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Is it just me?

(69 Posts)
Chewbacca Fri 06-Sep-19 14:12:29

Moved house 8 weeks ago and needed several tradespeople in to do the many, far too many, jobs that I'd inherited.

3 plumbers assured me that the would install a new boiler and 3 new radiators. It was only the 4th one that actually turned up and did the job.

2 electricians ran me ragged with constant promises that they would come and put new switches and plugs in and replace the consumer unit. It took 7 weeks before one actually turned up and did it.

2 said that clearing the gutters of leaves and crap would be "no problem". Neither of them turned up at the agreed times and a neighbour kindly did it for me in the end.

2 men came and gave quotes for tiling the kitchen. I chose the first one who gave me a start date for next Monday. He's just texted me to say he's too busy and doesn't know when he'll be available now.

So.... what am I doing wrong? I pay on the button. I provide tea and biscuits and leave them to get on with the job (if they turn up). Is it because I'm an older woman on my own? Am I a rotten picker of tradesmen? Or am I just astoundingly unlucky? confused

Sussexborn Fri 06-Sep-19 14:20:32

Purely a case of a more lucrative job coming up and not having the manners/guts to let you know. I used to use My builder.com and it worked well. A lot of people around us seem to be having work done. Ask around in your neighbourhood for recommendations. You may have to go on a waiting list. Very frustrating when you just want to get on so you can get settled.

fourormore Fri 06-Sep-19 14:23:33

Is it because I'm an older woman on my own? Am I a rotten picker of tradesmen? Or am I just astoundingly unlucky?
Bless you Chewbacca it's probably a bit of each but it just isn't fair isn't it?
We bought our home 4yrs ago and having been in rented for so long we didn't know any local tradesmen etc.
We contacted our local AgeUK who hold a list of tradesmen for every sort of job - AgeUK don't specifically recommend them but they have to 'qualify' to get onto their lists.
We also go a lot on word of mouth - do your neighbours have tradesmen they use whom they could recommend you try?
Good luck - you have my sympathy as it's such a pain when this happens. Why can't they just tell you that they can't do the job? flowers

Tea3 Fri 06-Sep-19 14:25:10

It's hard to get hold any of those sort of tradesmen around here at the moment. They've plenty of work on new builds.

Dillyduck Fri 06-Sep-19 14:29:07

I share your frustration!!
Even being careful to choose people known to the family for many years does not guarantee that they will start when they say they will.
However, the other side of the coin, so to speak, is the fact that when they turn up, they do a very good job. I pay immediately on completion, cash for small jobs, BACS within minutes for larger jobs.
Once they know that you are a good payer, polite, etc., then it should get better. Definitely ask others in the area for recommendations, if there is a Facebook group for your area, join it and use it to ask for recommendation, or use checkatrade.
Try not to get too stressed about it all, and have a few alternative jobs you can do lined up, so if the plumber can't come for a day or two, you can make some curtains, or paint something or...?
What matters most is the quality of the workmanship.

Chewbacca Fri 06-Sep-19 14:50:04

The electrician was an old family friend. He's not now.
The plumbers were on recommendations from the local Facebook group and it was a neighbours recommendation that finally got someone to finally come out.
The tilers were recommended by the tile supplies shop!

Like others, I always pay cash in hand for small jobs or immediate bank transfer for larger jobs.
I deliberately agreed to wait for the tiler because he was booked up and I figured that that must mean his work was good and worth waiting for.

TrustaTrader is my next stop.

Alima Fri 06-Sep-19 14:50:57

No, it isn’t just you Chewbacca, neither are you doing anything wrong. Unless we want a big job doing, convert the loft, re do the bathroom, we find very hard to get a tradesman to tip up for work. We were looking for someone to do half the roof a while back. Almost impossible. I was trying to keep it local but in the end got someone in from several miles away. We needed to get just one light switch done the other week. That was ok, we have found a group of electricians who work in cohorts with each other, much more reliable than a one man band. They actually tip up and do the work. See if you can find a reputable handyman. Often retired, they do seem to take on the smaller jobs that others cannot be bothered with. I hope your kitchen gets tiled soon. Did you actually tell the one who quoted and didn’t get the work that he hadn’t? Maybe you could contact him and it will get done. If not there’s always You Tube. I want some Venetian blinds put up at the back of the house, this should be fun.

M0nica Fri 06-Sep-19 14:52:31

We use our parish magazine to find tradesman. In 20 years we have had only one disaster.

To be fair to tradesmen, quite often they cannot see all the problems of a job until they start and take up floors or chip off plaster so the work is more complicated than they expect, or parts do not arrive and jobs run over, which means starts may be delayed.

Back in the 1980s DS, a 40 year old woman on her own doing a major renovation had builders who started on the job, but they thought it would be easy to pull the wool over her eyes. She came home one day to discover that they had installed the wrong bath, similar but not what she had specified - and cheaper and almost completed the tiling round it. She made them take it out, which required removing all the tiling, square yards of it, at their expense, as the specification was quite clear on the subject of what bath she wanted.

After that she had no problems with them at all. Everything was done exactly as required.

Charleygirl5 Fri 06-Sep-19 15:12:04

My present builder who is very good, has a friend who will not get out of bed for a job paying less than 5 thousand pounds. I personally think that is taking the p**s.

lemongrove Fri 06-Sep-19 15:17:29

Chewbacca you have my sympathy, as many tradesmen are like that we have found, and we only use good and trusted ones.
They all have so much work they can pick and choose, and all the massive amounts of new building going on doesn’t help the customer.
It shows that having a trade is a really good prospect, doesn’t it?

Beckett Fri 06-Sep-19 15:18:11

My late DH was a builder and any builder worth his salt would allow for contingencies which cannot be seen before work starts. All his quotes contained a contingency figure which would cover any unexpected work and if none were necessary, obviously would not be charged.

Pantglas1 Fri 06-Sep-19 15:19:20

Well done M0nica !

Nonnie Fri 06-Sep-19 15:32:05

Our neighbours know all the best people and that has the added advantage that the person will turn up because they don't want to lose existing customers. If you find a good trades person ask them for recommendations, an electrician probably knows a good decorator who knows a good plasterer etc.

Anniebach Fri 06-Sep-19 15:44:10

I have been waiting over a year to have storage for my scooter erected.

Nearly 3 months for a gardener, hopefully no 7 will turn up
next Monday,

4 months for the council to put up a hand rail so I can get to
the recycling bins.

humptydumpty Fri 06-Sep-19 16:01:04

Where I live, this is absoultely par for the course, definitely not your fault, OP.

Katyj Fri 06-Sep-19 16:11:29

Oh Chewbacca you and me both, I could have written this.We moved 10 weeks ago, all the same problems, saw 3 plumbers for new boiler, 4 decorators, 4 plumbers for under sink sorting out, one came and made a complete mess, couldn't contact him, so had to start again with a new one.New kitchen was measured wrongly,and didn't turn up on the correct date,so took 5 weeks to complete instead of 3 days.We had no hot water or a kitchen tap for four days I could go on , but you know how frustrating it all is.Just today we've had a new front door fitted and I feel like we're finally getting there.Good luck, hope you love your new home.

Chewbacca Fri 06-Sep-19 16:20:47

Katyj you're not me are you? grin

In my original OP I didn't mention the chaos of the kitchen being delivered with the wrong worktops! They took the whole damned thing away, instead of just the worktops, and that delayed the fitting for 3 weeks.

That was an omen of things to come!

grannyticktock Fri 06-Sep-19 16:27:31

I don't think it's just because you're on your own - we experienced similar problems when my OH was alive. What baffled us most was how much of their own time some of these men waste. e.g.
- taking down all your details, then not turning up as arranged to give an estimate.
- turning up (eventually), spending ages taking measurements and discussing materials etc ....
and then vanishing.
- sending an estimate but then making it very difficult for you to accept it and actually get them booked in to do the job.
- and there's even the occasional one who does the job but never sends you the bill!

The best results often come from a local tradesman recommended by another one (e.g. a decorator recommends a tiler, etc) as there is some sort of honour among them. Also, if you treat them well (plenty of cups of tea, prompt payment etc) they will recommend you as a good customer.

Ellianne Fri 06-Sep-19 17:44:25

I agree, word of mouth is best when hiring tradesmen. We were lucky when we moved last month because the holiday cottage company we've used a lot in the past has a really good tradesman so we called him.
My husband's work involved dealing with tradesmen on projects in the thick of East London so he seems able to pin them down to come when they say they will, no excuses. (He sounds almost rude when he issues them with instructions, but it works.)

GagaJo Fri 06-Sep-19 19:34:33

Oh GOD!!!! I feel that pain. I've needed a range of things done in my house since returning from overseas. Virtually NONE of the tradesmen turned up, on time OR at all.

One in particular didn't turn up at the time we'd agreed. Insisted he could come on Monday but of course I work M-F. When I said no, he said was billing me for supplies he'd bought anyway. On your bike mate!

optimist Sat 07-Sep-19 09:40:25

Age UK provide services and everyone is checked & monitored. Excellent service.

Yorkshiregirl Sat 07-Sep-19 09:40:56

Unfortunately it is the way of things now. Perhaps do not tell anyone you live alone, and when you get a quote say you will discuss it with your husband first.

Hm999 Sat 07-Sep-19 09:57:59

Every time I've moved area I've found one person who I trusted, sometimes recommended by Checkatrade or work or a neighbour. After they've done some work and I'm happy, I've asked them to recommend someone else in another sphere, an electrician or a plumber whoever. When I contact them, I say you've been recommended by this professional. Being publicised by professional word of mouth is priceless.

Madmaggie Sat 07-Sep-19 10:00:24

I feel your pain, seems to be endemic. We're new to this town and are going through similar. Although we've been lucky to find an honest reliable electrician of the old school who works with his adult son. We got a quote from a landscaper to do an expensive job chose the stone flags etc starting date came & went whooshing by - no word, no response to phone messages
we got another chap just sstarting up and he did a great job for less cost with advice for free. The best tiling we ever had done was a polish gent it was real craftsmanship he was the dad of the firms owner & couldn't speak much english (we got on v well with him) he just helped out son when busy for older clients like we are. Wish our good workers hadn't retired.

Mauriherb Sat 07-Sep-19 10:01:12

My son is a tiler and when he first went self employed I drummed into him that he must turn up when promised, or ring to say if he was running a bit late. If people ask him to give them a quote he will sometimes have to tell them that he's not available for a few weeks. He's often turned up to do a quote and been told that he's the only one out of several who has actually turned up so it's definitely not just you !!