This weekend I was talking to a neighbor and he started asking me about what happened with Landfare. He was immediately taken aback how how viscerally upset I still am about the entire project. These guys took $200k of my money and never got the job done. Beyond that, I feel lied to,  jerked around, and frankly disrespected. Hell yeah, I am still upset!

When I mentioned I tried so many times to hold them accountable he asked me point blank “What was it you wanted?” Great question!

Accountability and responsibility go hand in hand. In your work, if you are accountable for something and it doesn’t happen or goes horribly wrong, you are up for being fired. That is ultimate accountability. In other industries you may have money back guarantees, return polices, a comped meal…. essentially accountability is where you as the contractor have some skin in the game. With an accountable company, if something goes wrong under their watch, they have some pain.

I am sure Landfare would swear they were accountable. After all, they did keep coming back to do work over and over and over and consistently missing the quality aspect. I am sure fiscally they took a bath on this. At the end of the day however, as the client, none of that is my issue. I never got the result I contracted or paid them for. When I would challenge them to make themselves accountable the response was something akin to “but we told you we’d fix it… trust us!”. Sure, that’s what you said the last several times. How will this time be different? There was no good response and I was made to feel like a I was the one being unreasonable.

“I said so” is not accountability. I know that there were 100 times as a teenager when I told my mom that I was going to take out the trash. Unless I was held accountable and had some skin in the game, do you think I did it? You’d hope a reputable company would not need to be called to the carpet, but as a consumer, what leverage do you have?

Things Landfare could have offered:

  • Guarantees that Zach or John would not let a sub leave the site until their work was done acceptably. (Subs and direct employees frequently did a poor job and then it was days or weeks – maybe months –  before you could get anyone back out to complete the work.)
  • Offered dates when work would be complete. If the work was not complete by that time, there would be some consequence.
  • Offered refunds. There were multiple items that they seemed incapable of completing to a level of satisfaction. Refund my money. I’ll find someone who can produce.
  • When a sub didn’t perform, don’t tell me they are too hard to work with and subsequently not go to bat for me.

Instead, I had to hold them accountable. And really, with a contractor who doesn’t want to play ball, my options were limited. I could either cajole or sue. I had no interest in suing as who needs that headache? Cajoling only goes so far and when Landfare decided they had had enough, the responses stopped. They had no skin in the game.


Contractors are a special breed of company and frequently/usually they are not going to give you any money back. The leverage you have is in the “draw request”. This is where the contractor asks you to pay out for work they have completed. Simply withhold funds until the work is complete.

Landfare had a very bad habit of asking for a draw and then wanting to get the check the next day. They never had a schedule of what the draw was covering. Zach might have mentioned it on a call, but what is said on a phone call won’t help you in court. I am not sure if this was just poor management on their part (panicked to make payroll?) or a ploy to keep the customer feeling pressure to pay and not inspect things thoroughly, but don’t fall for it. Be very clear what the draw is for. If the item that the draw is to pay for is not right, don’t pay. Get in writing from the contractor a description of what the draw request is for. Save yourself the argument later on.

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