Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Venting and a Legit Question

We hired a close friend to put sod down in our yard. He's been working on it this week (with a friend of his helping) and we're paying them for their labor and providing supplies. The yard looks awesome so far, simply beautiful and I'm stoked about how it's coming out...

But I'm not stoked about how we are getting to this point. He's been pretty much totally unprofessional. He's talking about starting a landscaping business, and I'm concerned. Is this how he always works, or did he just figure that because we are friends he could relax and let it all hang out? He's been habitually late, tried to play hookey one day, overestimated the amount of sod he needed by A LOT so I purchased too much, the job that was supposed to take two days is now going into it's fourth day, since he has no license or truck I had to rent a trailer and spend all of Tuesday running around town picking up supplies for him, because he was late I had to unload a whole load of sod by myself, and I came home today and his kid was in my basement playing video games and no one had asked if it was okay that he even bring his kid to my house in the first place... sigh.

I'm torn. Nick and I agree that we're never hiring him for anything again. It's been too much stress. I pray to God he was just being liberal because he knows we're his friends, otherwise his business will fail in a heartbeat (and any future employment, too). If he asks us for a recommendation, I don't know what I'm going to say. Part of me feels like I should give him honest feedback, but part of me feels like there's no real point because I don't think he'll listen or take it seriously. I want to be straight with him, but I'm pretty chickenshit about it. I also feel like I probably should have said something right away (after day one) instead of pretending it was allright. But what was I supposed to do? I was afraid he'd get all pissed and back out and I'd be left with a whole lot of sod and no one to lay it before it dies.

So what would you all do? Give him my honest opinion after the work is done, or just hold my tongue and let his venture succeed or fail as it will? And what should I say if he asks me for a recommendation? If he weren't a friend, my answer would definitely be hell no, I won't recommend you to anyone. But because he's a friend and I want him to succeed I want to be able to recommend him. Sigh. No more hiring friends.


  1. I would tell him that I was happy w the finished product but I didn't like the way it was done... then wish him luck on his future endeavors. I would tell him he was welcome to take photos of the job as a reference and leave it at that.

    This is why we don't use friends for anything - even for moving. One of the best moves we had was when we hired 2 guys (just regular schmoes, not a moving company) off Craigslist to help Dave move everything. No one bitched or disappeared every 5 min to text or smoke a cigarette like they normally do.

  2. Hiring friends... 99% of the time a bad idea, imo.

    I think as a friend though you should tell him the truth and say that if he intends to start a business, he needs to improve his performance. Non-friend clients would not put up with tardiness, grossly inaccurate estimates, and a job taking twice as long as planned. He may benefit from taking a class or two about business ownership and landscaping. These kinds of courses are often offered very affordably at career training campuses/schools. You can compliment the final product, but need to point out that the process matters, too.

    After that, you can ask him he would still like you to be a reference for him, considering that you would have to note some of these issues to anyone who contacts you. That way, it's his choice. Like one of my college professors always told us, "If you want me to be a reference for you, you should ask me first if I would be a good one."

  3. Yeah, I've learned my lesson i think about hiring friends. This isn't the first time it turned into a problem. We're still out $100 for housecleaning...