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Austin Allegro

DIY and self reliance to avoid the tradesmen

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In another thread we are bemoaning the difficulty of getting tradesmen to do jobs. 

I therefore propose a thread on DIY and self reliance tips in order to avoid the can't be bothered brigade. 

Here's a couple of my tips: 

1. I replaced a panel in my panel fence (a two man job) by screwing temporary handles on to it as shown in a youtube video. Works a charm, even in a high wind. 

2. I put a roof on my shed (another two man job) by using ratchet straps and pulling it into position from ground level. I then secured the ratchet straps to the base of the shed and got on the roof to nail it into place. 

3. I clean my own windows with an 18' extendable cleaning pole. It works quite well though using the blade on the upper storey windows takes practice.

4. I repaired and smartened up my cracked patio using the 'Portland Paint' technique - basically just filling the cracks then skimming and painting new mortar on top of old to give a new finish. It does need to be done annually for best results, but it costs only a few pence as opposed to hundreds of pounds for a new patio. 

5.I fixed a broken tap using the advice of this excellent online retired plumber called Dereton 33. Saved £££s.

Please post your hints, tips and other ways to get round the 'tradesman problem'!

 

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10 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

Have a father in law that is a) bored most days and b) brilliant at fixing anything.

Letting him think you are totally useless helps as well.

I won't let on that you ARE totally useless then!:o

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It wouldn’t suit everyone but I needed a short length of fencing and gate at the side of the house to keep my dogs at the back garden. 

After getting fed up with no success getting someone to do the job I spotted an oversized pallet that I thought would do the job for the fence. There was an old wooden gate in the garden that I renovated. For I while I was flummoxed about attaching the gate to the house wall then I acquired a large solid piece of tree trunk and the job got done.

Cemented three posts in the soil. Trimmed and attached the pallet to the posts and gate and put a simple opener to the tree trunk. Coated it all in outdoor wood paint. Cost just over £10. That was about six years ago. It’s still standing and functional. It could do with a lick of paint this year though!

Edited by Economic Exile

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had a trademan quote me 2K (euros) for 1 replacement patio door - and he wanted to fit a kit that would clip over the exiting frame (that's all the local trademen want to sell). When I said "surely a 240x120cm patio door is standard" he sucked backwards through his teeth and said "nuffink is standard in building trade guv". I then pointed out that there were 4 identical versions of our house in viewing distance and Bouyges (the French version of Barretts) wouldn't both with none standard stuff.

IMG_20141102_142848.jpg

Anyway found a DIY store that had the exact windows which cost 200 euros each and fitted all three over a weekend. By god they were heavy, at the limit at what I could lift. We have been much warmer without icy cold draughts blowing around the living room all winter.

IMG_20141102_142744.jpg

Fuck tradepeople!

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9 minutes ago, davidg said:

had a trademan quote me 2K (euros) for 1 replacement patio door - and he wanted to fit a kit that would clip over the exiting frame (that's all the local trademen want to sell). When I said "surely a 240x120cm patio door is standard" he sucked backwards through his teeth and said "nuffink is standard in building trade guv". I then pointed out that there were 4 identical versions of our house in viewing distance and Bouyges (the French version of Barretts) wouldn't both with none standard stuff.

IMG_20141102_142848.jpg

Anyway found a DIY store that had the exact windows which cost 200 euros each and fitted all three over a weekend. By god they were heavy, at the limit at what I could lift. We have been much warmer without icy cold draughts blowing around the living room all winter.

IMG_20141102_142744.jpg

Fuck tradepeople!

As my mate says... You're not paying for the job, or their time - your paying for yours. We had a door replaced, it would have taken me ages to get the old frame out. He went to his van, got a crowbar and it was all over the floor in 2 seconds flat.

Having said that, a lot of it is confidence. Once you've seen it done once it all becomes easier! Just fitted an outdoor tap. Took me an hour. Before I was as confident it would have took me all day and I'd have ballsed it up.

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1 minute ago, Roger_Mellie said:

As my mate says... You're not paying for the job, or their time - your paying for yours.

I earn about 10 euros an hour, it would take me 3 months to pay for my doors.

I've just done both wheel bearings on my Yaris, garage cost 500 euros, my cost 100 euros + 1 hour.

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2 hours ago, Austin Allegro said:

In another thread we are bemoaning the difficulty of getting tradesmen to do jobs. 

I therefore propose a thread on DIY and self reliance tips in order to avoid the can't be bothered brigade. 

Here's a couple of my tips: 

1. I replaced a panel in my panel fence (a two man job) by screwing temporary handles on to it as shown in a youtube video. Works a charm, even in a high wind. 

2. I put a roof on my shed (another two man job) by using ratchet straps and pulling it into position from ground level. I then secured the ratchet straps to the base of the shed and got on the roof to nail it into place. 

3. I clean my own windows with an 18' extendable cleaning pole. It works quite well though using the blade on the upper storey windows takes practice.

4. I repaired and smartened up my cracked patio using the 'Portland Paint' technique - basically just filling the cracks then skimming and painting new mortar on top of old to give a new finish. It does need to be done annually for best results, but it costs only a few pence as opposed to hundreds of pounds for a new patio. 

5.I fixed a broken tap using the advice of this excellent online retired plumber called Dereton 33. Saved £££s.

Please post your hints, tips and other ways to get round the 'tradesman problem'!

 

Dereton33 is great and has also saved me a few quid.

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Just now, davidg said:

I earn about 10 euros an hour, it would take me 3 months to pay for my doors.

I've just done both wheel bearings on my Yaris, garage cost 500 euros, my cost 100 euros + 1 hour.

2000 euros for a door is outrageously excessive though. That would be one of my tips - be very careful with 'supply and fit'. Buy the door, then a tradesman should be somewhere ITRO £100-150 a day.

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13 minutes ago, Roger_Mellie said:

2000 euros for a door is outrageously excessive though. That would be one of my tips - be very careful with 'supply and fit'. Buy the door, then a tradesman should be somewhere ITRO £100-150 a day.

Indeed!

But around this neck of the woods tradesmen seem to feel hard done by and insulted if you offer to supply parts, materials etc.

They ignore people like me and gravitate towards those who they can fleece by adding a bit on for supplies plus time for doing the job.

Keep the DIY tips coming!

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20 minutes ago, Roger_Mellie said:

2000 euros for a door is outrageously excessive though. That would be one of my tips - be very careful with 'supply and fit'. Buy the door, then a tradesman should be somewhere ITRO £100-150 a day.

Problem with that is that when it all goes to shit they will blame each other. Better to get the tradesperson to do it all then there is only one person to blame 

 

i just got got a new hinge fitted on a double glazing unit.  Asked on Thursday, fitted Saturday morning. Two blokes and 38 quid. 

Well pleased. 

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23 minutes ago, Roger_Mellie said:

2000 euros for a door is outrageously excessive though. That would be one of my tips - be very careful with 'supply and fit'. Buy the door, then a tradesman should be somewhere ITRO £100-150 a day.

I wish. They won't get out of bed for anything like that here.

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9 minutes ago, davidg said:

I wish. They won't get out of bed for anything like that here.

Looks like there's a market then! For an 8 hour day, 160 euros is 20 euros an hour. If you can't get a joiner for 20 euros an hour I'd be thinking of retraining and undercutting the locals!

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1 hour ago, davidg said:

I earn about 10 euros an hour, it would take me 3 months to pay for my doors.

I've just done both wheel bearings on my Yaris, garage cost 500 euros, my cost 100 euros + 1 hour.

I've just replaced front and rear brake pads and discs on my van. Cost £175 and about 6-7 hours time, much of which was down to working in a restricted space, working deliberately carefully and slowly and having to tidy up and reposition the car to work on each wheel. In ideal conditions the job would have taken half the time, perhaps only 2 hours.

Garage cost was £400 so £200+ saved for a day's work.

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57 minutes ago, Roger_Mellie said:

Looks like there's a market then! For an 8 hour day, 160 euros is 20 euros an hour. If you can't get a joiner for 20 euros an hour I'd be thinking of retraining and undercutting the locals!

If you have never been self employed you might not realise that the 20 euros doesn't all end up in their pocket and the 8 hours they spend fitting your doors is only part of the time they have to put in.

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18 minutes ago, NTB said:

If you have never been self employed you might not realise that the 20 euros doesn't all end up in their pocket and the 8 hours they spend fitting your doors is only part of the time they have to put in.

I get it, I've just had my house renovated and employed all kinds of tradesmen.

One of the main tricks to make it pay appears to be double dipping on time i.e. charging two different customers for the same day's work. When you're out at work all day and the invoice comes through saying they've had 2 people there for 10 days it becomes very difficult to argue. But you know they haven't done 160 hours work.

But the point remains: £150 a day is the going rate where I am. Treble it for London or elsewhere and you're still struggling to get to  1400 euros for the labour required to fit a door. That's well over £100k a year gross. I stand by my point - if that's the going rate for a handyman/joiner where you are, retrain and rake it in.

Best guy I had was a plasterer - £130 a day. Took him 2 weeks but he did a great job. 100 mile round trip from his house aswell. I don't know how he made it pay.

Also got a decorator in who went through the entire house in 4 days. Would have taken me and my wife 4 months, if we could have been arsed and not got bored half way through. 

Edited by Roger_Mellie

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