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Multiple gardeners on one job

I have a job I took on in October on the basis the client requested 4 hours a week.The garden consists of a rear patio garden with lavanders and buxus hedges and the front has some borders around the swimming pool and an large area of well kept field grass with several hundred metres of beech and Elaeagnus which has a border edge all around to be weeded and edged, the issue now comes that a few weeks I had everything tidy around the house, so I decided to weed border, when I noticed the beginning had been weeded in a poor fashion, and i was told by the client that the other 2 gardeners do that area, I then said that I was under the impression I was to do everything and when hedges were due if do extra hours, these 2 used to do everything that I do in 4 hours each a week and I'm now fortnightly as I'm too honest to hide on my phone pretending to work, obviously being kept on too do that part of their job due to hourly rate being so cheap. I don't like working like this and I have made it known, what would you guys and girls do.

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Replies

  • PRO

    I would at the very least state that what areas you do, you have sole charge over and would not be prepared to collaborate with these other gardeners. 

    At least that way your work will stand out from theres and they may decide to give you the whole job.

  • Personally, I’d politely recommend that the current gardeners continue as they are and the client can call you in when the bigger jobs like the hedges need doing. I hate not being able to get stuck into a garden because it’s somebody else’s job, but still be expected to be there!
    • PRO

      I have come across this myself multiple gardeners on the job , I don't mind if they are grass specialists or employed to trim high hedges i see this as a professional approach and at the clients discretion .  

      I have on another occasion a different situation like yours felt undermined when the client kept referring to the virtues of the other gardeners and singing their praises i felt playing one against the other to keep us on our toes and so i made an instant decision that i didn't need it and left . 

      you sound reliable and consciences and many clients will appreciate your services , If you don't need the revenue the work provides then look for another opportunity but it could be the client doesn't value the other team and dissatisfied with their work which is why they have brought you in but they are unsure about how to address the situation perhaps anticipating having to deal with a hostile or negative reaction from them . 

      If you like the job address it , try and get some clarification and reassurance . 

  • Cheers for you're replies.
    I was recommended to them by 2 very good seperate clients, for my plant knowledge (which she told me was the case)and I'd believe because I care as well,
    As these 2 other gardeners are European I'd presume they are charging very low rates.
    Definitely agree with bringing in tree surgeons as that is a specialist area on its own.
    If I was agreeing too do her recommended four hours a week it would be costing her more than having just one of us. I think I could afford to loose them as I have a lot of work on, so I will just read and take in any other replies I get and go from there.
    Thanks
  • Providing I need the work, I would take this as a challenge! As has been mentioned, get it clear who does what, then knock spots off the opposition, which doesn't sound too hard!  Customers aren't stupid - you'll be given the whole garden in no time............unless you are up against a relative of course!!

  • When I first started my business I had a couple of gardens to look after where I did virtually everything except the grass cutting and the hedge cutting as another Gardener did that. The problem I had was that I was frustrated that when I did my bit in the garden such as weeding the borders and pruning, the other bloke would come in afterwards and mow the lawn badly and using a strimmer to edged the lawn which meant grass debris flew everywhere. Furthermore, in the autumn, the leaves wood be on the lawn and wouldn't be cleared up until the other chap got around to popping in. Utterly demoralising.

    I voiced my frustrations about how the garden was not looking it best and it would be easier to have one person managing it all. Happily in the second year, the two separate owners decided to dispense of the gardener's services and kept it in house with me which meant I could manage the whole situation. There are occasions when you need a specialist to work on your patch such as tree surgeons or a lawn care company to aerate the lawn at periodic times (though I do all the lawn care myself).
    • PRO
      Very similar to Andrew Midgeley I was brought in for my plant knowledge and recommended on two counts&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      More expensive and she said don’t do the grass because that’s below you just do the rose pruning and move divide the herbaceous&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      After two visits I’d had enough&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      The blow go crew strimmed their mess over the herbaceous cutting down delphiniums on the edge and the lawn doctor type scattered feed weed which also went over paving&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      I was frustrated and said to the client I can’t work with my standards being damaged by incompetence from others and left&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      She still rings years later asking if I’ll return under the same terms&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      No thanks it was frustrating first time round&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      Another client paid me to mow and scarify her lawns while a retired friend did everything else&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      That works fine although his weeding skills are limited at best&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      Thirdly this year a client from ten years custom decided to use a futniture restorer friend to do hedge work in July while I had a month off in hospital the work he did was bad enough but then left all the crap on the hedge top or the garden&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      Not only was i peed off but the customer asked me to do it all again to my standard&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      That made me smile until I found out he offered to pay the guy my rate&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      It made my decision to put him up £8 an hour so easy&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      He weren’t happy one bit but I said you were happy to give my job away so my high standards are worth more and your rate has now gone up&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      &lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      Either which way the job is offered&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      If you feel your at the bottom and under appreciated then prob best bin them&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      I bin customers easily&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      I’m self employed for job satisfaction before money&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      Like Oliver clarkson if I’m faster or more skilled I’d happily cut the hours&lt;br/&gt;<br/>
      Dossing around on a job is not satisfying and unproductive for everyone
  • PRO
    We have had experience of this and if the owners select who they want and what they want them to do and there is no overlap then it works well, even better if you can chat to the other firm. It never works when there is a vague understanding of what each other is to do or the customer tries to get you to do their work. Funny enough we have had to cull one contract last November where the customer took some work of our work to these so called expert gardeners and then as soon as they became unreliable they tried to get us to do their work on top of our work by which time the relationship had become untenable. We get this a bit also with estate managers who do all our work for us leaving nothing to do or don’t do their bit!
  • PRO
    I did some work for some builders around a year ago at a very nice country house.

    The homeowners had three sets of gardeners working there, the hard landscaping contractor and his guys building and planting a new terrace garden, the father and son mow, blow and go guys looking after the lawns and meadows, also the guy who looks after the borders and beds.

    Three sets of guys with different skills and equipment; and no apparent rivalries.

    Andy
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