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Builder not busy - is this an issue?

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aliwycaliwyc Forumite
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10 Posts
Hi, 

We have recently moved into our house.  We bought it with the intention of doing work (it's a "do-er upper"), which includes structural work - 3 structural beams inc. one 7.2m which needs splicing.   We have contacted over 20 builders, with lots who came to survey and of which 7 came back with quotes.  

We're not necessarily just thinking of going with the cheapest, but obviously cost is a factor.  We chose one of the builders and told him we were interested in hiring him (Builder 1).  However, when he came back round today to finalise things, and I asked about contracts, he said he doesn't do that as he doesn't see the point in them (!!).  Major red flag for me and I wont be going ahead with him.

Meanwhile, Builder 2 had emailed me to see whether we'd made a decision so i emailed back to say that we were going with someone else.  He gave me a call and I told him price was the main reason for not hiring him (he was one of the most expensive). Anyway, he came round again last week with his business partner and then revises the quote, knocking around £10k off.  I'm dubious - how can he knock £10k off like that?  Though still more expensive than Builder 1.   Also, should I be concerned that he doesn't have a long wait time/not busy?  He can start at the end of September whereas all the other builders I contacted had a wait of at least 3 months.    He seems more keen on getting the work - is this desperation or just good sales?  

I prefer Builder 2 - he is FMB registered and confirmed that they use FMB contracts.  However, I'm concerned about him not being busy.  Is this also a red flag?

Thanks


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Replies

  • Ebe_ScroogeEbe_Scrooge Forumite
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    You say you had 7 quotes - was Builder 2's price a lot more expensive than the others ?  For a given job, any genuine quotes you get ought to be within the same ballpark.  The parts that are required will cost roughly the same, and the time required ought to be roughly the same for any competent builder.  The hourly rate will vary from one builder to another, but ought to be in the same ballpark if they want to be competitive.

    The fact that he knocked 10 grand off at a stroke would suggest that either his initial quote was way over the top, and he was taking a punt that he'd get away with it - or his initial quote was reasonable, and now he'll do a cowboy job because there's no way he can do the job properly and still make a profit out of it.  That's probably the reason he's not busy, and probably the reason you should avoid him.
    I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.
  • TELLIT01TELLIT01 Forumite
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    End of September is 2 months away so he is reasonably busy.  He may simply prefer not to commit too far ahead.
  • aliwycaliwyc Forumite
    20 posts
    10 Posts
    You say you had 7 quotes - was Builder 2's price a lot more expensive than the others ?  
    Builder 2 was, looking at the quotes, the most expensive one but he was also very thorough when he came round.  Now that he's knocked £10k off, he's very close to Builder 1 quote.  Six of the quotes were within this £10k range, with only one below (which we dismissed).  We were surprised by the range as well. 

    The fact that he knocked 10 grand off at a stroke would suggest that either his initial quote was way over the top, and he was taking a punt that he'd get away with it 
    Maybe this.  He is more the business side of things, and his business partner who came with him second time is a builder.  There were also a couple of things I queried on his initial quote - e.g. there was a duplication of an item which was removed which probably helped bringing down the cost a bit, along with his builder business partner telling him how much it would actually cost. 


  • comeandgocomeandgo Forumite
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    I don't think starting end of September signifies not busy.  If you are happy with him, he is FMB registered and is not asking stupid money up front he sounds a good bet.
  • Rosa_DamascenaRosa_Damascena Forumite
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    I wouldn't trust either of them. Go with someone reasonable who doesn't think a contract is a threat.
    No man is worth crawling on this earth.

    So much to read, so little time.
  • GangaGanga Forumite
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    Also find out any jobs they have been doing in your area and go and see the quality of their work and the comments of the customers.
    ITS NOT EASY TO GET EVERYTHING WRONG ,I HAVE TO WORK HARD TO DO IT!
  • SootySweep1SootySweep1 Forumite
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    Hi
    Make sure you are crystal clear what is and isn't included in the quote.
    Inevitably you will find things that couldn't be foreseen however there can also be alot of I didn't realise you wanted xyz and they're not included in my quote. Some give a lower quote to get a job knowing they'll get the price up with all the extra bits.
    Cheers
    Jenny 
  • EssexExileEssexExile Forumite
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    Ganga said:
    Also find out any jobs they have been doing in your area and go and see the quality of their work and the comments of the customers.
    This. I saw a builder working locally and (after he'd left the site) asked the owner for her impressions. She said he was good, we went with him and he was good. Not a contract in sight though!
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
  • Rosa_DamascenaRosa_Damascena Forumite
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    Ganga said:
    Also find out any jobs they have been doing in your area and go and see the quality of their work and the comments of the customers.
    This. I saw a builder working locally and (after he'd left the site) asked the owner for her impressions. She said he was good, we went with him and he was good. Not a contract in sight though!
    How big a job? Rough cost?

    For a big job it feels like too much of a gamble. Things can always go wrong.
    No man is worth crawling on this earth.

    So much to read, so little time.
  • aliwycaliwyc Forumite
    20 posts
    10 Posts
    Ganga said:
    Also find out any jobs they have been doing in your area and go and see the quality of their work and the comments of the customers.
    I want to do this, but I don't know how to go about doing it tbh.  How do I know that the people that the builder puts me in touch with are genuine customers and not his mates?


    For a big job it feels like too much of a gamble. Things can always go wrong.
    I kinda agree.  If it was a small job, then I wouldn't mind as much.  However, there is a lot of structural work and the renovation will end up costing around £50k so i don't think it's something I want to gamble with. 
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