To tell DP he cannot continue to be self employed I've had enough!(98 Posts)
Back story - DP is a tradesman, earned a healthy living for 15 years until the guy who regularly supplied him with work retired. For the last 4 years he's had to go it alone and it's been a nightmare. Work has been patchy, income unstable and unreliable. He had a good year two years ago until the guy he was working for also retired. He seems to be very good at what he does and always gets good feedback and recommendations but (and this will probably surprise a lot of people) but despite doing a good job people often try to shirk paying at then end or find fault in the work to reduce what they pay.
We have an 18 month old and a newborn and I've just discovered he's got £14k worth of debt which I knew nothing about. The debt has accumulated from (another) rough couple of years with unreliable work and income. He hasn't been paying his bank loan and credit cards and has been hiding it from me. We rent, supposed to be saving for a home, so we don't have any assets.
I'm so upset and so angry that he's allowed things to get this bad. I've asked him repeatedly to get a job, any job, that pays him a set regular wage but he says he's good at what he does. That's not the issue the issue is he isn't earning any money!!! I work full time and am currently on maternity leave. I've agreed to go back to work full time after just 3 months maternity leave because we need the money. I'm so fed up of holding everything together, I feel like the only responsible one. I will be back at work full time with a 3 month old and a 19 month old!
We've had a chat this morning which resulted in the usual tears (his) and him telling me he's failing us and he feels sorry for me and he's useless etc.... I've told him we don't have time for him to feel sorry for himself we need solutions and if he feels mentally unwell he needs to get help. I grew up with a dad with ongoing depression and anxiety, we never had any money, as kids we knew they struggled to pay bills etc and I won't have that upbringing for my children.
Has anyone been in a similar situation?
That's sounds awful and so unfair that you're having to go back to work so soon. What does he say about getting a job? Are there jobs in his line of work? Would he get any job going? To me it's a no brainier. If you can't even take maternity leave, it's a crisis situation and he needs to do whatever it takes, like you are. And absolutely needs to go to the GP if the obstacle is internal. Sounds like you've got your head screwed on and he needs to listen to you, be completely honest and agree a plan of action. He'll feel better for it instead of clinging on to delusions and continuing to spiral. Good luck going forward. Yanbu at all.
There are companies that employ people doing his trade though surely? So he can still do what he is good at? He has to get a job, it's that simple - maybe more than one. He's lied to you, spoilt your maternity leave, he doesn't get to bury his head in the sand. The only way he can make it up to you is by taking responsibility and working his socks off. The self pity you describe doesn't speak well to his character.
Can he be a SAHD for a few years and retrain in parallel? That's what DH is doing.
I'm in a very similar situation and it drives me mad. I'm constantly picking up the slack when he has no money which is often. He can also spend money like water when he does have it. I Don't know the solution.
Plenty of people are good at things they can't make a living out of. To try and persist doing it as a job when you need money is selfish and I completely understand how you feel. He needs to apply for a job, any job and work full time. It's unfair to expect you to work full time if he isn't doing the same.
I'm also in a similar situation (thankfully no newborn) only mine seems to keep finding excuses not to go back into employment, tries a new business idea for a year, it goes nowhere then jacks it in. I have quite significant health issues and working full time is making me worse.
Pink I feel like quitting my job and forcing his hand. I've always been very financially independent (the result of growing up with no money!) and I think he knows ultimately I will cover bills etc. He just will not find alternative work. I've told him find something, anything for 6 months so you have a steady income and then go back to being a tradesman.
Sentia I've suggested that but he doesn't want to, he feels he should be working.
Mittens He is also generally crap with money when he has it. It was never a problem before because we both looked after our own money, paid our own bills etc but since living together and having children I've tried to take control of our income/outgoings so his finances have become more transparent.
What trade is he in?
Agencies are screaming out for all trades atm. Everything from brickies to sparkies to joiners down to labourers and machine drivers. They pay decent money if you get with a reputable one and the money is more consistent than being purely self employed.
If he wishes to continue as a tradesman he needs to register with every agency in the country and be flexible.
The problem he will have after 10+ years with one person is that he won't have a list of contacts to call and actively ask for jobs. Registering with agencies and winning work that way will open doors for him to make new contacts. That's probably 60% of what matters when you are self employed.
But if he is in the construction industry absolutely no need for him to be out of work unless he is either unreliable or rubbish!
I'm self employed, in a feast or famine industry. Trying to get monies owed can be like dredging blood from a stone, currently waiting on payment from June.
The only thing I would say is that it can be difficult to get salaried employment after being self employed for so long. That's my experience, anyway. Suitable salaried jobs have come up, I've applied and at interview concern has been expressed about how/why someone who's been SE for so long would want to/be able to slot into salaried emloyment.
Of course, it all depends on the industry. Being good at something isn't good enough, especially when you have dependents. You need to have regular, dependable customers who will pay you on time.
I'm really struggling with the 'pity party' too. This morning he's told me other tradesman on the site his working on are earning £60k a year he can't earn £16K!!! So I've told him he needs to work out why they're making it work and he's not and all I get back is "I don't know, I'm useless, I'm letting you down" I can't stand it! I come from a working class, inner London upbringing and was raised with the attitude of you pull your socks up, dry your tears and keep going. I can't stand the mopping around. I've told him we don't have time for it we have bills to pay and 2 babies to look after.
If he is good at what he does send him to the local college and see if they need any assessors/tutors in his field. Guarenteed work in the field he is good at. He can pass on his skills and still do the job. The guys where I work (in college) still do jobs around teacing.
I feel your pain. Hubby hasn't accrued debt here, but I have due to his lack of income. He works every daylight hour and no days off- maybe one day a year. He doesn't do anything to help in the house. I was working f/t plus p/t on top, to try and get the money in. However very recently I just thought enough is enough and jacked in the well paid f/t job as the kids were suffering frankly.
He just will not work for someone else- even though there are clear advantages
Something doesn't add up. Good tradesmen do not have issues finding work.
I have a strong dislike of dreamers who fuck about not really working, hiding debt and fucking over their families.
Can you ask him to come to you with a plan of how he is going to get and keep full time work (agency?) and how he is going to pay off the debt?
At the moment it doesn't seem to me that he is bringing anything to your family setup. You would be better off without him and his debt...
Frouby He's a carpenter, a trade that's in short supply I'm told! He's been unlucky in so much that in the last 4/5 years he had two developers that employed him on a full time basis (they were the good couple of years) and both have since retired. He's back to site work which he just seems to fall apart on. I can understand working in one big new build property, being one of two carpenters on site is a lot more civilised than a new estate of 100 properties with 20 carpenters and everyone clambering over each other to grab the next flat/house to work in.
Very He's forever chasing invoices!
I've been through this, even to the point of putting some of my wages towards keeping dh's self employment going. We set a timescale( 3 months in our case) to start turning a profit again. When he didn't he got a job. Paid holidays, sickness, regular hours. Best thing he ever did.
Jim That's a really good idea, thank you I'll pass it on.
Wear I think we might be sharing a husband! I had £20k saved towards a house deposit but I've spent it in the last 18 months making sure our household bills are paid and we eat!
Yello He's always in work just doesn't seem to ever earn much money! I don't understand it and I've told him something doesn't add up because most people wouldn't go to work 6 days a week and take home next to no money.
some people are good at being self employed and some aren't. it has nothing to do with how skilled you are in your trade. it has everything to do with making sure that you get paid what was agreed and on time. for some clients it means charming them to get them to pay and with others it means threatening action really early on and not doing work for them again. Forever chasing invoices tells me he doesn't have the people skills to be self employed.
Your partner isn't suited to being self employed. he has to accept that and go and get a regular job. its not a failure.
why does he fall apart on site work? why does work have to be civilised for him?
more worryingly is how he hid so much debt from you. that would be my absolute red line in a relationship tbh.
* I can understand working in one big new build property, being one of two carpenters on site is a lot more civilised than a new estate of 100 properties with 20 carpenters and everyone clambering over each other to grab the next flat/house to work in.*
That makes r sound like he doesn't do well with the fast work to the minimum acceptable standard that most large new builds want, they don't want a master craftsman spending lots of time on a beautiful bit of carpentry.
Are you actually my friend OP? My friends DP is a carpenter (and very skilled) but he takes so bloody long to do anything and always takes the 'best' but most time consuming and expensive option he prices himself out of all but the most technical bespoke work. Also he won't work for other people. He also won't compromise of quality to build things to a lower budget.
However he has decided to stay at home with their latest baby and she's not taking much ML because she is the main wage earning.
I've developed house a bit and I've noticed a lot of tradesmen find it hard is issuing and chasing invoices can you either a) take over the finances for him and let him get on with earning the money or b) employ someone to do that. It sounds like he can do the work but can't manage his invoicing - not unusual in a small business good luck
Yello He's always in work just doesn't seem to ever earn much money! I don't understand it and I've told him something doesn't add up because most people wouldn't go to work 6 days a week and take home next to no money
I would be worried there is more debt / secret spending on something. That just doesn't sound right!
I know some clients are shit at paying, but not all!
Op your comment at the beginning doesn't surprise me, my husband is a mechanic, we run our own business, he has a solid customer base and thankfully solid income, however even the regular customers can be like this too. I have been a police officer before and I have to say that dealing with people in that environment was easier than dealing with people now as customers, I have heard all sorts and the behaviour of some of them when they want him to drop everything, do it now and for next to nothing is amazing, the nicest people can become awful when they want wthat they want, went they wanted and for nowt. So yes I maybe can understand how difficult it has become for him if he has got most of his trade from a couple of other reliable businesses who be have professionally and reliably and then had to deal with your average jo blog.
I, unfortunatley can not say I am a people person after what I have seen with our customers sometimes, how my husband has kept his patience for so any years, now after 25 the strain impatience is beginning to show. As for the work load and the regular income, the fear factor, he never turns anything away, or very little, even if he works 13 hrs a day 6 days a week, he,s often stressed and tired and has been this way for years. Unfortunately this is the deal you make for being self employed you have to keep the momentum going you loose it you loose money.
Not an easy dilemma op, once self employed it's hard to work for others.
Dp works constantly too, he should have a lot more to show for it than he does. We also get the self pity with no suggestion on how to make things better.
Forever chasing invoices tells me he doesn't have the people skills to be self employed.
Not sure I agree with that.
Everyone I know in my industry (not trade) is constantly chasing payment. The big companies are the worst. We can't all be shit at "people skills".
many companies just seem to take the approach that they won't pay until the debt collectors are pounding at the door. No amount of ankle flashing will change that.
Just to add further mind, whilst we get the moaners offer the price, good business sense has and management of invoices, very few real issues and no debt, tradesmen are often bad for paperwork its ingrained in them, but the money should still be coming in if he,s at least pricing up correctly and at wors the paperwork all over. May be you need to help him, I did this whilst having kids and working now the business is strong we work together and it works well, he brings in the doe I tie up the loose ends.
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