I have been helping Ray with administrative work for his landscaping business over the last two years. I had an agreement with him to do a tiny project for me: dig new postholes and set new posts for the steps of my front porch. After much discussion, he finally agreed to a date, but did not appear on the first two days he said he would, nor did he call to let me know this would be the case.
When he finally arrived, he did not have the required materials (no posts, tubes, or cement) although he had said he was going to bring them, was unwilling to take the time to discuss a detailed plan, refused to acknowledge that he was making decisions I did not approve despite my repeatedly saying it, and could not remember what we did agree upon within minutes of starting.
He first removed existing interlocking brick, which I was luckily watching, because he started to destroy them until I reminded him they needed to be returned to the yard after the posts were set. He then had a worker do the digging. My understanding (and instruction) was to dig until we determined where the water main ran through the yard so we could decide where to set the posts as I wanted them as close to the property line as possible. This post would then be used to determine how far apart they would be, thus defining the width of the new steps (since he did not have a plan). Instead, he unilaterally decided on a width for the steps (which I repeatedly reminded him was not accepted) and chose a site to dig for the first post even though he had not yet located the watermain. After approximately 3 inches of soil was removed from the post spot he chose, I said that I wasn't sure why he chose that spot, that I wanted it against the property line, asked him to move it (about 4” off the centre of the chosen dig site) and reminded him that he still hadn't located the water main.
In a fury he decided that it was too much work to move the (non-existent) hole, wouldn't "dig twice", insisted he knew how wide the steps were to be, that I had “watched him measure it”, picked up his shovels, ordered is worker to stop, and left the site. My repeating that his measuring the width he had suggested didn’t mean I approved it, because I wanted to know where the first post was going to sit, fell on deaf ears.
He has left and not returned. The interlocking brick is sitting in a pile, the small amount of dirt he removed is in a bucket so I cannot simply return the bricks myself because the ground is no longer level, and absolutely no work was done. He was on site for approximately 45 minutes, if that.
Ray seems to be a nice man, but is extremely unreliable. He will, more often than not, choose or suggest doing a project with minimal effort and generally below the recommended levels of legal and safety requirements or good judgement. For example, he initially suggested that the posts only needed to be set 12 - 18" deep. When I questioned him on this, he did not remember recommending this and would go 24", but in downtown the accepted depth to ensure safety (especially for stairs) and no shift is not less than 36”.
I have attempted to reach him, and did speak with him once. He insists that we agreed on a plan, and continues to yell and swear at me, angry that I should want to have a say in how the wok on my property is done and in an attempt to intimidate me to just allow him to walk away. I explained to him that his behaviour was abusive and unacceptable and it needed to stop, but this seemed only to anger him more in his righteous indignation that he had no responsibility to fix what he had started. I have asked him to replace the brick and return me to whole, but he has yet to do so. I feel I have no choice but to write this review.
Ray has difficultly with communication in general. He doesn’t text, doesn’t check his voicemail and his message box is often too full to leave messages, may be able to deal with email, but cannot send photos or otherwise use the features of technology that most of us rely upon when interacting with contract workers to get details, obtain approvals, and schedule appointments.
His behaviour displays an astounding lack of respect for his work, his clients, and for me. It is a power/control/dominance move that he has made to destroy my yard and leave it that way. His language, demeanour, and attitude toward leaving my property is, in my interpretations, a form of violence that should make any future client, particularly single women, wary. He is volatile, prone to tantrums, and flighty all of which may combine to cost you extra and leave you hanging with a half-complete project, even if it is tiny.