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Great Guy

Getting Tradesmen

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Anyone else find tradesmen are fairly crap?

My bathroom fan wasn't working so I bought a new one. I got an electrician round to fit it. He connected it to the permanent live so it never switched off (I obviously only wanted it to come on when the bathroom light was on). It means if I want to use it I have to stand on my bath and switch it on/off at the wall. I could get someone else to do it right however that realistically means taking a day off work.

I wasn't getting hot water. I contact a plumber to fix my gas boiler. First day he never came round as he was busy elsewhere. Next day he comes round 90 minutes late and tops the boiler water pressure up. He says he's not qualified to service my make of boiler. The hot water still wasn't working.

I contacted another plumber. I asked them to come round today at 8am. It's now 10:55 and I've not heard from them. 

If you have a full time job and no one to let tradesmen in etc it's crap. It realistically means you have to take a day off work to deal with it. 

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1 hour ago, Great Guy said:

Anyone else find tradesmen are fairly crap?

My bathroom fan wasn't working so I bought a new one. I got an electrician round to fit it. He connected it to the permanent live so it never switched off (I obviously only wanted it to come on when the bathroom light was on). It means if I want to use it I have to stand on my bath and switch it on/off at the wall. I could get someone else to do it right however that realistically means taking a day off work.

I wasn't getting hot water. I contact a plumber to fix my gas boiler. First day he never came round as he was busy elsewhere. Next day he comes round 90 minutes late and tops the boiler water pressure up. He says he's not qualified to service my make of boiler. The hot water still wasn't working.

I contacted another plumber. I asked them to come round today at 8am. It's now 10:55 and I've not heard from them. 

If you have a full time job and no one to let tradesmen in etc it's crap. It realistically means you have to take a day off work to deal with it. 

They're almost all shite, and arseholes. We had our entire house done and it was awful, some decent tradesmen do still exist I'm sure, maybe see if you can get @NTB round, or @Wahoo if you're looking for some carpentry work done. If you're looking to have your bathroom looking good then @mattydread I your man, he is in Australia though, and the other two down south....

Edited by Carl Fimble
adding the mattydread bit

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It used to be fairly simple.  When I grew up, in a town of about 2,000 with lots of rural around, there were:

  • Dai Gas.
  • Barry Painter.
  • Robert lectric
  • etc.

Thing is, they didn't earn their postnominal because they were there, they earnt them because they were good, reliable and people came back.  Anyone who tried to break the market and give poor service couldn't survive beyond the first customer.   I've no idea how the current system can actually work in this regard; as far as I can tell quite a few tradesmen use the theory that 'there are enough potential customers that if each one uses me once there's loads more -- so why bother trying to be excellent?'

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Got lucky last year, good quote and work done quickly, cleanly, to a good standard.

Neighbours want to copy what we have had done, same builders are now playing hard to get to the point that neighbours have now given up.

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I always say if you can do it yourself then do do it yourself. OK it's no fun and you get dirty but it's cheaper and you avoid having to deal with what my posh elderly gent friend calls "the lower orders."

I haven't done any for a while since no longer being an OO but really a lot of plumbing is a piece of piss. No more blowtorches and things just poke bits of plastic into another bit of plastic. I even used to fix my own boiler (thermocouple was always failing, dud fans, bad control units) until I got sharply told to pack it in by a gas man who told me doing some of it was actually illegal now.

Wouldn't mess with electrics though as too easy to install something that works but won't pass any regulatory certificate or whatever when you come to sell.

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18 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

The plumber just phoned up and he should be here in twenty minutes. I asked them for an 8am appointment.... It's crap..... The business is about a ten minute walk away.

Should he ignore little old ladies with water flooding out of their ceiling so that he can be at yours for your convenience? :)

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4 minutes ago, Funn3r said:

I always say if you can do it yourself then do do it yourself. OK it's no fun and you get dirty but it's cheaper and you avoid having to deal with what my posh elderly gent friend calls "the lower orders."

I haven't done any for a while since no longer being an OO but really a lot of plumbing is a piece of piss. No more blowtorches and things just poke bits of plastic into another bit of plastic. I even used to fix my own boiler (thermocouple was always failing, dud fans, bad control units) until I got sharply told to pack it in by a gas man who told me doing some of it was actually illegal now.

Wouldn't mess with electrics though as too easy to install something that works but won't pass any regulatory certificate or whatever when you come to sell.

cement and plaster are your friends here, always paper over the bodge, as long as its not live to the touch, nobody ever need know, until it burns down.

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29 minutes ago, dgul said:

It used to be fairly simple.  When I grew up, in a town of about 2,000 with lots of rural around, there were:

  • Dai Gas.
  • Barry Painter.
  • Robert lectric
  • etc.

Thing is, they didn't earn their postnominal because they were there, they earnt them because they were good, reliable and people came back.  Anyone who tried to break the market and give poor service couldn't survive beyond the first customer.   I've no idea how the current system can actually work in this regard; as far as I can tell quite a few tradesmen use the theory that 'there are enough potential customers that if each one uses me once there's loads more -- so why bother trying to be excellent?'

This exactly, certainly in areas with high density populations.

The number of times I have heard "I'll never use blahblah again".

It's a shame as it should be good tradesmen that are getting the work and crap ones shouldn't be surviving.

Maybe part of the problem is customers not realising that the job has been done to a poor standard.

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22 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

The plumber just phoned up and he should be here in twenty minutes. I asked them for an 8am appointment.... It's crap..... The business is about a ten minute walk away.

He'll have done the old ladies first if he's got any sense. They really know how to pester.

Tbf to the one who sorted my mum's boiler out he came half a dozen times to troubleshoot an intermittent fault they think was caused by low gas pressure and then sorted a solution. He didn't rush to bill her and she was most put out! 

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3 minutes ago, Funn3r said:

I always say if you can do it yourself then do do it yourself. OK it's no fun and you get dirty but it's cheaper and you avoid having to deal with what my posh elderly gent friend calls "the lower orders."

If I lived in detached house if probably be happier doing DIY. However I stay in a block of flats and my DIY could result in me flooding the neighbour downstairs or burning the place down....

I have to admit I'd be tempted to get solely electrical heating in future as electrical components don't really seem to wear out.

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Most of the tradesmen I see getting in this sort of mess with customers, not turning up and suchlike  is a result of the feast or famine nature of the job combined with struggling to organise around a host of unknowns. If you have been self employed for a long time and have seen hard times, it gets difficult to turn down work. They could say 'I'm very busy at the moment, but can get to you in about 3 months time. I will call you when I have worked through the queue and can give you a definite booking', but they would loose the job because everyone wants their problem attending to immediately. Also, the number of variables in sorting out whatever house / car problem are normally so numerous it is virtually impossible to know how long a job is going to take and organise a diary with any degree of accuracy. Don't forget, a lot of the time, all he has to go on about the work booked in are a layman's description of the problem. Often you end up with one man trying to do several different jobs at the same time to keep customers happy and ending up with a load of chaos and everyone angry.

Also, customers can be assholes as well as trades. A particularly shitty behavior, which I'm guessing started in London, is an extension of the book into 3 different restaurants for the same time and decide which you feel like going to on the night. The restaurants they don't turn up to then lose that business, which can be a blow to small set ups. And yes, the same does happen to tradesmen with customers either cancelling at the last minute or in one or two cases not answering the door or phone when you turn up at the appointed time.

I don't know what the answer is for customers getting messed around, but if you get someone decent working for you, look after them.

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1 minute ago, Caravan Monster said:

Most of the tradesmen I see getting in this sort of mess with customers, not turning up and suchlike  is a result of the feast or famine nature of the job combined with struggling to organise around a host of unknowns. If you have been self employed for a long time and have seen hard times, it gets difficult to turn down work. They could say 'I'm very busy at the moment, but can get to you in about 3 months time. I will call you when I have worked through the queue and can give you a definite booking', but they would loose the job because everyone wants their problem attending to immediately. Also, the number of variables in sorting out whatever house / car problem are normally so numerous it is virtually impossible to know how long a job is going to take and organise a diary with any degree of accuracy. Don't forget, a lot of the time, all he has to go on about the work booked in are a layman's description of the problem. Often you end up with one man trying to do several different jobs at the same time to keep customers happy and ending up with a load of chaos and everyone angry.

Also, customers can be assholes as well as trades. A particularly shitty behavior, which I'm guessing started in London, is an extension of the book into 3 different restaurants for the same time and decide which you feel like going to on the night. The restaurants they don't turn up to then lose that business, which can be a blow to small set ups. And yes, the same does happen to tradesmen with customers either cancelling at the last minute or in one or two cases not answering the door or phone when you turn up at the appointed time.

I don't know what the answer is for customers getting messed around, but if you get someone decent working for you, look after them.

You have a very good understanding of the situation.:Beer:

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5 minutes ago, NTB said:

Should he ignore little old ladies with water flooding out of their ceiling so that he can be at yours for your convenience? :)

Yeah, it's well known that water pipes are prone to burst during hot weather...

Dont get me wrong, I'm happy being put on the back burner if someone else has an emergency. Howvever my perception is that most plumbing/ gas work is fairly routine....

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1 minute ago, Great Guy said:

Yeah, it's well known that water pipes are prone to burst during hot weather...

Dont get me wrong, I'm happy being put on the back burner if someone else has an emergency. Howvever my perception is that most plumbing/ gas work is fairly routine....

You are right about the actual work. The difficulties are in diagnosing problems, dealing with access problems, corrosion, jammed valves and access to spares.

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2 minutes ago, NTB said:

You are right about the actual work. The difficulties are in diagnosing problems, dealing with access problems, corrosion, jammed valves and access to spares.

I assume you're a plumber/ gas man? Why don't more trades come out in the evenings etc? I bet there's plenty working people in my predicament that work and don't want to take a day off to get something fixed.

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2 hours ago, Great Guy said:

Anyone else find tradesmen are fairly crap?

My bathroom fan wasn't working so I bought a new one. I got an electrician round to fit it. He connected it to the permanent live so it never switched off (I obviously only wanted it to come on when the bathroom light was on). It means if I want to use it I have to stand on my bath and switch it on/off at the wall. I could get someone else to do it right however that realistically means taking a day off work.

I wasn't getting hot water. I contact a plumber to fix my gas boiler. First day he never came round as he was busy elsewhere. Next day he comes round 90 minutes late and tops the boiler water pressure up. He says he's not qualified to service my make of boiler. The hot water still wasn't working.

I contacted another plumber. I asked them to come round today at 8am. It's now 10:55 and I've not heard from them. 

If you have a full time job and no one to let tradesmen in etc it's crap. It realistically means you have to take a day off work to deal with it. 

I'm a tradesman & the majority of my customers think I'm a great guy. 

I've had a few cunts though.

Swings n Roundabouts

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5 minutes ago, Caravan Monster said:

Most of the tradesmen I see getting in this sort of mess with customers, not turning up and suchlike  is a result of the feast or famine nature of the job combined with struggling to organise around a host of unknowns. If you have been self employed for a long time and have seen hard times, it gets difficult to turn down work. They could say 'I'm very busy at the moment, but can get to you in about 3 months time. I will call you when I have worked through the queue and can give you a definite booking', but they would loose the job because everyone wants their problem attending to immediately. Also, the number of variables in sorting out whatever house / car problem are normally so numerous it is virtually impossible to know how long a job is going to take and organise a diary with any degree of accuracy. Don't forget, a lot of the time, all he has to go on about the work booked in are a layman's description of the problem. Often you end up with one man trying to do several different jobs at the same time to keep customers happy and ending up with a load of chaos and everyone angry.

Also, customers can be assholes as well as trades. A particularly shitty behavior, which I'm guessing started in London, is an extension of the book into 3 different restaurants for the same time and decide which you feel like going to on the night. The restaurants they don't turn up to then lose that business, which can be a blow to small set ups. And yes, the same does happen to tradesmen with customers either cancelling at the last minute or in one or two cases not answering the door or phone when you turn up at the appointed time.

I don't know what the answer is for customers getting messed around, but if you get someone decent working for you, look after them.

Pretty bang on this. I would (as a tradesman) say that the chances of getting a shit job done by Captain Bodgetastic are higher now than they have ever been though. I was speaking to a customer this morning who had a nightmare of a time getting her bathroom fitted, including - but not limited to - the bellend of a tiler pouring a load of waste grout down the new sink blocking the plumbing and topping it off by dropping a tool on the new porcelain and cracking it. He was thrown off the job eventually and all of his work was redone as it was a total bodge but reading his portfolio you'd think he was a master of the craft.

It's taken me years to get a list of good trades, only recently have I obtained the holy grail of good trades...a competent and trustworthy roofer but I've paid thousands towards utter chimps who I should have paid in bananas for some of the 'work' they left behind.

Many customers are complete divs, I've encountered a few myself but IMO the reputation of the tradesman just now isn't great. There's just too many bodge artists and cowboys about and not turning up for a job or quote is utterly inexusable. Anyone doing that without good reason while working for me would rapidly be shown the door. I've never not turned up for a job.

I've only ever been done over on a job once...and that was by a bloody priest! :D

 

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5 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

I assume you're a plumber/ gas man? Why don't more trades come out in the evenings etc? I bet there's plenty working people in my predicament that work and don't want to take a day off to get something fixed.

No, I do a bit of plumbing but I'm a handyman. I do all sorts of things. I'd be bored senseless doing a single trade. I'm just off to fix a fence and then sort out some kitchen units with doors falling off.

I'd want a fairly big premium to work evenings and in any case, most trade suppliers are closed in the evenings which is a potential problem (yes I know Screwfix is open till 8).

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11 minutes ago, NTB said:

I'd want a fairly big premium to work evenings and in any case, most trade suppliers are closed in the evenings which is a potential problem (yes I know Screwfix is open till 8).

Tbh, from a customers perspective I wouldn't mind paying extra for someone that turned up in an evening. I'd even be cool if they turned up one evening to see what tools/ replacement parts they needed and actually done the work the next evening.

From my perspective I'm a salary monkey with 26 days holiday a year. It's crap taking holiday to get stuff fixed.

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