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Wage slaves


Dave Bloke

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Mate came round yesterday

"I've had a massive pay rise"

He works like a ginger, always flying all over the world for work which means leaving Sundays, coming back Saturdays as they don't count the flight as work time

"Well done" I replied

"Yeah 9K"

Hmmm "Why didn't you ask for more holiday than a pay rise?" - I know he's already in the 30% tax band, so over 50% with NI.

"erm", he looks a bit sheepish "well they erm said I was brilliant, erm well I've been their 20 years now, so erm well I quality for 11 weeks holiday a year. They've bought 6 weeks holiday off me so I've got 5 weeks total plus a 2K pay rise"

I'm having trouble getting my head around this. So with 50-55% tax your pay rise is around 4K, for that you've sold 6 weeks freedom?

"oh well, I think holidays are far too long, what would I do with 11 weeks?"

Dunno, sit in the garden?

"by the way you don't seem to have been doing much the last few weeks"

"Yeah I'm tax sculpting"

"Do what?"

"I'm taking unpaid leave between projects so I can get on with some of the jobs around the house, like you, due to the wife's massive salary, we're in the 30% tax band. So rather than pay someone 2K to cut the hedge, which with tax would really be 4K, I'm doing it myself. With a few other jobs here and there I'm close to saving 9K, about the same as your pay rise"

Mate: "erm you'll have to explain how my pay rise is only 4K and how your 2K gardening really costs you 4K again, I"m not sure I follow".

No I'm not sure you do.

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Doesn't apply to your mate as cutting hedges is child's play, but I always find it a moral dilemma as to whether to get the contractors in, or DIY it.

On one hand you're learning the skill and eventually that will give you the satisfaction (if done correctly) of knowing you did it yourself - but the problem is that a lot of people, me included, are lacking that knowledge. I can cut a hedge, that's a piece of piss, but plumbing in a sink will take a couple of attempts, multiple trips to Screwfix, lots of aggro and stress, water everywhere, before it's "just right". By the end of it you think, actually, when will I need to plumb in another sink? Probably not for a while. I may as well have got someone in for £120 and earned that at work.

 

 

 

When/if the economy tanks and I can't afford £120 then I'll be stuck, granted.

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54 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

Doesn't apply to your mate as cutting hedges is child's play, but I always find it a moral dilemma as to whether to get the contractors in, or DIY it.

 

The local pikey artisans still manage to not do it right though.

I needed the windows replacing downstairs - 3 French windows. Local artisan came round, whistled backwards through his teeth "2.5K each, we'll use kit UPVC windows".

"Kits? the ones that clip over the existing windows reducing glass area by 30%"

"The very same mate"

Can't you just replace the existing windows?

whistles through teeth again, "totally non standard mate, can't get windows in this size"

Hmm but it is a new build why would they use non standard windows? It would put up costs.

"erm er look mate do you want you windows done or not?"

bah, not I guess. So I measured them 220x120cm by 60mm deep. That sounded fairly typical to me so I went around the DIY shops and found exactly that side window for 220 euros. I hesitated for several months but finally there was a weekend of good weather and I'd seen that the old windows were fixed with 8 big screws into the concrete surround. I got a van, went to the DIY store at 7am when it opens for builders and picked up my windows plus the special big screws and some foam in a can. Even got a cup of tea from the pretty blonde in the office while her "man" loaded the windows.

I have to say the windows were heavy, at the limit of what I could lift, around 60kg. I unscrewed the old windows and put the new window into position, used wedges to make sure it was square then screwed into place. I also took the trouble to fill all the holes surrounding the windows with foam (which had been there since the house was built). I did two windows in a weekend and did the third window the weekend after. We actually have more glass area with the new windows. 700 euros rather than 7,500e from the local installer with a better job.

I had all the windows in a flat in the UK done, with custom made windows, for 3.5K in the UK. Everything is outrageously expensive here, I guess because of the tax element.

All that to say, well not very much but there are not that many jobs a motivated amateur can't do.

 

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11 minutes ago, davidg said:

The local pikey artisans still manage to not do it right though.

I needed the windows replacing downstairs - 3 French windows. Local artisan came round, whistled backwards through his teeth "2.5K each, we'll use kit UPVC windows".

"Kits? the ones that clip over the existing windows reducing glass area by 30%"

"The very same mate"

Can't you just replace the existing windows?

whistles through teeth again, "totally non standard mate, can't get windows in this size"

Hmm but it is a new build why would they use non standard windows? It would put up costs.

"erm er look mate do you want you windows done or not?"

bah, not I guess. So I measured them 220x120cm by 60mm deep. That sounded fairly typical to me so I went around the DIY shops and found exactly that side window for 220 euros. I hesitated for several months but finally there was a weekend of good weather and I'd seen that the old windows were fixed with 8 big screws into the concrete surround. I got a van, went to the DIY store at 7am when it opens for builders and picked up my windows plus the special big screws and some foam in a can. Even got a cup of tea from the pretty blonde in the office while her "man" loaded the windows.

I have to say the windows were heavy, at the limit of what I could lift, around 60kg. I unscrewed the old windows and put the new window into position, used wedges to make sure it was square then screwed into place. I also took the trouble to fill all the holes surrounding the windows with foam (which had been there since the house was built). I did two windows in a weekend and did the third window the weekend after. We actually have more glass area with the new windows. 700 euros rather than 7,500e from the local installer with a better job.

I had all the windows in a flat in the UK done, with custom made windows, for 3.5K in the UK. Everything is outrageously expensive here, I guess because of the tax element.

All that to say, well not very much but there are not that many jobs a motivated amateur can't do.

 

Fair fucking play to you. If I ever buy a house I'll also be learning to do as much as possible myself.

I'm surprised someone in the know hasn't built a training course of some sort that teaches the average pleb how to do a wide range of commonly needed DIY tasks - although as I type this I've just realized there's no need as we have the internet now and you could just research the best practices around each job as they come up.

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14 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

Fair fucking play to you. If I ever buy a house I'll also be learning to do as much as possible myself.

I'm surprised someone in the know hasn't built a training course of some sort that teaches the average pleb how to do a wide range of commonly needed DIY tasks - although as I type this I've just realized there's no need as we have the internet now and you could just research the best practices around each job as they come up.

I bet there is a lot on YouTube.

I wouldn't recommend French windows - they are very heavy and if the price was reasonable I would pay someone to do them but not 10x what it cost me for a poor job.

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26 minutes ago, davidg said:

The local pikey artisans still manage to not do it right though.

I needed the windows replacing downstairs - 3 French windows. Local artisan came round, whistled backwards through his teeth "2.5K each, we'll use kit UPVC windows".

"Kits? the ones that clip over the existing windows reducing glass area by 30%"

"The very same mate"

Can't you just replace the existing windows?

whistles through teeth again, "totally non standard mate, can't get windows in this size"

Hmm but it is a new build why would they use non standard windows? It would put up costs.

"erm er look mate do you want you windows done or not?"

bah, not I guess. So I measured them 220x120cm by 60mm deep. That sounded fairly typical to me so I went around the DIY shops and found exactly that side window for 220 euros. I hesitated for several months but finally there was a weekend of good weather and I'd seen that the old windows were fixed with 8 big screws into the concrete surround. I got a van, went to the DIY store at 7am when it opens for builders and picked up my windows plus the special big screws and some foam in a can. Even got a cup of tea from the pretty blonde in the office while her "man" loaded the windows.

I have to say the windows were heavy, at the limit of what I could lift, around 60kg. I unscrewed the old windows and put the new window into position, used wedges to make sure it was square then screwed into place. I also took the trouble to fill all the holes surrounding the windows with foam (which had been there since the house was built). I did two windows in a weekend and did the third window the weekend after. We actually have more glass area with the new windows. 700 euros rather than 7,500e from the local installer with a better job.

I had all the windows in a flat in the UK done, with custom made windows, for 3.5K in the UK. Everything is outrageously expensive here, I guess because of the tax element.

All that to say, well not very much but there are not that many jobs a motivated amateur can't do.

 

So you saved 6800 Eur by working for 4 days, and got better windows installed better, and satisfaction. Nice.

Also, that 6800 EUR you saved would have had to have been earned and taxed so 13600 EUR?

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1 hour ago, spunko2010 said:

Doesn't apply to your mate as cutting hedges is child's play, but I always find it a moral dilemma as to whether to get the contractors in, or DIY it.

On one hand you're learning the skill and eventually that will give you the satisfaction (if done correctly) of knowing you did it yourself - but the problem is that a lot of people, me included, are lacking that knowledge. I can cut a hedge, that's a piece of piss, but plumbing in a sink will take a couple of attempts, multiple trips to Screwfix, lots of aggro and stress, water everywhere, before it's "just right". By the end of it you think, actually, when will I need to plumb in another sink? Probably not for a while. I may as well have got someone in for £120 and earned that at work.

When/if the economy tanks and I can't afford £120 then I'll be stuck, granted.

All very valid - little point in doing stuff that will not interest, frustrate, annoy, or waste considerable time over and above the monetary value.  One of the best tricks with plumbing is learning how to do quick fixes so you don't have to resort to emergency callout rates. 

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16 minutes ago, davidg said:

Because of the wife's earnings after about 8 months every euro I earn in in the 30% +22% NI tax band.

Yeah.. Anyway you have new windows, and your mate doesn't seem able to get his head round tax. 

14 minutes ago, davidg said:

To defend my mate a bit - his family are always telling him how his brother is so much more successful than him (meaning size of house, salary, car etc).

That's a shame, arseholes!

1 hour ago, spunko2010 said:

Doesn't apply to your mate as cutting hedges is child's play, but I always find it a moral dilemma as to whether to get the contractors in, or DIY it.

On one hand you're learning the skill and eventually that will give you the satisfaction (if done correctly) of knowing you did it yourself - but the problem is that a lot of people, me included, are lacking that knowledge. I can cut a hedge, that's a piece of piss, but plumbing in a sink will take a couple of attempts, multiple trips to Screwfix, lots of aggro and stress, water everywhere, before it's "just right". By the end of it you think, actually, when will I need to plumb in another sink? Probably not for a while. I may as well have got someone in for £120 and earned that at work.

 

 

 

When/if the economy tanks and I can't afford £120 then I'll be stuck, granted.

I have learned that I should get folk in to do the things I don't know how to do yet, things I really don't want to do, or things I am shit at.

I don't know how to do loads of things (but will give stuff a go), really don't want to do painting and decorating, and I'm shit at laying vinyl and plumbing, amongst other things.

Fitting a kitchen once I must have been back and forwards to Screwfix ten times trying to make the sink work properly. Got it eventually but that, and another couple of incidents made me swear I would never attempt plumbing again.

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3 minutes ago, onlyme said:

All very valid - little point in doing stuff that will not interest, frustrate, annoy, or waste considerable time over and above the monetary value.  One of the best tricks with plumbing is learning how to do quick fixes so you don't have to resort to emergency callout rates. 

Some of the problems are not helped by how some houses are built. In our house the water comes in to the downstairs bathroom. A pipe runs to the hot tank then to the kitchen and upstairs bathroom. A cold pipe goes direct to both and to the garden tap. Nearly all the pipework is accessible. When we had a burst pipe due to severe cold it was easy to fix.

Neighbours house, built be a different builder, had one pipe run run through the hollow concrete blocks his walls are build with. The builder had knocked holes through the blocks then run the pipes inside. He too had a burst which filled the wall with water before it started leaking everywhere. He had to get a plumber in who could locate the leak with some kind of listening device then knock out the wall to fix it. He didn't even drain the tank but froze the pipes either side of the leak then repaired the damaged pipe. That was worth paying for.

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6 minutes ago, Uptherebels said:

One of the benefits of me having a job, is that I can pay other people, to come and do stuff that I don't know how, or want to do. And that's pretty much everything! 

I think this is the crux of it, if you aren't interested then don't bother as it will never be 'quite right'.

Saying that, going by the quotes I've had so far, to demolish and rebuild a garage, I may as well go on a bloody carpentry course, take time off work and do it myself and I'll still save about £10k.  :wanker:

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11 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

I think this is the crux of it, if you aren't interested then don't bother as it will never be 'quite right'.

Saying that, going by the quotes I've had so far, to demolish and rebuild a garage, I may as well go on a bloody carpentry course, take time off work and do it myself and I'll still save about £10k.  :wanker:

Demolish it yourself- that bit is surely easy, and fun!

I have always wanted a shot of a Bobcat mini excavator, I don't think we could get one into our garden though. Shame as there's lots of earth I'd like to move about..

Keep getting quotes though, our windows quotes started at £30k (!) and ended at £7k. Park your M4 away from the house too, if you don't they might think you're rich and go high with their quotes.

Maybe get 1% to park her Rover outside!

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8 minutes ago, Carl Fimble said:

Demolish it yourself- that bit is surely easy, and fun!

I have always wanted a shot of a Bobcat mini excavator, I don't think we could get one into our garden though. Shame as there's lots of earth I'd like to move about..

I have used one before, a japanese one - can't recall the make now - but was harder than I thought it would be! The controls were backwards.

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24 minutes ago, Carl Fimble said:

Keep getting quotes though, our windows quotes started at £30k (!) and ended at £7k. Park your M4 away from the house too, if you don't they might think you're rich and go high with their quotes.

 

Good advice.

Problem I have with quotes, as I live in France, the second they hear a slight accent they assume you are thick and there to be fleeced.

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8 minutes ago, spunko2010 said:

When does a builder become an artisan? Is it when they double their prices? o.O

When skills meet love.

That's when.

 

9 minutes ago, davidg said:

That's Swissy. I worked in Geneva for 8 years but was one of the Palestinians living on the Collonges strip, bussed in each day for work.

Ah, I didn't know they had folk bussed in. 

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29 minutes ago, davidg said:

Good advice.

Problem I have with quotes, as I live in France, the second they hear a slight accent they assume you are thick and there to be fleeced.

I don't think it's that they think you're thick, just not worthy of consideration/respect/honesty as another human being. There's a fundamental hatred of foreigners in a lot of the French IMO, and you see this demonstrated very clearly in these kind of transactions with artisans/tradesmen, they try things they wouldn't consider attempting on a fellow Froggy. Top tip, (I've tried this), pretend you don't speak French at all, and listen carefully with a blank face. It can be a bit of an eye-opener.

 

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7 minutes ago, Sgt Hartman said:

Small point of order as I do this for a living. :D

Sometimes it's a piece of piss, other times it can be a veritable bastard of a job almost requiring scaffolding or multiple ladders and gadgetry, it can also leave your arms so sore that even a quick shuffle when the Mrs has gone to the shops is out of the question. Getting them to grow how you want or shaping can take a modicum of skill too. It's not rocket science but I've seen people properly fuck it up.

I took over a job from some cowboys who had been cutting a large perimeter hedge around a property...I say cutting, really what I mean is absolutely butchering it. Seriously, I cannot even begin to understand how they managed to fuck it up so badly unless they were either pissed or blind. I was also astonished that the continued to be paid for such a shite job.

I have a feeling that they were pikeys, not unskilled, just not arsed.

 

Another gardener on here?! Uh oh.

My hedges are quite long (ahem) and it takes me a whole day at the weekend sometimes. They are mostly hawthorn. I tend to follow this plan, may I ask, if it sound okay to you?

1. Cut them twice a year, once after the birdnesting season finishes, then again in mid autumn.

2. I cut them straight and boxy to start with, then do a second cut at the top to angle them inwards a little.

3. All the offcuts etc I try to catch in a tarpauline, to make it easier.

 

Am I missing something? :ph34r:

In regards to the pikeys, this is their usual M.O. when it comes to cutting anything in the garden.

 

 

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