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How should I rate this company?
Old 04-12-2016, 01:58 PM   #1
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How should I rate this company?

A couple of weeks ago, we used Angie's List to hire a tree service company to remove a small willow tree that threatened our septic field and trim/thin some larger trees on our 3-acre, heavily treed lot.

The estimator, Ryan, walked the lot and recommended that in light of the large amount of work to be done, we purchase the work of a crew for a full 8-hour day for $3,000.00. The price was not out of line with other companies. Knowing we'd get a 10% Angie's List discount, we agreed, and at Ryan's suggestion, I made up a prioritized list of trees and shrubs "to get the most value from your day" as he put it.

On the day of the job, the crew of 4 arrived at 0745 and went to work. Other than coffee and lunch break, they never stopped. In fact, they worked so hard that by the 6-hour mark, the chipper truck was full. They wanted to leave. I wasn't happy, since we had purchased an 8-hour day and there was plenty of work left to do. They said they could continue to trim, but would have to leave all the branches on our lot - something I did not want. I asked if they could come back later and remove those limbs, and was told that wasn't possible, since "we are more than 2 hours from here." They cut some more wood and managed to chip it, but still left before 3 p.m.

It should be noted that a chunk of the crew's afternoon time was spent repairing a deep rut the chipper truck made in a neighbor's property. This accident occurred after I got the neighbor's permission (at the crew's request) to park the chipper truck on neighbor's driveway next to our property. It was just an accident, but again, fixing it was a time hit.

One other minor time hit: One of the workers noticed a landscape trailer on our property and asked us to name a price for it. He proceeded to bargain, and made an appointment to come on Saturday with friends to take it. (He never showed, no surprise). That was OK, but then I saw him and another crew member inspecting the trailer instead of working. That is something they could have arranged to do on their own time, not work time. I had to divert them to cut more branches.

So, I just got the $2700 bill, and am thinking how best to convey our experience on Angie's List in terms of Price, Quality, Responsiveness, Punctuality, and Professionalism. On the one hand, they did good work and cleaned up their messes. In their defense, I could've shut down the bargainer and told the man to come back later to make his offer. The damage to the neighbor's property was an accident. And the chipper truck truly was full (I saw it). On the other hand...darnit, we were sold an 8-hour day, not "whenever the chipper truck is full."

Your thoughts?

Amethyst
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:10 PM   #2
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I would say, they gave you an estimate to get rid of the tree for $3,000. They did the work. They get paid and rated well.

I would not have given you two additional hours if I was the tree guy.
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:15 PM   #3
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What did you expect them to do, come back and give you a couple of extra hours for free? The company gave you the crew, equipment and truck for the full day (they obviously couldn't get another small job done in the short interval before 5:00), so they honored their contract.

Down rating them would be grossly unfair IMHO.
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:30 PM   #4
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Presumptions about "what I expected them to do" aside , what rating do you think they deserve given the facts I presented? A, B, C?

Amethyst

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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
What did you expect them to do, come back and give you a couple of extra hours for free? The company gave you the crew, equipment and truck for the full day (they obviously couldn't get another small job done in the short interval before 5:00), so they honored their contract.

Down rating them would be grossly unfair IMHO.
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Old 04-12-2016, 02:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Presumptions about "what I expected them to do" aside , what rating do you think they deserve given the facts I presented? A, B, C?

Amethyst
You have another option, which is not to rate at all. Not a bad option if they fulfilled their obligation to the best of their ability but you are not satisfied.
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:00 PM   #6
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Could a lazy crew worked a full 8 hours and not have accomplished as much? Would you have known if they were professional slackers and worked the clock very well?
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Senator View Post
I would say, they gave you an estimate to get rid of the tree for $3,000. They did the work. They get paid and rated well.

I would not have given you two additional hours if I was the tree guy.

I do not agree with your comment. The final agreement was an 8 hour work day, not taking down a tree. They did not fulfill that agreement.




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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
What did you expect them to do, come back and give you a couple of extra hours for free? The company gave you the crew, equipment and truck for the full day (they obviously couldn't get another small job done in the short interval before 5:00), so they honored their contract.

Down rating them would be grossly unfair IMHO.

Where do you see her asking for any free hours She paid for 8 hours and got 6. She did not pay for a specific service where once they were finished they could leave... they still owe her 2 hours of work...


To OP, I would talk to the owner and say they did 6 hours worth of work and if 8 hours was $2700 then 6 hours is $2,025. If you want to get into them having to fix their accident on your time that is something you can do, but I would probably let it go.
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:31 PM   #8
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Where do you see her asking for any free hours She paid for 8 hours and got 6. She did not pay for a specific service where once they were finished they could leave... they still owe her 2 hours of work...
You're right. Reading the OP more closely, I guess it would have been reasonable for them to keep cutting for two more hours, but I would not expect them to haul away whatever didn't fit in their truck. Chip it maybe, if desired.

Where I live, the last time I had similar work done, I got three guys for five hours for $1,800. So the price seems a bit high, but there are huge geographic differences.

I still wouldn't give them a bad review based on my reading of the story.
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:34 PM   #9
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My take is that you did not get the full service that was estimated. 6 hours is not 8 hours. If the chipper could not hold any more, I seriously would have asked them to dump it, because we could use it. May not be the case for you.

Given the lack of value, and all the other items you point out, I would ding them a whole bunch on quality of work. It's a good lesson, and you've identified them as a ragtag band of tree cutters. Post that you expected $3000 of work, but only got $1500, and add 3 bullets that explain why you think that way.
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:36 PM   #10
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I agree with Texas Proud - she paid for 8 hours and got 6. The other things are incidentals, and travel time is not the customer's problem, it is part of the cost of doing business.

I'm not familiar with Angie's List's format but can she post her review there just as she did here? (Angies List is not active in this area.)
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:37 PM   #11
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I wonder if they counted driving time toward the 8 hours. If they did and did not tell you that's a drag, but I've had an experience where drive time was counted toward total work hours.

Won't fall for that again!

But I would give them a B rating overall given your description.
It's a good lesson learned- rely on the scope of work not the hours worked because they may not sync up at the end of the day.


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Old 04-12-2016, 05:45 PM   #12
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Have you talked to the owner about your concerns? I might try that first. What would you like to happen, someone come by to give you the 2 hours or a reduction on your bill? If you feel you didn't get what you agreed to why would you pay without a short discussion.It sounds as if they underestimated the size truck they would need to keep cleaning up. This would probably fall on the shoulders of the original estimator.

I would give the owner a chance to explain the time shortage first. I'm somewhat curious if the workers got paid for a 6 or 8 hour day.

Any review do you should probably include these details so it is informative for other list readers.
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Old 04-12-2016, 06:19 PM   #13
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All I can say is wow. Amethyst, I agree with you that that is just unacceptable. Any reviews that you do should reflect facts and figures and should state your thoughts about them just as you have stated them here.

Also, I would not use them for any future work, but then I doubt you would.

Parenthetically, the differences in costs (including tree trimming/removal work) between your region and mine just blow me away. Everything is so much more expensive there, almost as though we live in different countries. But then your area has its advantages, too.
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How should I rate this company?
Old 04-12-2016, 08:05 PM   #14
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How should I rate this company?

I would expect them to prorate the bill for actual hours worked. You maybe should have paid a bit less but the bill was 2700 instead of 3k quoted. The bit about oogling the trailer I would overlook but I would use the time to fix the ruts as leverage. It sounds like they are conscientious so I would tend to give them close to a top grade. For future reference I would try to find a place to let them leave the chips since it will take them more time and possibly cost for them to dispose of the chips responsibly. I sometimes take chips from trucks working in the neighborhood. They make wonderful ground cover or mulch or compost. You will get more work from the crew if they can leave the chips.

And I just realized the $2700 was with your discount so I would challenge it.
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Old 04-12-2016, 08:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
I do not agree with your comment. The final agreement was an 8 hour work day, not taking down a tree. They did not fulfill that agreement.

....
At least from the OP, that was not clear to me:

Quote:
hire a tree service company to remove a small willow tree that threatened our septic field and trim/thin some larger trees on our 3-acre, heavily treed lot.
Did they do that? If so, OP got what was paid for.

I sort of interpret that comment about hiring the crew for 8 hours, as maybe that is just cheaper than piecing out the price of each tree trim? Sort of like buying a case of 24 at a discount, when you only need 15, but a case is cheaper than 15 singles.

But OP agreed to the price, and if the work was done, I think that's OK. As was mentioned, they could have worked slower and done less work - would that be better?

Hmmm, but maybe this changes things - I guess it's not clear to me:

Quote:
I made up a prioritized list of trees and shrubs "to get the most value from your day" as he put it.
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:17 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post

The estimator, Ryan, walked the lot and recommended that in light of the large amount of work to be done, we purchase the work of a crew for a full 8-hour day for $3,000.00. The price was not out of line with other companies. Knowing we'd get a 10% Angie's List discount, we agreed, and at Ryan's suggestion, I made up a prioritized list of trees and shrubs "to get the most value from your day" as he put it.


Amethyst

My bold etc.... I do not see any other way to read this....

Since this was the agreement, they did not live up to it...
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:09 AM   #17
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I think my rating would depend on how far the tree company made it through your prioritized list of work for the day. If the crew had been 3 workers, they might have done the same amount of work but taken a bit longer. Based on the original post, I think I'd go with a B.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:10 AM   #18
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Thanks for everyone's perspectives. I will try for a bit more discount from the company, although I don't expect to get one. And I plan to post a "B" review overall, with an "A" for the workers' hard work, and a few dings for the time lost, which I feel goes to the sales rep. The chipper truck's inadequate capacity was not the workers' fault, any more than "being 2 hours away" was our fault. The estimator was very clear that for the price charged, we should try to get all the trimming done we possibly could in 8 hours - there was no limit placed on number of trees and shrubs. The contract mentions the willow tree, which was not very big, and then "Prune and trim all over property."

I love wood chips and considered asking for them, but the problem was that they could only have dumped them in a giant pile in our driveway. We would have had to move them by hand, bit by bit, in a wheelbarrow. They were afraid to drive the chipper truck on our land because it might sink in (as it did on the neighbor's property); I could see why they would not want to take the chance.

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Old 04-13-2016, 11:26 AM   #19
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Late last year I posted a review on AL that was not flattering, but I thought was honest. The next day the owner called me. He was very angry, telling me how that review was going to damage his business, and asked me to reconsider, asking if I was interested in "some compensation". When I refused he lost his temper, yelled at me, and hung up.

His calling me was not a surprise, AL says (somewhere) they make the reviewers info available to the business.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:32 AM   #20
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Late last year I posted a review on AL that was not flattering, but I thought was honest. The next day the owner called me. He was very angry, telling me how that review was going to damage his business, and asked me to reconsider, asking if I was interested in "some compensation". When I refused he lost his temper, yelled at me, and hung up.

His calling me was not a surprise, AL says (somewhere) they make the reviewers info available to the business.
plus I believe that makes you a target for a potential lawsuit by the business owner?
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