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WIBU to this gardener?

(33 Posts)
Rhubarbgarden Tue 19-Mar-13 12:58:50

I fear I may have caused a local gardener to take umbrage.

I got him round to quote for two jobs, some tree work and some ivy removal from the garden wall. He seemed a nice chap, we got chatting and I explained that I'd asked him to quote because he seems to be the only local gardener who actually seems to have horticultural qualifications, and as a qualified horticulturalist myself I wanted someone who knows what they are doing. I can't do the work myself because I have two dcs under 3, and my gardening time is sadly limited.

He sent me the quote yesterday. It was exorbitant. I asked for a breakdown of the costs as I really need the tree work doing but the ivy stripping may have to wait.

He replied saying that his spreadsheet had gone wrong, it was a good job I'd queried the quote because it should have been two thirds of what he'd said. Great, was my response, let's go ahead.

Then I got another email saying to ignore his previous figures, they were still wrong, and the final quote was closer to the original.

I responded saying that we'd like to go ahead with the tree work, but that the ivy stripping cost was a bit steep. I would like to have a stab at it myself on Friday when I have a rare day of childcare, so I could work out how long it would take me to do it myself, as it might be cheaper to just pay for childcare and do it that way.

I got a bit of a snotty response, stressing his qualifications and saying that if I wanted a skilled job I would have to pay accordingly. He didn't mention the tree work and ended with "I wish you luck".

I'm a bit worried he's got the hump. I sent a friendly reply saying "oh I'll probably be getting right back to you after an hour of having a go at it myself!" and how I appreciated his point about qualifications, but that the funds had to be there. I repeated that I'd like the tree work doing.

No response. I'm not sure what to do now. Do you think I was being unreasonable? I didn't mean to be but maybe I was. I was up half the night with a feverish baby so I'm not on top form and it's quite possible I've offended without meaning to. sad

TheChaoGoesMu Tue 19-Mar-13 13:00:09

No you weren't unreasonable at all.

YANBU - that is the point of getting a breakdown of costs - you can pick and choose what you want done.

Sounds like he was mucking you about with the pricing anyway. Just call him and ask when he is coming to do the trees.

LittleBunnyFeileFooFoo Tue 19-Mar-13 13:02:30

I don't see that YWBU. He is having trouble with his spreadsheet, and the changing of the quote, from high to low when you said no, then from low to higher when you'd said yes tells me he may have qualifications but he's not professional.

You accepted his second quote, for him to change it then get miffed is really not on at all.
Also, if he wants referrals, he should do the work you want, then you may hire him to do the rest.
But he sounds pretty dodgy to me.

StanleyLambchop Tue 19-Mar-13 13:04:14

I would have thought that he would need the work, so taking offence is cutting off his nose to spite his face. We usually ask for quotes to be broken down, depending on price we sometimes get all the work done, sometimes we pick the most essental. No company that has ever quoted us has taken offence, as far as I am aware. YANBU.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Tue 19-Mar-13 13:06:22


HippiTEEHoppoTEE Tue 19-Mar-13 13:09:37

He sounds like a terrible business man and I'd find someone else.

fubbsy Tue 19-Mar-13 13:10:00

YANBU you haven't done anything wrong. He sounds disorganised and unprofessional. He isn't behaving like he wants the work.

If it were me, I would be finding someone else to do the work.

PureQuintessence Tue 19-Mar-13 13:14:29

He sounds very unprofessional.

buggerama Tue 19-Mar-13 13:17:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PureQuintessence Tue 19-Mar-13 13:22:50

Speaking of dick.
I have a different gardener to call. This thread has reminded me.

DeepRedBetty Tue 19-Mar-13 13:28:56

Just because he's a pro gardener doesn't mean he's any good at either customer relations or sales!

Have you had any personal recommendations for gardeners/tree surgeons, qualified or not? I'd be happier with personal recommendation than paper qualification for anything like this tbh, although I appreciate you're qualified yourself just don't have tools and time to do it.

DeepRedBetty Tue 19-Mar-13 13:29:54

And come to think of it, you can always hire the tools and book a day's childcare!

pompompom Tue 19-Mar-13 13:31:04

Don't give him the work, he sounds like a prick.

Would it be cheaper/possible to pay for childcare for the day and do it yourself?

Rhubarbgarden Tue 19-Mar-13 13:51:11

Thanks all. I'm a bit of a people pleaser and I'm not good at being hard nosed. It's a small village, we haven't lived here long and I was hoping to develop a good relationship with this guy as his company is very highly rated locally. He did some hard landscaping for a neighbour and I was really impressed with the standard of the work. Eventually I hope to get work in the horticultural field again myself, once the kids start school, and as gardening is a small world it's important to get on well with the competition. I'd even thought of seeking part time work with him. confused

I think the problem may be that he doesn't actually need to try hard to get work because he's very in demand.

I guess I should take this as a positive, because it means there is plenty of work out there and rates for qualified gardeners are high.

In the meantime, I need to figure out if it would be cheaper to get in childcare while I do the work myself. Can't do the tree work though for various reasons.

Acandlelitshadow Tue 19-Mar-13 14:03:00

Any tradesman giving me a snotty response would be off The List faster than you could say 'what a cock'.

Find someone else.

PureQuintessence Tue 19-Mar-13 14:08:28

Maybe you dont need to be a trained horticulturalist to remove ivy off a wall though? confused

Any labourer might do?

BuiltForComfort Tue 19-Mar-13 14:10:28

Sounds to me like you needed him for the tree work but not the ivy (you don't really need a lot of horticultural qualifications to get ivy off a wall, but you do have to be careful about ripping out the cement between the bricks - so that might be very time-consuming and expensive on an hourly rate).

I wouldn't try to be too conciliatory but given your latest post, ring him up and say look the costs are too much for both jobs but I'd value your expertise and skills for the tree work, let's just confirm the price so we're clear and book him for that. You could even do the ivy yourself the same day that he's there and see if you get a bit more rapport going.

Rhubarbgarden Tue 19-Mar-13 15:06:11

It's a good point about not needing to be particularly qualified to do the ivy. But it is a very old wall so care is needed. The annoying thing is that there is loads of work to do in the garden, this is just the start. The gardener knows this too. I'd ring him up to clarify the situation as suggested, but the phone is never answered, it always goes to answer phone. He seems to prefer to communicate by email.

BuiltForComfort Tue 19-Mar-13 15:08:24

In that case he sounds like hard work. There must be someone else you can get in, perhaps someone a bit less local? Or a specialised tree surgeon type?

issypiggle Tue 19-Mar-13 15:17:52

I'd go on rated people or check-a-trade, have a shop around, you might be able to find someone who could do the work for a fraction of the cost of cock lovely person number 1. plus if they are good then you could call them back later. but no one should be like that, sounds like he is a bit up himself and giving you a high estimate could be that he thinks the work is below him. (totally apologise if i'm wrong).

EffieTheDuck Tue 19-Mar-13 15:22:23

I would be wary of a horticulturalist who is willing to do trees as well unless he is trained in arboriculture.

Bang a sliver of copper pipe into the base of the ivy. It will die very quickly and be easy to pull off. Give it three weeks to work.

PureQuintessence Tue 19-Mar-13 16:12:13

Google Review or ratings for that particular gardener.

And google other local gardeners in the vicinity. You may find they are cheaper and easier to work with

Rhubarbgarden Tue 19-Mar-13 16:20:09

Good tip re the copper pipe! Never heard of that one, thank you.

Yes I think you're all right and I should give up on this guy. This thread has made me realise he is a bit of a pillock!

ENormaSnob Tue 19-Mar-13 16:32:12

He sounds a right nob.

Get someone else in.

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