Financial aspects of retaining walls you should know

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Sam Maerz

Sam Maerz

Owner/Site Foreman

Financially Speaking, How Reliable Is Your Contractor?

Financial discussions can be awkward, and for some reason a little taboo. While we can’t change that, we can at least point out some main points to consider, and be aware of.

Financially stable companies are easier to deal with and are the safer choice. They will be more reliable, trustworthy, and upfront.

You can expect to get what you pay for, and have your project completed as per your agreement with your contractor.

 

Project Materials Paid In Full

 In the old days a lot of contracting work was completed before payments were ever made. This has changed over the years for some companies as material prices have increased.

Your deposit payment with Back 40 Landscaping pays directly for your material. Your material is never charged to an account for payment “later”, it is paid for in cash. This includes all material, trucking, and every other aspect of our business. We are a debt free company.

Your subsequent payments pay for the remainder of your materials, and the labor to complete your project.

As long as you keep up with the scheduled payments outlined in our terms of service, your project continues to progress until completion.

This simple approach is designed to ensure your project can be completed to your expectations, and allows us to focus on building you the best retaining wall we can.

 

The Financial State Of Company

 Depending on who you ask, you will get different answers on the financial state of any company.

Ask the customer, and you’ll hear they charge to much, ask the owner, and they don’t charge enough, ask the accountant and they will say they should double their rates, or ask the banker and they will have never heard of them.

Perspective is the key here, as the numbers  are all the same for these 4 different opinions.

In simplest terms, the business needs to be very aware of their overhead, expenses, and labor. They should double and triple check this before pricing any work.

The service industry is not a commodity, meaning it’s impossible to compare apples to apples.

People, skill, equipment are all variable.

If one company charges $110 / labor hr, and another charges $120, who’s the better value? One has a higher price, while the more expensive one could have an extra piece of equipment that completed the job much faster.

Add in other variables like work ethic, experience, skills, training, methods of construction, equipment breakdowns, weather, etc. and you should start to see it’s impossible to compare the service industry like a commodity.

A pro tip is not to get hyper focused on price. Overall cost is much more important.

This includes:

            Communication

            Time onsite (how fast you can get your yard back)

            Personalities of Installers

            Equipment and tools

            Training and Certification

            Experience / Skill

            Google Reviews

Tools And Equipment Owned

 For us at Back 40 Landscaping it is a tactical business decision to purchase the equipment and tools we have. For us it’s all about doing the project better, and more efficiently.

In today’s job market skilled craftsman are hard to find, and more importantly to retain and keep happy.

Homeowners do not want a craftsman running a wheelbarrow and blowing their back out pushing it up hill all day.

So, we have tools and equipment to make our jobs easier so we can focus on building the best retaining walls we can for you.

It takes a lot of specialty tools and equipment to build a concrete retaining wall, so in most cases we would suggest making sure the contractor you work with owns that equipment.

Ideally this equipment is owned outright so you know they will have access to it anytime they should use it on your project.

Renting some tools or equipment is ok, as long as it’s rarely needed, and readily available. For instance, we own 5 compactors, but once or twice a year we rent a different size than we own.

On a daily basis a lot of equipment doesn’t get used, until it does. Then you need to own it, and have it sitting idle ready to go to work.

Another bonus to owning is you know your equipment, and there is no learning curve.

Don’t tell my wife, but a lot of tools aren’t actually as advertised, and you don’t learn this until you use them in a wide variety of situations!