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cissie posted 6/29/2013 08:57 AM

I seem to have a whole slew of situations I find hard to handle. This is the most pressing.

I have a guy who cuts my grass. He also clears the snow in winter, and does a good job.

Unfortunately he fancies himself as a landscaper, but whenever he does anything beyond cutting grass or clearing snow he does a really poor job; for example, he trimmed some bushes back for me and he cut one back so hard that it died. Another time he left half cut branches on a tree for quite a while (said his saw broke, but it was months) and then finally came back to finish the job, when I called him.

He does not follow instructions either. He planted a tree for me and I had asked him to plant it so that he could cut around it. He put it close to the fence instead. I was away, and by the time I got back (a couple of months) it was a bit late to do anything about it.

I need some major landscaping done and I donít want him to do it. The problem is he will see when other people come and he will also criticize the work they do.

My problem is that he also does the grass cutting at the business. I do not control that but I will still bump into him there and it will be awkward.

Having written all this down I look like a wuss. Somebody help me get a spine and rein him in.

Amazonia posted 6/29/2013 09:20 AM

Have you expressed your disappointment in his work? For example, did you tell him after he planted the tree that it was not where you wanted it? Or just pay him and move on?

I would hire the landscapers, and if he asks, I would tell him that while he does a great job mowing, you knew that this was a bigger landscaping job, and wanted to hire someone who could handle the scope of work. End of discussion.

He is your employee. Not a friend who you're doing a favor by giving him work. If the rest of us doing a crappy job at our jobs, we don't get more work because of it, we get reprimanded or fired.

ExposedNiblet posted 6/29/2013 12:12 PM

Ama is right. You don't owe this guy anything.

Hire the other landscapers and if LawnmowerMan gives you any grief, look him in the eye and say:

"I'm sorry you feel that way."

Dealing with stuff like this is uncomfortable, but each time you do it, you shine up that amazing backbone a bit. Before long, you'll have a Super Shiny Backbone of Stainless Steel!

Good luck!


click4it posted 6/29/2013 12:16 PM

It is tough cissie to tell someone "thanks, but no thanks", but Ama and Exposed make good points. Look at it this way. If he were in your shoes, do you think he'd keep having that person come back? I doubt it.

cissie posted 6/29/2013 13:10 PM

Ama, EN and click, you are absolutely right. This is a business transaction, not a friendship. Even if it were a friendship I would need to put down some Boundaries.

I realize I am a total conflict avoider, but it has to stop sometime and now is a good time to start.

I think this is wanting people to like me.

ExposedNiblet posted 6/29/2013 13:21 PM

I think this is wanting people to like me.

I totally get this statement. That was me for way too long, then I hit 40 and things happened...

Keep reminding yourself that being a doormat does not mean that people will like you. All it means is that they'll walk all over you.

It doesn't matter if he likes you, cissie. He's your employee, not your friend.

Besides, we love you!

Amazonia posted 6/29/2013 13:26 PM

He doesn't have to like you. You pay him.

aesir posted 6/29/2013 13:48 PM

If conflict avoidance is the issue here, there is an easy solution.

Robotic mower:

Hydronic heating of sidewalks and driveway to melt the snow:

Competant landscapers:

cissie posted 6/29/2013 15:24 PM

aesir, good job I was not drinking anything when I read your post.

Thanks for the suggestions. My BH is dying to put in a heated driveway, and I am not going to let him see that lawn mower thing.

cissie posted 6/29/2013 15:27 PM

EN, I am well past 50 so I guess I had better shape up.

aesir posted 6/30/2013 00:45 AM

Actually cissie, the robotic lawnmowers vary a lot in price, but some are not that unreasonable when compared to the cost of a normal mower. There are even some solar powered ones where you cut the grass once, then just let them go and they munch on the grass as long as the sun is shining so that it stays forever at the cut height.

Studies in Norway have indicated that the cost of using electricity to melt the snow on the sidewalks is actually lower than plowing (especially considering the medical costs of slipping), and the heating does a better job because it leaves a dry sidewalk with none of those slippery patches. This also leads to a higher quality of life for people as they age because they can safely go outside in winter without worrying about falling.

The competent landscapers is the tricky part of this combo. You're own your own for that one.

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