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  • FIRST POST
    • Soot2006
    • By Soot2006 10th Jan 18, 4:03 PM
    • 1,223Posts
    • 1,226Thanks
    Soot2006
    Is there too much work / not enough contractors?
    • #1
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:03 PM
    Is there too much work / not enough contractors? 10th Jan 18 at 4:03 PM
    Apologies if in the wrong section.

    I have a number of small jobs that I have been contacting just about every listed local person on checkatrade for ... and I get almost no responses back. Is there too much work? Or maybe my jobs are too small.

    Point of my post - I would like advice please on hiring reliable, reputable builder, carpenter, etc ... I remember hearing on the radio years ago about an app where people can post what they need doing and contractors can bid for the work? Does that exist? Any other advice to actually getting people to respond as at this rate my house will fall down before I can find anyone to repoint it.

    (I pay on time, every time! No blacklists against me and no bad reputation!)
Page 1
    • Ebe Scrooge
    • By Ebe Scrooge 10th Jan 18, 4:15 PM
    • 4,039 Posts
    • 3,452 Thanks
    Ebe Scrooge
    • #2
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:15 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jan 18, 4:15 PM
    The well-worn advice of asking friends & neighbours for recommendations, or posting on a local community Facebook page, is still very valid.


    Also, consider what tradesmen you actually need. For instance, if you're wanting an extension built, you'll need a competent builder. A whole new central heating system will need a proper plumber. But changing the washer on a tap, or adding some shelves to an airing cupboard, or fixing a sticking door, for example - well within the remit of a competent "general handyman" type, even if you're not up to doing it yourself.


    But really, it's hard to beat local word-of-mouth recommendations.
    I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.
    • Soot2006
    • By Soot2006 10th Jan 18, 5:08 PM
    • 1,223 Posts
    • 1,226 Thanks
    Soot2006
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 18, 5:08 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 18, 5:08 PM
    The well-worn advice of asking friends & neighbours for recommendations, or posting on a local community Facebook page, is still very valid.


    Also, consider what tradesmen you actually need. For instance, if you're wanting an extension built, you'll need a competent builder. A whole new central heating system will need a proper plumber. But changing the washer on a tap, or adding some shelves to an airing cupboard, or fixing a sticking door, for example - well within the remit of a competent "general handyman" type, even if you're not up to doing it yourself.


    But really, it's hard to beat local word-of-mouth recommendations.
    Originally posted by Ebe Scrooge
    Thanks. I'm not really a social media user so didn't think of that, but have asked to join a few local groups I found. That's a good idea.
    • Ganga
    • By Ganga 10th Jan 18, 6:54 PM
    • 926 Posts
    • 464 Thanks
    Ganga
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 18, 6:54 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 18, 6:54 PM
    I think there are plenty of workmen but not plenty of good workmen,as has been sugested,ask around,word of mouth recommendations are better than fabricated testemonials.
    ITS NOT EASY TO GET EVERYTHING WRONG ,I HAVE TO WORK HARD TO DO IT!
    • LittleMissAspie
    • By LittleMissAspie 11th Jan 18, 12:29 PM
    • 2,092 Posts
    • 3,144 Thanks
    LittleMissAspie
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:29 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 12:29 PM
    I've found this as well. It's infuriating and confusing!

    Once we hired a carpenter who'd given us a quote. He didn't turn up. Managed to get hold of him and he was really apologetic, said he'd had a family emergency, and we set another date. He didn't turn up AGAIN! What the hell. If you don't want to do the job then just cancel it, don't pretend that you want to do it and then leave us waiting.
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 11th Jan 18, 6:01 PM
    • 14,588 Posts
    • 40,185 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:01 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:01 PM
    It does depend to some extent imo on what part of the country you're in - if you're somewhere "The World and their Spouse" wants to be in - then chances are there's a lot of tradespeople there too and they know they're up against stiff competition and they do turn up/they do quote/etc/etc. Definitely an advantage in every respect if you can play an "Everyone wants to live here" card.

    But if you're somewhere "a lot of the best leave" you do have more of a problem...

    Another thing too might be "Nope it aint you - its your house" that they dont like. I've gathered since that some electricians will avoid bungalows if they can (more of the electrics up in the roof). Some tradespeople will try and avoid a house that the customer is living in if they can (as they dont like having to try and keep the house cleared-up after themselves each night). Suspect some of them aren't too keen on their mistakes being seen before they can be covered-up too

    Some is sheer luck - I've been told by one firm that I was satisfied with - "Why didnt you ask me before you booked anyone else for anything else? I could have told you the best ones to go to...". Yeh...well....sheer luck would have it that the jobs I had done by that (major work for me) firm werent the first in line to be done - so I'd already had some bodgers in before they turned up and did their jobs okay.

    You could try the British Gas "Local Hero Scheme" as one way to, hopefully, access suitable tradespeople in your area.
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 11-01-2018 at 6:03 PM.
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • Heedtheadvice
    • By Heedtheadvice 11th Jan 18, 6:37 PM
    • 685 Posts
    • 337 Thanks
    Heedtheadvice
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:37 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 6:37 PM
    Yes, probably, a bit of both. For too long the 'brightest' have been told university is the only way to success. They are often needed to run a business properly but feeling is beneath them.
    Too often it is the less bright that arenpushed towards trades (as well as bright pupils too broad keep in perspective) and these days there is far more to learn. Not all are up to it and they become the cowboys of poor tradespeople. Not enough females encouraged to go into trades. Less of a work ethic these days.

    So not enough good workers. More demand. Supply and demand pushes up prices because of trades shortages.

    Do not rely on web sites such as have been mentioned! Personal recommendation and qualified tradespeople the best. Which? Trusted traders run by the consumers association ought to be a good source of info.......
    • EssexExile
    • By EssexExile 11th Jan 18, 7:33 PM
    • 2,542 Posts
    • 1,714 Thanks
    EssexExile
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:33 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 7:33 PM
    Whatever the cause of the problem, it's been the same for all the 40+ years I've owned property.
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
    • baldelectrician
    • By baldelectrician 11th Jan 18, 10:28 PM
    • 2,145 Posts
    • 1,331 Thanks
    baldelectrician
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:28 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:28 PM
    Try your local trading standards -my local one uses Refernceline


    http://www.referenceline.com/


    These traders are usually initially vetted and all references are checked before being listed (they are checked for veracity to ensure they are actual customers).
    This makes them better (in my opinion) than some of these paid for sites- many will remove bad reviews as the company pay for the advertising.
    baldly going on...
    • moneyistooshorttomention
    • By moneyistooshorttomention 12th Jan 18, 7:47 AM
    • 14,588 Posts
    • 40,185 Thanks
    moneyistooshorttomention
    Yes, probably, a bit of both. For too long the 'brightest' have been told university is the only way to success. They are often needed to run a business properly but feeling is beneath them.
    Too often it is the less bright that arenpushed towards trades (as well as bright pupils too broad keep in perspective) and these days there is far more to learn. Not all are up to it and they become the cowboys of poor tradespeople. Not enough females encouraged to go into trades. Less of a work ethic these days.

    So not enough good workers. More demand. Supply and demand pushes up prices because of trades shortages.
    Originally posted by Heedtheadvice
    I think this is very much how things are from what I can see. Female tradespersons are very rare indeed and I've never heard of a single one where I am now. I do think there's an element of "What else can he do? Well he'd better be a tradesperson". The worst I've come across was where daylight eventually dawned on me that I don't think he can even read. Another one asked me if x would fit into y - errrr....well do what the office worker customer (me) did and get out a rule to see if it will and the answer is "Yes".

    Possibly it will help with the pay levels I see some of the best plumbers/electricians for instance can charge now - and that might lead some of the brightest youngsters to train in that as well as the "What else could they do?" youngsters.

    As you say - I suspect there is a lot more to learn these days. From where I'm standing - I'd estimate it takes brains to learn, for instance, to be a good electrician or plumber - as all those regulations (constantly updated) look pretty technical to me. I couldnt get my mind round all those technicalities that a good electrician, for instance, will have learnt. So yes - some of the brighter ones will be "trades" minded - but the less bright are pushed in that direction too.

    Even decorators have to know enough to be able to at least do basic computer use - so they can see what customers want across the country and what the latest materials on the market are like and not expect the customer to know "products are now made with x instead of y and they're not as good - so you have to use something else instead". They shouldnt expect the customer to know these things - it's not their job. I've yet to find one in this area that seems bright enough to even know about what basic preparation work needs doing - they all know "this bit picked up from customer x" and "that bit picked up from customer y" - but havent learnt the job fully themselves. Well - the customer most likely won't have - as they are/were probably office workers/professionals/etc - so it wasnt their job to learn these things.
    Last edited by moneyistooshorttomention; 12-01-2018 at 8:01 AM.
    New Year's Resolution already made -

    Don't get mad....get firm ...
    • road2manchester
    • By road2manchester 19th Jan 18, 12:14 PM
    • 40 Posts
    • 80 Thanks
    road2manchester
    MyBuilder, Checkatrade, etc there are lots of these sites. Free to post your job BUT not free for the traders.
    Some sites charge £50 a month then a set price per lead depending on the perceived value of the work.
    The issue is that if you post ' Come fix my door' for example, the site then decides (in some cases you have to add a budget), what that job lead is worth.

    Anything from 5-10 traders then get an email to ask if they want to buy the lead. This is based on chosen areas the trader wants to work.

    Prices from £5 to £60 just for your contact details , Then those who buy the lead contact you and bid for the work.

    This system encourages low prices and low quality work.

    Traders can get a good feedback score on some sites, but even that is open to abuse.
    Get a pal to post a job , pay for the job..... (ignore the other traeders) get the order.... don't do the work as it doesn't exist.... get your pal to give a great feedback.... your company looks great.

    The only winner is the site getting paid a monthly fee AND lead fee from 5-10 traders.
    • Cocorita
    • By Cocorita 20th Jan 18, 10:55 PM
    • 14 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    Cocorita
    I been suffering with builders since MARCH.
    One took ages to do a communal stair renovation (Which trader, more than 50 recommendations on site, 100% recommended by others) and the work standard es quite poor. We even had to retain the payment until he came back and fixed some disaster the idiots he was subcontracting did).

    And from march too, I was chasing builders to do a kitchen renovation, but I had two (one of them very recommended by colleagues and he even did a great job before in my house - A Which? rated builder) that failed and a LOT that came, made me explain all we need to do, and never gave a quote, or never came to see the job, and even those who did it, provide quote and then told us they only worked with cash payments (no thanks)
    The first builder.. he dissapeared after we agreed to go ahead. We thought he was busy so we let him be. Two days before starting, we called him and a unknown lady picked up the phone, and said that the builders was not going to do the job, no more information provided. He never called to at least apologise. We were waiting for him for more than 3 months.
    Then another one, dropped the job one day after starting (yes, they ripped off my kitchen and left).

    Now I'm trying to find each separate trade myself, with almost no building systems and techniques knowledge (not in the UK at least and certainly not about Victorian properties!), with no clue about how to coordinate the whole mess and probably being ready to be victim of cowboy builders.
    I swear I will NEVER try to do any kind of renovation on the UK once I finish this one.
    • pineapple
    • By pineapple 21st Jan 18, 3:49 PM
    • 5,978 Posts
    • 28,151 Thanks
    pineapple
    Whatever the cause of the problem, it's been the same for all the 40+ years I've owned property.
    Originally posted by EssexExile
    There are regional differences though. Where I used to live in Yorkshire - even though it was quite rural - I could actually get a quote and the job done.
    Here in my rainy godforsaken corner of Cumbria you have several battles ahead of you if you want any work done - large or small.
    It's a major hurdle just getting someone to give you a quote or an estimate
    The final battle is getting them on site to do the job.
    It's par for the course for them not to respond to emails or 'phone messages. But if you can actually get them to view the job, they promise a quote then disappear into the ether never to be seen again.
    Or they promise to come and simply don't turn up.
    Sometimes you will get a vague promise like 'Maybe sometime next year'.
    It's doing my head in.
    I love it how you are supposed to compare quotes. Here you are lucky if you can find just one person who will do the work and even then you probably had to beg.
    Anyone halfway competent is booked up months and sometimes a year ahead. In fact if they CAN fit you in, you worry that there is something wrong with them.
    So plumbers, electricians, joiners, builders, roofers, plasterers, carpenters, kitchen fitters etc please move here. I might get my cottage finished and you will never be unemployed!
    Last edited by pineapple; 21-01-2018 at 3:54 PM.
    • pineapple
    • By pineapple 21st Jan 18, 4:09 PM
    • 5,978 Posts
    • 28,151 Thanks
    pineapple
    I'd just like to add that the 'rustic' plasterwork done by my good self in the lounge is a direct result of the plasterer not turning up. Naturally I will promote it to future buyers as a character feature along with the manky beams, the 60s kitchen, the 'interesting' electrics and the rotting shed door.....
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