Experience with a Local Business

I have recently had some work done around my house and I have to say that I am quite disappointed in the quality of the work that was performed. This was perhaps my own fault because I only got one bid for the actual work that was performed, but in my own defense only two of the places I called even responded to me and only one, the one that did the work, actually gave me a bid.

The issue at my house was that I had water ponding in my back yard. I am not a grading expert, so I felt I should call in a professional to perform this work, lest I make the issue worse. The company owner came out and told me what they’d be doing and upsold me a gravel driveway renovation as well. I was given a quote, told I would need to pay half up front for the work and that the work would probably only take one or two days.

On the first day of work a team showed up in the morning and started work right away. By the end of the day they had dug out all the places that they would be placing drain pipes. Since I work from home I was able to monitor their progress a bit and noticed that no transit was ever used and nothing was ever staked off. I would have thought that would be the first thing done when grading, but I thought maybe that would come later since the first day seemed to be just about prepping the drainage system.

On the second day they came back out and worked most of the day. Before they even arrived a gravel truck showed up and asked where he needed to dump his load of gravel. He said he would dump it out of the way, but then proceeded to dump it right in the middle of the work area and left. I called the contractor and told him about this and he said not to worry that his guys would move the gravel out of their way so that they could complete their work. They arrived about an hour later and worked about 5 hours. I was busy with work that day and didn’t really get much opportunity to step away and check what they were doing.

They left around 3pm that day and when I went to check on things a couple hours later, several things had gone wrong. They had not made one of the drain pipes flush with my house and had disconnected the down spout from the house and bent it out to fit. Part of the driveway renovation was to be that the vegetation would be removed and the new gravel would then be placed on the ground. They did not do this and instead just put the gravel over the vegetion with vegetation sticking up through the gravel. Their skid steer driver had hit my garage and bent the siding in one spot and had also run over an antenna mast I had laid in the back yard well out of what I thought would be the work area, bending it to the point that it was no longer usable. There were also skid steer ruts all over my yard and all of the dirt that was left over was not spread into low lying areas of the yard as the owner and I had discussed, but were put in areas of the yard that I thought would not be touched.

I informed the owner of these issues via email, with pictures, and he responded that his crew was not done and they would come back out and fix everything. The next day they did come out and fix some of the issues and laid down a hefty layer of straw and seeded what they had done. They said someone would come back later and fix the driveway and finish up. Then later on an electrical contractor came out to hook up the sump pump. Instead of hard wiring it like I was told it would be done, they installed a plug and ran wire over the top of the ground with conduit only partially protecting the wire. These contractors were also drunk when they came back from lunch.

Then it rained for a day or two. I noticed that the water was still ponding in my back yard, perhaps more than before and I noticed that the ground did not even slope down towards the drains that had been installed. I once again informed the contractor of this and told him I could see a big hump of dirt preventing the water from draining (it had been hidden by the straw). He said they would come back out and fix it when they came to fix the driveway.

When they came to do the fixes, I did keep and eye on them much more closely. They did do the driveway as expected, although the skid steer driver hit my garage again, but at least this time he told me when he did it. I also overheard them talking about what other work needed to be done and they just said exactly what I had written in my email to do, so it was clear they didn’t really know what they were doing, they just were doing what I said to do in the email.

After they left I was pretty done with the whole situation. The work is amateur at best. The yard is still not graded, with ruts and humps and low spots still existing. The water does seem to be flowing to the drains, so at least that part “works”, but I haven’t have a hard rain to really know if it is fixed or not. Looking at the drains, they are not level and look pretty bad. The driveway is okay, but the gravel they used is gravel for grading driveways, not really a very good surfacing material, which I didn’t know when I signed the contract.

I paid what was invoiced to me and told the contractor that I considered the work complete. I mostly wanted them gone from my property, because even though I was not satisfied with the work, I do not think that they have the necessary skills to properly do the job. Ultimately if any additional work needs to be done, I will either do it myself or find a more diligent contractor to do it for me. Unfortunately, I am out of money right now, so any additonal work to be done that costs money will have to wait until I can replenish my reserves.