Good news and bad news! The contractors are finishing up the grading today, the last day! Finally! What was supposed to take 1–2 weeks took 1.5 months, some of it weather related.
That’s the good news. The bad is that they didn’t complete the project scope. The planting area, which was our main priority is cleared and graded within a few feet of where we needed it cleared for vines. They did juuusssst enough so we can take it from here. They cleared about 4 out of 6 promised acres and have to move on to another client now. It’s ok! We’ll figure out the rest soon enough.
The back story? The guys were super eager to work with us, having spent a few days on the property before helping clean up the mess another crew left behind last fall. So they jumped at the chance to bid on the 6 acres we needed cleared, walked the property with us and gave us a competitive quote (this was after our original contractor bailed on us and we were scrambling to find someone who could come in quickly.) We really appreciated their flexibility to squeeze us in between two other projects they were working on. They said they could clear about an acre a day so 1–2 weeks tops. Perfect.
We were paying them a lump sum (a fixed price per acre) so we were not too concerned when they arrived the first week close to 9am and went home for the day around 4 or 5pm. We wondered if this was their idea of “squeezing in a project” between jobs, making a quick $20k. We supposed you could make $20k in a week or $20k in two weeks, not our concern. They seemed not to be in a hurry considering their work hours. Midway through the second week they said, “Hey, this might be more than 6 acres… if we go over, you’ll just pay us by the acre for the overage, right?”
Strange. We measured and were sure it was close to 6 but not much more than that. “Sure” we said, “no problem”. End of week two and they were sure they’d hit at least 6 acres and still had LESS THAN HALF of the block cleared. Ok, we better get to the bottom of this because either we’ll need to double our budget or they are way off. So we went out that evening after they left for the day and walked with a measuring tool and an app. It was with much awkwardness that we had to kindly let them know that they’d in fact only cleared 1.5 acres these last two weeks. Not 6.
At this point, if I were them, I would’ve reaaally picked up the pace to get this project done and move on, right? I mean, they had A LOT to go. Instead they worked a few more days, similar hours, and took Thurs/Friday off for an extended weekend vacation during gorgeous weather. The following week rained and they couldn’t work much. Towards the one month mark we started hearing from them how they had underestimated the project scope, should’ve paid more attention when walking the property and that personal finances were tight and they weren’t sure they could finish because they were no longer making any money on this project. Yet, they still hadn’t worked a 7am-7pm day. Not one. Dan’s scratching his head, how come they won’t work longer hours and finish this job already if its draining them financially? Why weren’t they picking up the pace, desperate to finish quickly?
We’ll never know, they tell us they did all they could. In the end, they’re leaving (amicably) with a little more money than they deserve and we’re left with a project unfinished. We are satisfied that it’s pretty close to ready for the next step so we’re choosing to look on the bright side!
Will we call them again? I honestly don’t know!