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There's a lesson here... Options
#1 Posted : Friday, August 22, 2003 8:09:48 PM
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I would say C and F which you didn''t list. (F) Do the job yourself. It only takes you a couple hours to learn how to use a backhoe reasonably well. ;)

But realistically you would have been better off with D That way they would have been liable for any damages.

Bruce Holman
#2 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2003 1:31:30 AM
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I did consider the do-it-myself option. However the job was on the side of a steep, sandy hillside overlooking the lake...didn''t seem like the best setting for a learning experience.
(The fact that The Guy was actually an experienced operator, and still tobbogganed downhill into a tree, gives some idea about how dangerous the work was.)
Oh, and the irony is that The Guy had actually completed the difficult part of the job when he took a powder. If he''d stayed one more day to finish, he could have doubled his money.
Some guys......
#3 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2003 2:48:23 AM
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I understand bruce! But he must not have been too experienced if he let it toboggan down the hill! I know what you are talking about dangers like that. I have worked on hills too and your first cuts are at the top and you whittle it down once the top is level.
But At least you didn''t get screwed over for the full amount.
#4 Posted : Saturday, August 23, 2003 4:53:02 AM
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Bruce, I rented a trencher once, there was a two hour min. At first the thing scared the crap out of me, it said on the plate by the blade, that contact would result in dismemberment or death, and I believed them. the 1st 1/2 hr, haul it home and unload it. Then the next 45 min. or so walk around it and get your courage up, then 1/2 hr to do the job, then 15 min to take it back and go have a beer to settle your nerves. The second time isn''t so bad. Try it out on level ground first, then work your self up the the hard stuff.
Good luck, Hunter63
#5 Posted : Tuesday, August 26, 2003 2:26:08 AM
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Correct answer "c".

You likely live in a small town/rural area and know something about the person. He obviously is a skilled & competent worker when he wants to be. Although you likely knew he drank, you obviously didn''t realize the extent of his problem.
And you didn''t have to kiss some excavators ass just to get them to show up.

Nothing wrong with your intended plan.

Glad to see you have a sense of humor over the whole sordid experience. You''ll do very well in life.
#6 Posted : Tuesday, August 26, 2003 3:00:29 AM
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Well...being an equipment owner and operator(self taught).If a person wants to learn how to run a certain piece of equipment,renting one is sort of an expensive way to do it.Sorry about your trouble Bruce,it happens though.I got Hozed by a reputable contractor one time,so I went out and bought my first Bobcat and never had that happen again.
Bruce Holman
#7 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2003 5:28:45 AM
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"...Glad to see you have a sense of humor over the whole sordid experience..."

"I laugh to keep away the tears." --Voltaire.

"...You''ll do very well in life..."

We do, thank you!
#8 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2003 4:30:38 PM
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It is nice to learn from our experiences.
Bruce Holman
#9 Posted : Wednesday, August 27, 2003 9:06:39 PM
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...And to accept the fact that the mistake was MINE, not The Guy''s.
He''s a screw-up with a drinking problem, but in this case I was naive, or too tied up in the situation to step back and take a clear look at it.
Anyway, I don''t have any hard feelings toward The Guy, I just want to get the job finished and the dirt tamped down. It''s pretty close to done now.
#10 Posted : Thursday, September 04, 2003 11:13:21 PM
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Paying half was NOT a mistake. He did half and was entitled to something. Typically, one pays the correct portion (say, 25% if the job is to be paid in four installments. 50% if it''s half and half.) But ''holds'' back 15% of that amount as the holdback. So, a GUY would get (50% less 15% x 50%=7.5%)42.5% half way through a job. To be fair, it is also typical to have ''some'' upfront. After all, he was going to rent the machine and get it there. The real lesson is that you cannot save yourself harmless (legal phrase) from a real crook, a real screw-up or most forms of negligence. Best ''umbrella'' protection for all that? Common sense, references and maybe some insurance. Liberal, no-holds barred, let-er-rip, cover-everybody''s-rear end expensive reputable general insurance. And even then, they may try to ''wriggle''. And it is expensive.
I have been an arbitrator in matters such as you describe and, given the story, you would be awarded damages. But the award comes in the form of a paper document, not the actual money. If a GUY is a doofus, the extra paper isn''t going to help him see the light or right his wrongs. You will have just paid more to be proven ''right''. On a piece of paper. Big deal.
I have found a different way.........and it usually works. I get a quote, negotiate it ''tight'' and then say - "If you do it right, on time, on budget and exactly as I expect it to be done (and it is incumbent on me to be specific), I will add a 20% bonus. In exchange for that ''bonus'', I will not pay one red cent until it is correctly finished. Do you accept that? Or would you prefer the more ordinary partial payment deal? Most contractors ''jump'' for the bonus........BUT that is written in to the contract in it''s entirety.
"But, Dave, isn''t that more expensive?"
Sometimes. A little. But if the job was done ''right'' it is worth it. And when I am negotiating a bit ''tight'', I have usually carved 10%-15% off the original quote. So, in the end, it is not much more than 5% and I am asured of a happy GUY doing a job well. It has served me well for 12 years when a real estate developer. In fact, I had contractors bringing me deals so that they could play a part.
Bruce Holman
#11 Posted : Saturday, September 06, 2003 10:08:30 PM
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I like your plan, Costal...20% makes a worthwhile carrot for the guy doing the work, and unless he has had to lay out $ in advance for rental or supplies, he doesn''t get hurt. Good idea.

"...If a GUY is a doofus, the extra paper isn''t going to help him see the light or right his wrongs..."
True. And I''ve subsequently found that The Guy was in danger of going to the pokey for scattering bad checks like confetti.
However...The Guy''s Wife (a long-suffering person) got hold of a portion of the up-front money I paid The Guy, and used it to settle some of the charges against him by repaying the people The Guy had clipped with his wallpaper checks.
All in all, it''s been a learning experience.
The job is done now, the dirt is tamped down. And the young man who hired on to finish the job is a human dynamo. I''m calling him back next week to start on the next phase of the job.
#12 Posted : Sunday, September 07, 2003 1:38:48 AM
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AhhhhhhHaaa! ".........works in wondrous ways." The ''doofus'' was part of the process where you met the young guy you are hiring back. So, if you don''t count the math (and you should never count the math) you came out ahead. You got a new friend, maybe and a good worker for sure. "It always works out for the best" is pretty Pollyanna-ish, I know. Life according to Disney. But I have found that, if you look at the bigger picture, the nasties always pale into insignificance. And, if they don''t, then you are causing the nasties and their reoccurence is intended to teach you that.
"Why shouldn''t I count the math?" A whole bunch of reasons; the biggest of which is ''you can''t take it with you, anyway.''
"Gimme another". OK..here''s one........
My daughter smashed up my car (she''s fine, the car is not - it is a write-off). I never insure my cars for collision because I don''t hit things. Still, the expense was mine and so I accepted it with good grace. My daugher became a better driver as a result and that and her safety was good enough. A week later she won a $14,000 scholarship for her university (which I was going to borrow for). WAHOO! Smash all my cars if it comes back like that! But there''s more.......I still had to borrow to get a new car. So, I borrowed against the house. WAHOO! Over the last four months the real estate market more than tripled that borrowed amount. I won again! Bottom line: you are not in control. Luck (good and bad) happens. Accept it.

Bruce Holman
#13 Posted : Wednesday, September 10, 2003 10:24:47 PM
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What will be, will be...
(although sometimes it doesn''t hurt to get out and push.)
#14 Posted : Tuesday, September 16, 2003 2:22:44 PM
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I''m sorry about your misfortune. The complex here on St. Croix where we live (probably short term) hired an entire construction crew to build a lousing quasi-mobile home. The crew boogied out before finishing the job and left the island. The owner has paid $66k for a lousing trailer on land he owns. They have a bulldozer and backhoe here that they want to sell. I''ve wanted to buy it because they probably will sell it for less than $500. They don''t know how to replace the hydraulic seals on the cylinders (a couple are leaking like sieves) and have paid someone 4 times to replace the seals. It hasn''t been done correctly yet. If we were to stay here I''d buy it and learn to use it (on level ground). I''ve heard way too many contractor horror stories and peoples'' loss of hard earned income. Sorry about your experience.
#15 Posted : Tuesday, September 16, 2003 4:19:16 PM
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''vger'' ....? From the early Star Trek movie?
#16 Posted : Tuesday, September 16, 2003 6:04:27 PM
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Sterilize, vger must Sterilize!
Bruce Holman
#17 Posted : Tuesday, September 16, 2003 10:14:14 PM
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"...here on St. Croix where we live (probably short term)... --vger

You have my undivided attention...tell more.
Bruce Holman
#18 Posted : Tuesday, September 16, 2003 10:14:14 PM
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Okay, Students in Homesteading 101, here's the Problem For the Day:

I needed some major excavating done.
I rented a back-hoe, and hired a guy to do the digging.
Half way into the job The Guy asked for one-half of his payment down.
I gave him the money.
The Guy didn't show up the next day.
Nor the day after that...although his wife telephoned to ask if we had seen him (!).
The Guy hasn't been heard from since.
The back-hoe rental company was nice enough to only charge for engine-clock-time, not the several days during which the back-hoe sat idle; and to send out one of their best operators to get the back-hoe out of a very dangerous place on a steep hillside where The Guy had left it (out of fuel, with it's side windows smashed out where he'd slid into a tree).

Now, Class, for extra points for the semester, choose the correct answer:
(a) I should have checked The Guy's references more closely.
(b) I shouldn't have hired an operator who has an alcohol problem.
(c) I shouldn't have paid him until AFTER the work was done and approved.
(d) I would have been money and agravation ahead if I'd just turned the job over to a reliable excavation contractor in the first place.
(e) All of the above.
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