service nearby. If worse comes to worse, I'll stop by and check them out.

We did call another local small company today and were promised a call-back. I know everyone in that field (no pun intended LOL) is very busy, and had hoped that since we don't want mowing done, as I do it, that might be more doable, just on a semi-seasonal basis.

Stay tuned, and thanks for your interest.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 12:52PM
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Arghhh. It sounds like my experiences with contractors! Years ago, we contacted 5 reputable contractors about a renovation project that would have been worth several thousand dollars. Of the five contractors, only three returned our phone calls, and we set up appointments with all of them. One of the three didn't bother showing up. The other two showed up, expressed interest in the project, and promised to get back to us with cost estimates. One sent us a cost estimate; we never heard back from the other one, although we tried several times to contact him. We finally decided to hire the contractor who had actually provided a cost estimate... then he, too, dropped off the face of the earth, never returning our calls!

Needless to say, in the end, we hired no one, and never followed through with the project. We bought a new house a couple of years later.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 5:33PM
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crankyoldman(z5 NY)

Reading these experiences, now I don't feel like such a chump about my boiler guy. He was not licensed to fix boilers, but he was recommended by a friend and certainly was experienced at fixing them. Thing is, he would never show up when he was supposed to, and then it would turn out he was fixing a boiler at an apartment building or a factory, i.e., where he would be paid a lot more. He had been paid the previous year to clean out the boiler but turns out he actually hadn't touched it, and it was so clogged that the boiler spyhole glowed red hot from the heat having nowhere to go. Lazy jerk could have killed me. And I had no heat when it was 30F out, but he didn't think that was a big deal and said he would be back "first thing Monday" (this was Thursday!) to clean the boiler the way he was supposed to. When he blew me off Monday, I told him I wasn't going to pay him anything for what he had done so far (leave the boiler in parts and put the wrong fuel nozzle on) and if he didn't like it, he could take me to court. I got someone who was actually licensed to work on boilers. He did a good job and on time and he had plenty to say about the work that had been (not) done on the boiler. Lesson I learned - pay the money to get a professional who not only knows what he is doing but conducts himself in a business-like manner.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2005 at 5:41PM
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We now have someone to do the lawn work and plant the trees, as well as an excellent handyman. We got lucky :-)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 9:28AM
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orcuttnyc(z5-6 NY)

This weekend, saturday afternoon at four o'clock, with twelve guests having arrived, to stay the weekend, the electric to my well pump died, leaving us with no water! Aye, yai, aie! My wife was so unnerverved that she was blaming the two beers I had with the hotdogs as the cause! How do you answer to that???
Anyways...I got into the yellow pages, found a local guy to actually come over!...He said he was doing not much anyways, diagnosed the problem, jerry rigged new wire, and got the water flowing! He only wanted to charge me for the wire and his time. No emergency over charges! And on a holiday!
I gave him a forty dollar tip, which he was really hesitant to take! What a guy! He even called his friend at a party, to arrange the trenching of the new wire.
I was really amazed that these people would go soo much out of their way on middle of a holiday weekend, and not abuse me cost wise.
Can you imagine twelve people, no water, showers, no flushing?
I told the guy that everyone would think of him, everytime they flushed! :)
I love the hospitallity of small town.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 8:47AM
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OrcuttNYC - Just goes to show that you never know. Some people just naturally restore your faith !! Too bad it's so rare...

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 7:07AM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

I've been a homeowner for 24 years. I am a single female. No one wants to do a small job anymore. Not painters, not landscapers, not plumbers, etc etc. I can't even find a local kid to mow my lawn. And yes, I am willing to pay these people!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 7:26PM
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