View Full Version : How would you handle this?

Aug. 11, 2010, 08:40 PM
I have a small hay field, which yields approx. 150 small squares per cutting. For the past several years, the farmer down the road has been cutting/baling it for me. He suffered a heart attack this Spring and is out of commission until fall.

I looked around for someone else to do it for me but had a hard time getting anyone, the farmers I know all were behind in getting into their own fields due to a wet Spring. Through the grapevine, I was contacted by a young man who offered to do it for me, so we settled on a per bale price. This was the middle of June. He said he would get it done by the first of July at the latest. It was a little later then I would have liked it cut, but agreed anyway...better late than never.

First week in July came and went and I never heard anything. Left one voice mail to please call and let me know what's going on. Never heard back from him. Left a second VM a week after that, saying it was getting kind of late and I didn't know if it was worth baling anymore, please call...still nothing.

About the 3rd week in July (a full month after our only conversation), I ran into a good deal on small squares for the same price as I would have paid to have him do it, so I just bought 400 bales to get it done and over with for the winter, since I didn't know what was going on.

Came home from camping yesterday, and my field had been cut and baled, with a note on my door saying I owed him a little over $300 and he would be coming by tonight to collect it (it had also rained very lightly, while I was gone and the bales were in the field but I think they are OK).

What would be the proper way to handle this? It's not that I want to get something for nothing, but I don't feel like the price agreed on should be the same as if it was cut six weeks ago when we talked. And the rain really bugs me. He had my number and I was only 45 min. away, I could have ran home and put it up if he would have called me.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

As I'm typing this he called (NOW he calls...lol), I told him that I would get back to him shortly, that I was having a hard time accepting this bill. He said if I didn't pay him he was coming to take the hay!! Can he do this? Just a note, he is probably 20 at most and has a pretty big ego it seems from our conversation.

Aug. 11, 2010, 09:25 PM
How would I handle that?

First, once you make a deal with someone, you really should hold your end up all the way, even if they don't, or you think they didn't, so pay up.

Second, don't do business again with him, you know he is not up to holding his end of the deal, so save the aggravation.

Aug. 11, 2010, 09:35 PM
I guess I disagree.
It sounds like you contacted him to discuss 'the deal' after he did not cut when you agreed to in your 'deal'. He did not return the call.

Then cut it way too late.

So, I would tell him to come get it. You have hay right? You went out and bought hay because this guy was not living up to his end of the deal.

I liken it to buying something, and agreeing to a delivery date, and then they don't show up with it until after you don't need it anymore or have to make other arrangements.

I would also be there when he comes to pick it up. I would also be polite and courteous, but matter of fact. for example. Hello, I rec'd your message. Unfortunately, I had called you a few times when the hay was not cut, and you did not return my calls. As you can imagine, I felt I needed to ensure my hay for the winter, so went and purchased my hay supply. I am so sorry we never spoke again after our initial phone call. When would you like to come and pick up the hay?
Be prepared for some hammering, but just keep repeating...I am sorry we never spoke again after our initial phone call.

Now, unless you have lived in an area where weather prevented him from cutting the hay, maybe then I would pay the bill. But, you did call him and its partly his problem not checking in with you when he realized he was behind cutting per your agreement.

Aug. 11, 2010, 10:05 PM
You both have points I agree with, which is why I'm having a hard time deciding what to do.

I'm thinking of telling him I'll give him half of the money, since it's not the quality I wanted (six weeks late and rained on). I can still use it for "filler" hay in the winter, and I do think he should at least have his expenses covered and a little for his time. Or he can come and pick it up.

Thanks for your opinions, any others are welcome.

eta...no, I will definately not be doing any business with him in the future.

Aug. 11, 2010, 10:26 PM
Guess I would let him have the hay, see if he can get his money from that. He broke the contract, despite your efforts to uphold your end by contacting him when he was LATE for the agreed-on cutting date. His problem, about the cash money, he did NOT do his part. Would you pay the guy for mowing lawn for your party if he never came? I wouldn't, no way!

Same thing with this hay. Pretty useless for your needs, no nutrients left and you will need to be handling it yourself, wet and all, to get it barned.

If he wants the hay, come get it. I would flat out tell him his bad business manners broke the deal. He did not adhere to the contract and dates agreed upon, he never called back when you called him. One of those things where being late makes him the loser.

I feel you owe him nothing, he made no effort to be a good contractor. Tell him to come pick it up if he wants the hay. You have already purchased what he did not provide, the money is spent, there is no more for him.

Maybe next year you can get a paper contract first, to protect yourself. Put in a sentance or two covering late cutting and loss of nutrition in that hay if they miss the stated dates. Cutting early never hurts, you might even get a second cutting then, for more profit to both of you. You are not doing him any favors by paying for the hay, just making him a worse contractor. He needs to be better organized and keep his word when he gives it. Being female, he probably expects you to back down, be intimidated instead of arguing. Don't be a doormat, the word will get around.

JackSprats Mom
Aug. 11, 2010, 11:06 PM
I kind of like the response of pay him half ( he did finally do the job) or he can take the hay (as you already have some).

I had a situation like this a couple weeks ago...never fun :no:

Aug. 11, 2010, 11:19 PM
Start now for getting it cut for next year.
AND get a written contract for the exact time to cut and bale it.
His procrastination was not your fault. Tell him to come and get the hay.
I would not do business with him again.
You might mention to him that you really wish he had returned your calls.
Communication is essential for good business. But since he was too busy to return your calls he must not have needed this job that bad.
I agree that you ought not have to pay for a job he didn't do on time.
Over ripe hay does not bale well and there is little food value in it.
He might learn a lesson from it and learn to be on time for his jobs.
Too bad. but I am glad you got hay in for th ewinter.
regards, sadlmakr

Aug. 12, 2010, 06:42 AM
I would:

1. Pay him for the hay (at least you kept your end of the bargain).

2. Don't do business with him again.

3. If you don't like the hay, sell it. You'll have $2/bale invested in it and you should be able to make a little money on it.

4. Don't give it another thought. Good luck.

Aug. 12, 2010, 09:28 AM
I would find out why he was so late - were you the only or first field he's cut this summer or did he have 3 other clients to get done and you were last on the list?

It is very hard to predict when you are going to cut hay. You HAVE to wait for the weather. If he had other clients and he had to get them done first and the weather didn't cooperate, and he got to you as soon as he could, then you might not want to burn that relationship. Next year's weather might be more cooperative. And you might get yourself higher on the list.

If, however, he's just a slacker and didn't bother to getting around to it then that's a different story. Does he want the hay? Not calling you back is a problem, and I'd address that with him no matter what the outcome. Did you call him after you bought the hay to say "nevermind."?

The only way to get your hay cut exactly when you want it cut is to do it yourself. I guess that rule applies to all sorts of jobs. Everyone wants their field done asap and he can only do one at a time.

Aug. 12, 2010, 09:42 AM
You were planning to pay him to do a job. He contacted you, and you both agreed that he'd cut the hay around the first of July.

He opted not to uphold his end of the bargain, and he didn't feel the need to communicate that to you.

Now, six weeks later, he's come cut the field. That's not what you agreed on. I would not be inclined to pay him. If he wants his money, he can do the job he was hired to do when he was hired to do it. Or he can call you and explain why he can't do it, and you can work out different arrangements or find someone else.

I understand that cutting hay is a finicky enterprise, heavily dependent on weather. But making a two-minute phone call is not. :rolleyes:

Obviously it's up to you whether you want to burn that bridge, but the guy doesn't sound terribly reliable, so would you be using his "services" again anyway??

Aug. 12, 2010, 10:08 AM
I'd pay him half and let him make up the balance with the hay. You said you can use some of it, assuming the drizzled on hay will stay good. Or let him take it all.

Ask him what he thinks is fair, for fulfilling a contract six weeks late and not returning calls.

And next time, leave a message when you go another route "John, I've tried contacting you to cut my hay, and it's been six weeks past what we agreed on, so I had to go buy hay and will be bush hogging my field. Do not come bale. Thank you." That's the one thing you didn't do, and should have.

Aug. 12, 2010, 10:18 AM
Perhaps as a compromise let him take half the hay. he should be able to sell it for what you owe him, and you still have some "filler" hay. Half the hay is a common payment around here for cutting/baling. Then you don't have to worry about trying to sell it!

If you do this route I would take your half out of the field before he gets there, and make sure your hay is secure so he doesn't just take it out of your shed rather than off the feild!

pony grandma
Aug. 12, 2010, 10:43 AM
Goodhors nailed my thinking and CHT has a good idea. Nice combo and exactly what you should do!

yes I've had men try to bully me and back me off. He needs a lesson!

Summit Springs Farm
Aug. 12, 2010, 10:54 AM
You both have points I agree with, which is why I'm having a hard time deciding what to do.

I'm thinking of telling him I'll give him half of the money, since it's not the quality I wanted (six weeks late and rained on). I can still use it for "filler" hay in the winter, and I do think he should at least have his expenses covered and a little for his time. Or he can come and pick it up.

Thanks for your opinions, any others are welcome.

eta...no, I will definately not be doing any business with him in the future.

Make him this offer and if doesn't agree let him have the hay, or as someone said if you can sell it for more pay him in full and make a few bucks.

He's young, I also might ask him why he didn't do the job when asked just to hear what he has to say, then ask him if he thinks he should be paid the original amount and why.

My DH always says something like, Would you treat your mother like this?or Do you think you did a good job? Which always gets the guilt factor going.
which also cracks me up, cause he'll do it to random people who haven't lived up to an obligation with him.

Aug. 12, 2010, 11:27 AM
AND get a written contract for the exact time to cut and bale it.


Spoken by someone who has never done hay obviously.

Exact? You are kidding right?

Aug. 12, 2010, 11:28 AM
Thank you all for your input! Very helpful!

I talked to him and explained why I was unhappy with the way things went down...he was very defensive, and told me that I was "nuts" if I thought nutritional value in hay goes down just because it was cut late. That told me everything I needed to know. He's just a kid without a clue. I wasn't going to get anywhere with him, because he became argumentative.

I simply told him to come and get the hay. It is in my loft and I would put it all by the door for him. And he had to make sure to let me know when he was coming to get it. I can just see him taking my good stuff "by mistake."

He does not want the hay, he wants the money. Too bad. I also asked why it took him so long to cut it, and he informed me that he had been out of town a lot this summer and "kinda forgot about it" until now. Well, too bad buddy.

Thanks again for all your input. I feel like this is the best solution.

I'll have my usual farmer back next year who I've never had a problem with in all the years I've been using him. I've also lined up a back up (who has great references) in case my guy isn't able to do it.

I'll just chalk it up as a learning experience. The ball is in his court now, so we'll see what he decides to do. Any kid who talks to an adult the way he talked to me last night needs to learn a lesson. He screwed himself on this one. I was trying to be fair.

Thanks again, I'll let you know what happens.

Auventera Two
Aug. 12, 2010, 12:09 PM
If it were me I would pay him half and I would keep the hay. He is the one that didn't hold up the deal. He did not return your calls - you had nothing set in stone - then all of a sudden he shows up 6 wks late and bales it in the rain? No way would I pay him full price.

He did do you a bit of a favor by at least getting the hay cut and off the field. Hay fields don't do well when they're just left to sit and grow for a whole season and aren't cut. So on one hand, he helped your hay field by at least getting it off.

But as for the hay itself, it's barely useful for you but that's because HE screwed up.

The weather has a LOT to do with when you can bale and while I can certainly see getting behind 6 weeks due to constant rain, just forgetting about it and being out of town is not a good excuse.

Aug. 12, 2010, 12:14 PM
Sounds like a real charming guy. He'll get a reputation pretty quickly if he keeps up with that assholery.

Aug. 12, 2010, 12:52 PM
Well that was quick! Looked outside and saw a hay wagon by my barn. Went outside and was met by a very angry father.

Apparently, son hadn't told dad the whole story. After I told his dad about not having any communication with his son for weeks, and him not returning my phone calls, dad changed his tune and was pretty nice to me. The sideways glance he gave his son leads me to believe he was going to get an earful when they got back in the truck.

Glad I was home today or who knows what they would have taken. Anyway, end of drama...lol. Hay is gone.

The kicker is that he (son) told me not to call him again for his services...I almost laughed out loud. Instead, I told him that at least we finally agree on something....

Thanks again COTH'ers for your guidance. I hate to burn bridges, but this is one that I'm glad to see up in smoke!

Aug. 12, 2010, 01:23 PM
Nice of them to call before they came. :rolleyes:

Maybe Dad will whip Junior into shape. Ugh.

Glad it all worked out in the end though. Hopefully that will be the last you hear from either of them.

Haf N Haf
Aug. 12, 2010, 01:28 PM
What an idiot! :lol:

Perhaps there's some hope with his father teaching him a lesson? :winkgrin:

Aug. 12, 2010, 01:39 PM
wow, you know what they say about never sending a kid to do a man's job......

Aug. 12, 2010, 10:42 PM
YIKES, a two hour response time!! My next suggestion was to call the local Sheriff's office right away, have an officer stop by to check out your barn, hay piles, and be a witness that poor hay was down, ready to be loaded.

I was going to say that you will NEVER get that call before he arrives to get the hay, and I would bet he took the wrong (good) stuff as his share. I am so glad you were home, saw the wagon so you could go down for the discussion with the dad.

Kid sounds EXACTLY like what I was picturing, glad the dad was there to keep things from errupting into a bad situation. Kid sounds like a cornered jerk, and they can get angry. You don't need that. Entitled kids do NOT feel guilt, so that would be a total waste of time and conversation pointing it out. None of this situation was HIS FAULT!! Cutting on time would have gotten in the way of his travels. You are just too picky about quality in your hay!

Glad it ended quickly, did not cost you any more cash and things for next year's hay cutting are in train for a happy ending.