There’s nothing quite like dicking over someone who’s wronged you, especially when you manage to do it in the most epic fashion that takes months of work and intelligence to pull off. Leaving a bag of poop on someone’s door step just doesn’t cut it anymore – nowadays you’ve gotta come up with an elaborate plan that’ll leave whoever wronged you broken, alone, and ideally homeless.
In this case, Redditor Buddajewhero accomplished that spectacularly:
The year was 2008 and I was 9 years into operating a landscape company. I had done moderately well for myself being able to purchase a home, pay off student loans and start a family. I employed 4 people during the what I call work season, which for us is March through November. December through February we lay off our workers and go on hiatus for the most part. Side note, our company focused mainly on maintenance, and in the Pacific North West once all the leafs are picked up from the Autumn there really isn’t much maintenance to be done. I had that year developed a relationship with a home builder who hired me to care for his personal home and very much liked our work. He asked us to start bidding on installing the landscapes to the homes he built. Sounds easy right? Well remember, we focused mainly on maintenance so my crew didn’t have a ton of experience in the install detail of landscape, and, the homes this guy built were not “track homes” or your cookie cutter type neighbors you find in the suburbs. No, a small home for him was 3500 sq ft on a 25k sq ft lot, and an average size he developed was 8500 to 10k sq ft home with all the bells and whistles. He was more generous in his landscape budgets than many of the contractors I’d met and we were off to what I had hoped would be great partnership.
We finished the first 4 projects he handed us and it was now the beginning of December when my maintenance side of things drops off. This home builder came to me and asked if I would like to keep my maintenance crew working for the Winter working for him. I knew his next home project wasn’t set to break ground till late January so I asked what he had in mind. He told me that he and his son had been experimenting with spray foam insulation in their homes and had decided to invest into purchasing equipment to start there own company. To purchase the equipment on this level was about 100k. I said I would talk to the crew and get back to him. The next week we signed a contract to work with him for three months at a specified pay rate for five of us. He was confident he had enough work to keep us busy for the next three months. First job was insulating this incredible house for this plastic surgeon who spared no expense for the gadgets and material that he put into his home. Next was Government buildings on Fort Lewis. Next was new apartment complexes. Etc etc..
Now, this builder who I was friends with was not my day to day boss while insulating, it was his son, who is younger than I and a bit of a jerk. But we got along fine and all seemed well. The father owned the insulation company, but had very little to do with it on a day to day basis. Hardly saw him for three months. Now, being a contractor myself I was used to not getting paychecks every two weeks like most working folks. I would get paid once a month from my maintenance accounts for the previous month of service and it didn’t all come in at once. ” sometimes people forget to pay on time “. My crew though was used to getting paid in a timely manner. And after the first month of work and receiving no check from my new boss I inquired when to expect a check. He assured me that once the checks started rolling in that we would see our money- I totally get how that works, especially for a new company trying to get off the ground. So I paid my guys to keep the peace on my end and my boss and I worked out an agreement that I would keep track of everything paid and that he would cut me a check once he was able to. I also had an outstanding landscape invoice out with the father of over 10k that I wasn’t really worried about because he was not always super quick about payment- not that I had to hound him about it, but you understand.
Now we are at the end of February of 2009 and it was time to gear up for the new season of landscape maintenance and put my crew back to work outside. Still no payment from insulation or last landscape project. Things got ugly real fast as I started daily phone calls to the son now that we didn’t see each other as often. I called the father who more or less ignored me. The son stopped answering my calls/texts etc. The father never had a straight answer for me.
Now mid April of 2009. Most communication has stopped on their end. I filed a contractors lien on the landscape project to be paid out before the house sold. Which prompted a call from the father to invite me to his home for lunch and talk. I accepted thinking he was going to offer me a deal of some kind, based on my past history with him. He basically told me that he had been over the years screwed out of money by different people and that it was something that I was going to have to learn to live with. My response ” I’ve been screwed out of money that people owe me as well, just not by anyone I considered a friend”. I left his house determined to stick it to him. May 5 2009 I started a Spray Foam Insulation company with the same level of equipment that he had but about a year less experience than he had. May 7th I get a call from the father asking a landscape question ( acting as if we were on normal terms ). My response was ” Oh, I don’t landscape anymore, I Spray Foam”. What are you talking about? He asked. When I explained to him that I was operating a Spray foam insulation company he ended the phone call rather quickly. I then receive a phone call from his son 5 min later ( who had ignored my calls for the last many weeks ) threatening me that he would destroy my hopes of making it as an insulator and that no “little landscaper” could/would make it in this community. Side note, with my newly formed company there was now approximately 4-5 companies in the Pacific North West performing this kind of service.
It is a small circle of people in the insulation world and the word gets around pretty quick who does what etc. Our very first job was handed to us by our material supplier which happened to be “his” supplier and that job was a “fix”. Apparently that very first job we had worked on ( that plastic surgeons house ) was insulated incorrectly and poor workmanship. Luckily my only involvement on that house was prep work and clean up. We ended up removing all of the insulation and re-installing it. About a 65k job which the owner of the house turned around and sued my old boss for and won.
We then acquired the government contract at Fort Lewis that he had because of poor communication on his part. Anyway, we systematically took apart his company by being better and honest with people. The story spread ( in the spray foam insulation world ) and we became somewhat hero like in this region because they had screwed so many people over. Oh, and at that time if you might remember, the housing market took a giant dump and guess who had 4 very large houses sitting out there that couldn’t sell. Yep the father, who ended up going bankrupt by mid 09. The son on the other hand kept his head above water somehow a bit longer. But in Oct of 09 I got a call from a Repo man asking if I new the ” son ” and where to find his spray foam equipment. My father in law happen to be an retired cop and PI and I put him on the case to find said equipment. Two days later he called with the address and specific location of the equipment which was behind a barn on an island with the tires aired down. I made the call to the Repo man and two hours later he called me from his lot as he was pulling in with a very large trailer behind his truck asking where he could send the bounty check.
I kept the insulation business for about 3 years before being bought out by another company. I also kept the Landscape company and still run it to this day. Moral to the story, landscapers may work in the dirt and seem simple, but piss one off and they will ruin you.