You never know when a second language comes handy! In my case, it is in the search of someone who will help us in the garden.
We bought trees and shrubs already only to "realize" that lots of muscles are needed to work the the limestone bedrock underneath. We could dig up to 4 inches only and beyond that, a pick axe is needed. So we needed someone else to do this in order to save our time for "higher-value and higher-leverage" :) activities.
So I dug into my rolodex and got this:
So I called "Juan dela Cruz"...
Me: Is this Juan dela Cruz?
Me: I'd like to know your daily rates.
Me: If I want to have some plants planted, how much would you charge?
JDC: (Speaks to someone else in the background.) I need to see your yard.
Me: Oh, there is nothing there. I just want some plants planted.
JDC: (Speaks to someone else in the background again.) I need to see your yard.
Me: (Silent. Thinking...)
JDC: (I think this is what he said...) Can you wait for 3 minutes?
Me: Yes, sure.
Then the phone was silent.
Phone rings after a few minutes.
JDC: This is JDC.
Me: Oh hi.
JDC: I need to see your yard.
Me: Ok. (gives address)
JDC: I will be there at 4pm.
So meanwhile, I looked up the English-to-Spanish translation of the things I wanted to ask and say...
How much do you charge per day?
¿Cuánto cuesta por día?
How much do you charge to mow the lawn?
¿Cuánto cuestan a cortar el césped?
How much do you charge to plant trees?
¿Cuánto cuestan a plantar árboles?
How much do you charge to plant shrubs?
¿Cuánto cuestan los arbustos a plantar?
How much do you charge to pull the weeds?
¿Cuánto cuestan a tirar la maleza?
How much do you charge to paint the fence?
¿Cuánto cuestan a pintar la valla?
Will you take x dollars?
¿Va a tomar x dólares?
How do I pay you?
¿Cómo puedo pagar?
Do you take cheques?
When can you do this?
¿Cuándo puede usted hacer esto?
What day can you do this?
¿Qué día se puede hacer esto?
Can you do it today?
¿Puede hacerlo hoy?
Can you do it tomorrow?
¿Puede hacerlo mañana?
Can you do it on Thursday?
¿Puede hacerlo el jueves?
Do you take the soil and sod with you?
¿Toma el tierra y césped con usted?
At 4:30 pm, phone rings.
JDC: I did not get the number of your house.
Me: Ok. (gives house number)
For all the preparation and research I did and for all the 12 units of Spanish in college, I could just utter one phrase (¿Cuánto cuestan?) which made JDC smile. (Or is that a smirk? Maybe he thought I was "trying hard".) I think we could actually understand each other in English with a little help from his companion.
Bottomline, here are the really, really inexpensive rates:
1. Planting 8 plants (5-10 gallons) - $60
(compared to another person I asked earlier at $25/tree)
2. Painting the fence - $100
(compared to $1000 quoted by another)
3. Pull weeds - $20
4. Mow lawn - $40 (pretty standard)
Back in North America
6 years ago