To wonder why workmen dont want to do work anymore?

(48 Posts)
2pinklines Sat 29-Jun-13 19:29:25

Is it just us, or is this happening elsewhere too, so far this year we've had workmen turn up to do various jobs (rendering exterior of house, plastering rooms etc) they come, they measure, they say they will get back to us with a quote, few weeks later we havent heard from them, so i end up chasing them and feel like a stalker for just trying to find out how much i have to pay them.

Just the past few weeks, weve had gardeners come so far 4 people have been out, its a big job lots of clearing soil, laying turf and paving etc so something they would make a bit of money from iyswim, 4 people, not 1 bleeding quote. 1 i even rung back this week to say id still not heard off him, i know it was the same man who came out, he pretended it wasnt and that he would have to get in touch with his office - i would of believed him if he hadnt already told us he worked from home hmm

I just dont get it, i hear from people that there waiting for big jobs and dont want to do little things in the meantime, but surely a jobs better than nothing??

frogwatcher42 Sat 29-Jun-13 19:36:19

In certain areas I don't think there is a shortage of work for builders, gardeners etc. Certainly round here it is a real struggle to get somebody for any job - we wanted extension built, roof work done, garden done, new drive, carpenter to make internal doors and fit kitchen, a plumber to do a load of work - and struggled to get any of it done. We ended up bodging some ourselves and most is still outstanding two years later. I occasionally go through another round of phone calls, but still nobody turns up, or comes and then says 'too big a job' or 'too small a job' or quote will be in post but it isn't.

Everybody round here says the same so I take great comfort that it isn't just us!. The gardeners are all busy, cleaners all busy (not that I can afford a cleaner but know they are as I have been asked if I am willing to take on no end of cleaning jobs at £10 - £15 per hour cash as there are none available !!).

LimitedEditionLady Sat 29-Jun-13 19:46:00

Same here,i wanted a plasterer,took me six weeks if chasing to get one to come back.Wanted a outdoor building demolishing and paving,big job really and the guys didnt turn up so had to split it into two small jobs.

Hobbes8 Sat 29-Jun-13 19:47:51

I think it's a bad time of year to get builders. I've heard they like to do lucrative work like extensions and loft conversions over the summer when the weather is good, and things like plastering, kitchen fitting in the winter. Doesn't help when you're trying to get the garden done though.

DrDumbass Sat 29-Jun-13 20:36:46

I had the same trying to find a carpet was exhausting.

stella1w Sat 29-Jun-13 21:25:19

Just this week was messed around by gardener who failed to turn up to quote 3 times. Another who did turn up quoted 345 for weeding, pruning, mowing a garden smaller than a tennis court!

2pinklines Sat 29-Jun-13 21:33:51

I do feel better knowing that its not just us then, most of the work on our house weve had to do ourselves just because its exhausting trying to find someone to do the most simplest of things.

Looks like dp and his dad will be doing our garden then, its not for want of trying to give them a break and find someone but nobody will return my calls with a quote and im past caring now, its a shame cos im sure there are some people out there who are willing to work, but the majority just cant be bothered!

redwellybluewelly Sat 29-Jun-13 21:45:36

Christ yes.
We bought a house and garden requiring a lot of work, we're months behind renovation schedule purely due to people never giving us a quote despite coming round and measuring etc.

We have now managed to find a carpenter, plasterer, electrician and roofer all of whom are superb and although expensive are good - we found all via word or mouth rather than yellow pages. We've tried three gardeners and all have failed to quote leaving us without a safe outdoor space for our DDs. I'm hoping we can make a slow start ourselves.

madkittens Sun 30-Jun-13 11:34:41

and I thought it was just us!

had a nightmare getting a plasterer in - we used one about 18 months ago on our front room who did a great job and was really nice etc. Rang him and he agreed to come over and quote for skimming a bedroom but then he kept letting us down when he was supposed to be coming over to quote we didn't even bother chasing him when he didn't turn up for the 3rd time (and no he didn't even ring with some excuse)

Just gave up and eventually found someone else - it is really tiresome though. Why can't tradesmen be honest and say I've got enough work on so I can't be arsed to come and quote!

Littlereddog Sun 30-Jun-13 12:36:03

This is also my experience in The fact, burst into tears a few evenings ago because of frustration!

picnicbasketcase Sun 30-Jun-13 12:37:59

We had the same thing while trying to get the roof mended - we had two companies come and look, give a quote, agree to do it and then not turn up. confused

WetDog Sun 30-Jun-13 12:43:04

It's not just you, we had the same. Wanted some trees cut back in the garden. Just could not get anyone to do it.

Chap quoted us, said he'd come on the weekend, we cancelled plans to go away.

He didn't even turn up - DP called him and left a message saying we weren't impressed and he could have at least let us know.

We had a lame ass text message back saying he was ill in bed and that his wife was supposed to call us. Cock. More like he was having a bbq on one of the only sunny days so far and he couldn't be arsed.

Finally got a friend of a friend to do it.

CaptainRex Sun 30-Jun-13 12:47:32

We are having the same problem with plumbers, were recommended 4, rang them all for quotes, 1 had moved without updating his number, the second I left a message and he never returned my call, 2 responded and visited for a quote.

Of those 2, only one has given us a written quote, the second said he would after a chase up call but now a month later still hasnt. The first with quote I need to get an extra quote and hasnt returned my two answer phone messages

I too am dispairing of getting a working shower sad

LastTangoInDevonshire Sun 30-Jun-13 13:00:53

My son, 28, wants to change career. I keep telling him to become a plumber and do lots and lots of the smaller jobs - he may not make a fortune, but would be forever popular!!

HabbaDabbaDoo Sun 30-Jun-13 13:07:23

House building is in a healthy state at the mo. So a few solid months of work will always trump what you are offering.

Vickibee Sun 30-Jun-13 13:08:58

perhaps it is a regional thing - we have no trouble finding tradesman but my DH is a decorator and knows loads of people.

RoseFlowerFairy Sun 30-Jun-13 13:12:02

I have had this problem with gardeners in the past, they don't show up.

redwellybluewelly Sun 30-Jun-13 14:17:44

Apparently its to do with a lot of people renovating or extending (I.e. improving their house rather than move) so lots and lots of work about at the moment.

Still. Doesn't get my garden done.

MorganMummy Sun 30-Jun-13 14:22:26

Exactly the same here and is why we haven't got anywhere with the huge amounts we need doing to the house.

I'm really relieved by this thread though as I tend to blame myself for being ineffectual!

quoteunquote Sun 30-Jun-13 14:54:41


Never had the problem myself.

You may of more luck if you ask for day rates , ask to be put on the slot in list, and build up a good relationship with good trades,

I can have any trade to a location in 20 min, which is why clients use us as their property maintenance team, as well as their contractors for builds and renovation.

DadOnIce Sun 30-Jun-13 14:58:47

It used to happen all the time when the economy was good and they had more jobs than they could handle. Didn't surprise me then.

It astonishes me that it still happens now. You'd think in the current climate that people would be falling over themselves for work.

fluffyraggies Sun 30-Jun-13 15:13:50

DH is a builder. I am reading this thread thinking - hmm, very occasionally he's guilty of sometimes taking for ever to get to someone with a quote after going round to view the job. (So long that it is a surprise they are still waiting for it when he does give the quote blush)

It's not good practice, i know, and he always feels bad when he's guilty of this. I'm trying to think of the different reasons - perfect honesty -

1. He is literally so busy, if it's summer, that it gets forgotten. As soon as Spring arrives loads of people walk into their back garden and decide they want X done, ring a builder or gardener. (and want it done yesterday so that it's in time for so and so's BBQ, or whatever).

2. The customer has mentioned a price they are expecting to pay (often a family member who is an expert at these things has told them how much to expect to pay) which is unrealistically low. Causes DH to be reluctant to give a quote which he feels is going to be a waste of time.

3. We're a suspicion it's for insurance purposes. ie no hope of actually getting the job.

4. It's a job which goes against DHs advice. ie re-point a wall which is on the point of collapse, rather than pay out to repair it properly.

Or, very honestly:

5. It's a shitty little job and it's a customer who has form for adding bits on thinking they'll be thrown in for free.

6. The customer wants the pricing done in separate sections then wish to pick and choose what's done and when - meaning DH ends up doing a days work for half a days pay.

I'll leave it at that .... but these are all real examples from over the years grin

quoteunquote Sun 30-Jun-13 15:47:09

You'd think in the current climate that people would be falling over themselves for work

They are,

but as fluffy points out it is not as simple as that,

It makes me laugh when I get a call from someone expecting me to quote for a bathroom, instantly and detailed, then expect it done in the next few months, I would have to have a major cancellation to fit it in, in the next 18 months,

if you do find someone who can do it instantly you have to ask why they are available.

RoseFlowerFairy Sun 30-Jun-13 15:48:01

Fluffy, so when is the best time to get trades around to quote then? Autumn?

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 30-Jun-13 15:49:12

I think my DH (formerly an electrician) would agree with your DH fluffyraggies.

- too many 'customers' wanting free advice so that their BiL/uncle/neighbour can do the job illegally for less
- too many 'customers' calling out for a complete rewire which then turns into just having the oven installed
- too many 'customers' who thought that a room could be rewired without moving anything in the room (yup had them!)
- too many 'customers' who received quotes, acted all enthusiastic then went silent.

DH was an extremely good electrician who was honest, punctual and inexpensive. For some reason customers dont want that. He has ceased trading.

Jojobump1986 Sun 30-Jun-13 16:11:52

We had a gardener come round & quote for some work at the end of March. He was going to start mid-May. We're still waiting. hmm First one job was taking longer than expected, then another customer added a few extra bits for him to do, his dad died so he took some time off fair enough, one job 'had a deadline' so had to be moved up the list... I'm really fed up now. The whole point of getting him in was so we could get the garden in a usable state for DS1 so I wouldn't have to traipse up to the park with him while heavily pregnant/with a newborn. DS2 is now 3 weeks old & I'm over the worst of the post-pregnancy issues but had to send DS1 to stay with my parents so I could recover. I wouldn't have had to send him away if I'd had a conveniently close outdoor area for him to run around in.

We were assured just over a week ago that he'd be ready to start in 2-3 weeks... just like he has been for the last 8 weeks... We've not heard anything about it since then. DH had wanted to be around when they started just to double check they knew what we wanted but since he's been off for his paternity leave he'll be too busy for that now & I'll have to deal with them which will aggravate my anxiety issues while looking after 2 young children, one of whom will be v excited by their tools & want to 'help'! <Sigh>

RoseFlowerFairy Sun 30-Jun-13 16:40:13

I have to say in the past when we have used decorators, kitchen installers and various other trades, there does seem to be a larger than normal number of berevements going on hmm

FeckOffCup Sun 30-Jun-13 16:49:50

We are having the same problem, can't find a decorator to come out, it's not a difficult job to paper one wall and paint the rest of the room. Have left messages with 2 decorators and spoken to a third and not one has got back to me to come out and look at the room and quote us for it.

fluffyraggies Sun 30-Jun-13 17:17:21

Rose i think for a builder spring and summer is the busiest time, because lots of people are wanting their garden jobs done asap., as well as the usual indoor jobs.

I'd say in Autumn things tail off a bit, yes. If it's an outdoor job then obviously it is going to be effected by the temperature and the rain, but it's often perfectly doable.

knackeredmother Sun 30-Jun-13 17:45:04

My dh is a plumber and sometimes will not follow up on quotes for all the reasons fluffyraggies says. He also won't do work when someone has tried to do it themselves first then calls him in to fix it- almost always a guarantee of not wanting to pay his prices, job taking three times longer than first though due to initial customer efforts and customer often won't trust his judgement and wants to help out with the job to save money.

quoteunquote Sun 30-Jun-13 20:52:12

anytime is good to get a quote, estimate,opening meeting,

what you have to get your head around is when your job will fit in, and how they will fit it in,

jobs go over as clients often add to the list, if you were having a new extension and the builder told you couldn't have velux windows added because he had another job to go to, it would be very annoying,

We don't ever lie to a client, we update them frequently so they know when we are coming, communication is key, if the client is not able to be flexible then some trades will lie for ease.

but I do have to point out this thread is making me very stabby,

To wonder why workmen dont want to do work anymore?

I am female, well I have given birth quite a few times, so I am pretty sure I am, no signs of a penis,

I have spent over twenty years hearing irritating sexist nonsense because I am a female in a male dominated profession,

there is nothing on a construction site I can not do, I have to be able to do everything better than anyone else or I would never of been able to tell others how to do it, or show how I want things done,

I now have on my books female plumbers, decorators, plasters, stone masons, electricians,labours, tree surgeons, lots of gardeners , which is great as I have spent decades on my own,

Nothing to you, but it is irksome, and especially from people who should know better. wink

Mirage Sun 30-Jun-13 21:01:59

I'm a gardener and have never failed to quote or turn up when asked.However,I've been trying to get my roof repaired for months,only a small job,but my mum and dad's and sister's roofs all need work and we are all within 1 mile of each other.We said that one of us could be able to be available at any time for the work to be done and arrange access to the other properties,but no joy.

Mind you,I've heard of 3 tradesmen recently who can't get anyone reliable to work for them,people just don't turn up or decide that it is too wet/cold/much like hard work to come back the next day.Consequently they can't take on new projects because of lack of help.I was like this shock,especially when you constantly hear about high unemployment.

Vickibee Mon 01-Jul-13 11:04:26

if you are near South Yorks I am sure my Dh would be more than happy to come out and take alook ar your decorating?
He always says no job is too small because when you do a top job it may lead to other work and recommendations

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 01-Jul-13 11:41:55


I've lost count of the number of workmen who cba to do the work they quoted on. I started a thread on it a couple of years ago and got told by many builder's wives MNers that I was obviously a cow and that's why they didn't get in touch or I looked like I'd be too much hassle to deal with.


handcream Mon 01-Jul-13 21:36:05

I think there are too many people complaining about the 'recession' and being unable to even work a diary.

If you are just too busy just say you cannot fit anything in over the next few months!

Stop stringing people along with fibs about being unwell or such like.

Its rife around here as well.

FeckOffCup Mon 01-Jul-13 21:50:48

Vickibee thanks but not the right area for me I'm afraid.

jaabaar Tue 02-Jul-13 01:25:56

Exactly the very sane here. Big garden job. Fences, shed, redoing whole patio. Trying to get quotes since March! !

Got one quote abd called back for sone clarifications. Geeeeeezzz it seemed we comited a crime.

jaabaar Tue 02-Jul-13 01:32:41

Sorry for all the typos!

2pinklines Tue 02-Jul-13 07:15:41

haha i cant believe the amount of people who are in the same boat as us, for what its worth weve been asking about the garden getting done since lat november, so weve tried most of the seasons, doesnt change the fact they just dont get back in touch with us, whoever it is weve tried.

Its not a crime to come and look at something nd say i could probably fit you in in a few months but at the moment im absolutely chocka, id probably
a. respect you for being honest, and
b. think wel hes so busy he must be good and worth waiting for.

Instead they dont bother to get back in touch so i think well hes obviously just a timewaster and then share my opinion with anyone who asks for reccomendations in the future, which cant be god for his business. I dont know how anyone makes a living out of lying to people.

raisah Tue 02-Jul-13 07:19:00

We had thw same problems trying to find an electrician to correct the bad wiring in our house after we bought it. Some clever soul decided to box in a live wire centimetres from where I drilled a hole for the curtain pole!

Only afterwards did a colleague mention that her dh was an electrican who was looking for work. Is there any way of matching up the mnetters who need workmen/women with mnetters who have trades people as family members?!! Dilemma sorted. Lots of thteads here about unemployed people, we could help each other out.

Roshbegosh Tue 02-Jul-13 07:24:40

I think we are lucky in North London with all the Polish and other Eastern European tradesmen. I get recommendations locally first, wouldn't risk just anyone coming in my house but even if there has to be a delay for a job they have been good and reliable and all certified safe etc.
Is it the English work man disease?
Oh, and they don't suck at their teeth and say things are impossible because they can't be arsed.

Greydog Tue 02-Jul-13 07:33:45

I've got a brilliant all round tradesman. Trouble is, he's so good that you have to catch him when you can! You won't see him for months, then he turns up. This doesn't bother me as he's worth waiting for.

Meglet Tue 02-Jul-13 07:35:32

I've had better luck looking for tradespeople via our local trading standards. Hampshire has a 'buy with confidence' page which lists reliable businesses. It's less hassle for quotes and they've also been honest when they can't do it. If they do the job all I have to do is leave a review on their website.

I don't touch other 'recommended tradespeople' sites with a barge pole as they pay to get listed on there.

MsAverage Tue 02-Jul-13 07:39:49

Yes, this is the part anti-immigrant rhetoric which keeps amusing me - "Poles flooded the job market with cheap labour, hurting the most vulnerable - the workmen". Where is that? Can I personally see the evidence just for, say, 3-4 month to finish with everything in the house?

2pinklines Tue 02-Jul-13 07:48:55

Msaverage grin

Its so true though, my neighbour wanted a loft conversion, she refused to have polish coming to do it as she didnt think there work would be up to scratch, instead she paid over £500 for a botched up staircase put into her spare room and the loft converted which is now damp and freezing cold as the heating wasnt connected properly.

2 doors down had the same loft conversion, they had 2 polish guys who came in to do it, were quicker, cheaper, left all building and electric certificates for less than other neighbour and left an amazing job well done, extended the original staircase, put in a skylight, looks fabulous, if only i could get their number but the neighbours have now moved sad

KatyTheCleaningLady Tue 02-Jul-13 10:15:22

As a cleaner, I find my phone rings in spurts.

I often get calls on Wednesdays frome people wanting their houses deep cleaned on Friday for guests coming on Saturday. I'm booked solid on Fridays with weekly customers!

handcream Tue 02-Jul-13 10:45:45

I put a thread out a few months ago regarding getting someone to come out and give a quote. Neither turned up until I chased. One eventually arrived, said it could be done at a weekend (fine with me!) and would send me a quote. Never heard from him again....I was severely told off on the thread...

A few said I had put the tradesman off and must be a horrible person. I rang the company and asked them to come and quote for some work. That was it. They never even met me....

I think some people just like to pretend that we are still in a recession etc etc. I dont believe we are. I can only dream of a job where I pick and choose what I want to do and if I dont like the sound of something rather than being professional you mess people around!!

Why are so many trades so flaky. You get your diary out, you tell people when you can do it (there or thereabouts - most people can accept that!)

If you cannot do within say 2 months - BLOOMING WELL SAY SO AND STOP LYING....

JacqueslePeacock Tue 02-Jul-13 11:02:26

Gosh, I thought I was the only one having this problem. How reassuring that it's not something about me!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now