Watch Out What You Say, You Never Know When It Will Come Back And Bite You In The Rear End

One time we laid a 48″ waterline up through a neighborhood in Northwest Austin, a real high dollar part of town called Cat Mountain. Our line started at RM 2222 and continued to the top of the mountain on Mt. Bonnell Blvd and various other streets to reach its terminus.

Mt. Bonnell – Cat Mountain Project

It was really a picture perfect project that kept us busy for most of a year. When we reach the termination point on that job, another contractor, a competitor, was picking up where we left off. This competitor was a friendly one. We had known each other for years.

We made an agreement that we would leave all the parts and pieces to tie the two lines together and we made a few other concessions. The way it was left, he gained entry to his job-site to the detriment of our work. But with him tying the lines together in the end made it all work better for both sides.

In the end he refused to do the agreed upon work, something that would have taken almost nothing for him to do, but was thrown back on us to come back to take care of. We had to move a couple of large machines back in and spent several tens of thousands of dollars to complete this work.

One day this other contractor drove up and he and I got in a heated discussion about what the original agreement was and how it actually worked out. I was a little less than kind in what I had to say.

It made little difference to me at the time, as he was going out of business. The project off the other side of the mountain hadn’t been as good to him. His current situation probably dictated why he failed to honor our original agreement.

A couple of years later we landed a contract to lay a wastewater extension up the middle of Shoal Creek and underneath US 183. There was a stretch of the project that could only be accessed from each end, which meant we were bringing materials and equipment almost a mile. It was a logistical nightmare. We had bid the job that way, so we had the money to make it work

Shoal Creek Project

Looking at the plans and every map I could find, I found a good entryway through a private property that was near the mid point of the project. It was up to me to contact the landowner and make an agreement to gain entry there.

I know you are a way ahead of me on this. Yes, when I looked up the tax records so I could contact the owner, it was none other than my ex-competitor that I had told off on that hilltop. I hadn’t seen or talked to him since that incident on top of Cat Mountain. It was a hard call for me to make, but I did.

He ever so graciously allowed us to use his property, without charge. He had left the contacting world to go into the Equipment Rental Business. We started a relationship and rented equipment from him for the next several years. Funny how that stuff works.

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