Unreliable Builders

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Tuesday 22 February 2005 4.52pm
Sarah, have posted a private message. Let us know who gets the job and if it's done well!
Tuesday 22 February 2005 4.57pm
Well, thanks and I agree with you, especially as I haven't bad mouthed anyone and wouldn't do so, especially on a public forum, but I do really believe that the fantastic thing about this forum is that people tell their neighbours about their experiences, good or bad and leave them to make up their own minds. It is a minefield trying to find reputable companies and it's great that places like this are there to help.
As a potential customer, I expect commercial companies to give a good service, I shouldn't have to ring them up and hassle them in order to give them business!
I would also say that the aforementioned company also had the cheek to send me a sarcastic text this morning which again is not professional AT ALL. Why not ring a potential client, explain the situation in a professional way and try to keep some goodwill?
I would rather draw a line under this, but thanks for the tips that you guys have given me.
MM Wrote:
> I have to say that I am staggered that a
> "commercial" company has the cheek to post up a
> rant against a potential customer here, (cf:
> Inside Out, above), although it is symptomatic of
> a quaintly British phenomena, namely that the
> customer is always wrong. Until I moved to Canada,
> I didn't realize just how bad Britain is for this
> sort of thing. I have had four different jobs done
> on my property over the last year, and on each
> occassion, the workmen have (a) given an exact
> time for arrival (b) arrived within 5 minutes of
> that time (c) quoted a price and stuck to it and
> (d) completed the work to an extremely high
> quality. And get a load of this... when my oil
> furnace broke down rendering my whole property
> without heat in a minus 20 celcius snow storm on a
> sunday evening, the workman came out within 20
> minutes of the call, fixed it within five minutes
> and said that "as it didn't require any parts
> replacing, and as it only took a few minutes, I
> won't charge you for it this time". So guess what-
> he's now got a loyal customer for life, who will
> be recommending him to all my local friends. I
> suppose its a question of supply and demand, but
> damn, they know how to do "service" over here. But
> don't get me wrong, there are things I miss about
> SE1 too!

Tuesday 22 February 2005 4.59pm
I spoke to your guy- he remembered you- are you sure you aren't related to him?!
He is pretty busy until end of April but nevertheless is going to meet up to give me a quote, good attitude.
Thank you!
Tuesday 22 February 2005 4.59pm
The trouble seems to be that as there is such a shortage of skilled plumbers, electricians etc in London that they feel they can do/charge whatever they like and their reply to any complaint is "Good luck trying to find someone else to do it!" Supply & demand I guess but very frustrating.
Tuesday 22 February 2005 5.31pm
As a designer who has at times been the client and at other times been the contractor/builder in effect I can sympathise with both Sarah and Inside Out on this issue.

Builders are forever being stereotyped as unreliable, rude, rip-off merchants and programmes such as Builders from Hell etc reinforce those stereotypes sadly because it makes good TV. The reality is very different though and builders provide a very valuable service that most people wouldn't want to do themselves. Who in their right mind wants to spend their days in the cold, breathing in dust and fumes, lifting heavy items, getting covered in crap, unblocking drains, spending their weekends and evenings doing speculative site visits, getting knocked by clients etc?

The root of the problem is the fact that there is a huge shortage of skilled tradesmen which means that companies like Inside Out probably get more calls than they want, need or can cope with. Whilst that situation exists builders will never be able to give you the service you expect compared to almost every other industry.

If a builder is "unreliable" it may just be that he's busy and prioritising an existing client. If a builder's expensive it may be that he's properly insured, qualified, charging VAT and doing a thorough job. It's a very difficult situation for both the client and the builder as in general a builder will not be able to meet a client's expectations.

Tuesday 22 February 2005 5.57pm
I hear what you're saying Phil, but I do think that people should be professional enough to say, I can't take that job on right now, sorry., or just don't make arrangements if you can't keep them.

I'm a professional person myself and I know how hard it is to juggle , eg today I had quite a few meetings and you come back to your desk and there are millions of messages to deal with, all of which are urgent of course..

In this situation, it works both ways- people respect that builders are very busy, and builders get some goodwill for the future.
btw: I haven't said that anyone is a rip off merchant, (although I hear there are plenty out there!)
Tuesday 22 February 2005 6.47pm
What I'm saying is that you can't compare building to any other profession. It will only lead to disappointment! It's just a load of hassle from start to finish and unless you've done it you can't appreciate what a difficult job it is, especially working in people's houses.

I think you have to be very patient with builder/tradesmen because a good tradesman such as an electrician or plumber will be very busy. The alternative is to go to Pimlico Plumbers for instance who provide a reliable service but then you pay for it. As someone else said; it's supply and demand.

I generally don't like it when people start knocking builders because in my experience the clients can be just as bad!

Tuesday 22 February 2005 7.06pm

I'm also happy to give a recommendation for Drum. They are not cheap, but IMHO you get what you pay for (and they always turn up when they say they will).

Jonathan and his team are also much missed by my cat, who got spoiled rotten when they were around, which I always consider to be a sign of good character...[TFIC]

Edit - eek - wrong thread, but I expect you will get this.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 22 February 2005 7.07pm by Siduhe.
Tuesday 22 February 2005 9.17pm
Phil, if you have friends in the trade you know the reason they overbook. It's so they always have a job in reserve. Simple as that. Quite where the customer is the villain in this piece I don't know. Sarah has every right to complain about the way she was treated. A good builder wouldn't do that.
Tuesday 22 February 2005 10.13pm
>>Quite where the customer is the villain in this piece I don't know.

Well I know (very vaguely) a builder or two. Private customers never stop complaining; don't pay; are unreliable; expect the world. That's why the customer is viewed, by builders, as being the reincarnation of Beelzebub.
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