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Unreliable Builders

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Monday 21 February 2005 10.07am
As some of you know I've bought a flat in MCH and now I'm trying (trying being the operative word) to get quotes for some work to be done.
I used Inside Out which I found on this site for some electrician work on Friday (just a smoke alarm fitted) and they were fine, and I was expecting them to come to my new flat on Saturday to give me a quote for what will actually be quite a lot of work (new kitchen, floors, tiling, decorating throughout etc etc).
Then when I was in the flat I got a text from the guy saying he was busy on a job and couldnt come but he'd call me to rearrange. Which is fair enough but a tad annoying.
I had 2 other people supposed to come on Saturday as well and neither of them showed up, and I couldn't get hold of them by phone. This is not a small job and yet these people just seem so unreliable. My feeling is that if they are this unreliable now, I don't want to give them any work and risk more delays and unreliablity later.
One guy who was supposed to come Friday from Kitchens Direct, actually had the cheek to call me and complain about paying the 5 congestion charge (when we are talking thousands of pounds of business!), and then when I said I wouldn't be prepared to make a decision there and then, he said that would make it 'difficult' to come out at all, plus he wanted my 'partner' to be there to make any decisions. I was SO angry- I told him I had bought the flat by myself and was fully able to make my own decisions....
So, the purpose of this rant is, does anyone know any RELIABLE builders in the SE1 area?!
Tuesday 22 February 2005 10.18am
Insideout here. A bit annoyed myself that you have the cheek to start bad mouthing me before calling and discussing with me
first. Its difficult at the best of times to come and quote a job late in the weekend. Unfortunaltly something beyond my control came up which i gave you half a days notice about. At the drop of a hat i had an electrician come out for you. Sometimes things just don't work out. Best of luck finding a 'reliable' builder
Tuesday 22 February 2005 11.11am
I don't see anybody bad mouthing you, philkrouts - perhaps you should take the time to read the post more carefully before replying

.......or is your acromion badly chipped
Tuesday 22 February 2005 11.31am
Thanks bmovie,
I am not going to get into any debate about 'bad-mouthing' anyone, as I certainly haven't.
Also, as for calling and discussing it, it would have been more courteous to ring ME on Saturday, rather than a text message cancelling. I would also say that they were supposed to ring back to rearrange, but this didn't happen.
My experience of builders/workmen is that if someone can't come out to do a quote as arranged then I would rather not pursue them, and set myself up for possible unreliability in the future.
I have explained this to Phil, by text this morning.
This Forum is a place for people to post their experiences, and I said, I was happy with the smoke alarm, but not so happy on being cancelled on, 3 hours beforehand on Saturday.

Tuesday 22 February 2005 1.19pm
Sarah / Philkrouts - I had direct experience trying to get a response from Insideout last year when I called to ask if they were interested in qouting for a refurbishment job [new kitchen, electrical work, carpentry, redecoration]. I may have 'undersold' the job at the time but it was frustrating that an email and 2 phone calls [a message taken on both occasions] elicited zero response - not even a call to find out more about the job. I can accept that messages do not always get passed on, but replying to an email, if only to say the job is too small or they were too busy, does not take long. I work for myself and would never just ignore a potential client. The net result is that if / when I have any other refurb work that needs quoting, I won't be approaching Insideout again or recommending them to anyone else. Glad you're busy guys, but perhaps pay a bit more attention to the customer services side in future?
Tuesday 22 February 2005 3.06pm
Can I ask if you did find someone, and if so could you recommend them to me?
Tuesday 22 February 2005 3.44pm
Sarah, have you tried The English Kitchen Company for a quote? We too tried Kitchens Direct and in the end, they quoted us double what The English Kitchen Company did. I found the gentleman who came by to be extremely friendly and informative. He wasn't in for the hard sell but rather wanted to know what WE wanted and even made alternative (less expensive) suggestions. It might be worth giving them a ring even if it's just a quote. In the end, we decided to do the kitchen ourselves as we have quite a bit of DIY going on and needed to budget our spending.

Their link is

In regards to a builder, I know a wonderful handyman who did our bathroom tiling. His quote was very reasonable and his work is excellent. I believe he does decorating as well as tiling. Let me confirm this for sure and I will get back to you with his details. :c)
Tuesday 22 February 2005 3.47pm
Dear Sarah
Just had my whole flat redone - central heating, kitchen, bathroom, pipes boxed in, walls skimmed and floors levelled and tiles plus decorating throughout (2 bed flat - for about 13k). Was done by a friend of a friend who has just started up in business sort of project managing things - employing mainly Polish builders, plus tame local electrician and plumbers.

Am very pleased with the results.

If you would like more details then am happy to provide them to you.
Tuesday 22 February 2005 4.09pm
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 4.47pm
Thanks Jim,
If you could send me a private message with details that would be most helpful.
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