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to sack my builder? Answers ASAP!

(74 Posts)
LadyOfTheManor Fri 09-Sep-11 09:18:29

He's a good builder. I've employed him for about 14 weeks now, however in the last 4 weeks he's started to slack. Has to leave early for this reason or that, this week alone he has been late every day (for example, he isn't here at the moment and he was due to start at 8am). It's all well and good deducting it from his wages but I need 8 hours of work out of him. His brother is my plumber and is excellent, and I just asked him now if he knows where his brother is held up and he said "oh something to do with his tax disc, he rang me half an hour ago". Why the fuck isn't he ringing me to tell me he's going to be late considering I pay his wages? I'm fairly laid back, he gets 30 minutes for lunch and unlimited fag breaks, and three times I've advanced him his wages (£500 sometimes even a fortnight up front) as I know he has children etc. I don't want to be too harsh but he isn't the only working parent in the world, and plenty of parents manage to get to work on time. I've had about enough and I'm not too sure what my next move should be. Advise me as when he turns up he's in for a "talk".

LadyOfTheManor Fri 09-Sep-11 09:19:15

Yes and when he is running late he doesn't ring me or text me, or even give me an excuse, I literally have to ring him and ask if he's coming in to today...surely I shouldn't have to do that?

sloggies Fri 09-Sep-11 09:20:55

IME all builders are a bit like this, and its so hard to get a good one they get away with it I think. Nothing wrong with paying him for the hours he works, and not for no-shows though.

SarahStratton Fri 09-Sep-11 09:20:59

Are you paying him by the day/week or for the job as a whole?

CroissantNeuf Fri 09-Sep-11 09:21:32

Are you paying him on a day rate or a fixed price for the job?

ripstheirthroatoutliveupstairs Fri 09-Sep-11 09:22:27

I suppose it depends on what's left to be done. If you have had him for 14 weeks, it suggests a big project.
Would he be easy to replace?

SarahStratton Fri 09-Sep-11 09:22:29

Great minds Croissant smile

maybells Fri 09-Sep-11 09:23:56

i would pull him aside for a talk, i don't see a problem with him being late as long as he makes up the hours ie works later and sends you a text to explain said lateness. do not keep advancing his wages he has no incentive to return and finish work if he already has money.
make sure you write receipts for all money given and what for so you have a record.
i would have a chat with him to be honest give him the opportunity to tell you what the problem is. sounds to me like hes not that interested in the job. so have a chat and see where to go from there,

StonedRosie Fri 09-Sep-11 09:24:48

Yes sack him.
I got into a similar situation with my builder - advance wages/'flexi time' etc. He ended up running off with a crack pipe and I ended up with a half renovated house.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Fri 09-Sep-11 09:25:06

Just tell him that you really need him to be on time.

Have you a fixed price for the job? Or are you just paying and paying for as long as he's there? Because that could be a reason for him to be on a go-slow.

And keep records of start and finish times and when he's let you down, and make sure his pay is adjusted, so he knows he can't take the piss.

But I think you should give him the opportunity to pull his socks up. Seems like he's got too comfy and forgotten he is working for you, not your mate doing you a favour.

You need to tell him that he must contact you if he is not going to be on time.

You need to nudge him back into being professional.

LadyOfTheManor Fri 09-Sep-11 09:25:41

Yes a daily rate-merely because we're having a holiday cottage refurbished so it's tiling here, plastering there, bathroom fitting etc...and as the property is 300 years old, when one wall comes done there are more problems. I don't think he's "dragging out" the work, as I've told him if it isn't finished by December then the job finishes regardless.

He just turned up now, I called out to him as he walked past the back door and said;

"Where have you been? IF you're going to be late could you let me know, I don't really need to find out from your would you like a coffee to start you off?" and he said "No", changed into his work boots and stomped off. Not really too sure what I should.

LadyOfTheManor Fri 09-Sep-11 09:27:26

Yes Magnificent, I think you're right about him becoming too comfy. I do write in my diary every day he is late, but because of his advance and lateness I don't owe him any wages for this week-which obviously isn't an incentive to work. He's a nice guy but I'm not having the piss taken for much longer.

theginganinja Fri 09-Sep-11 09:28:50

My builder always turned up on (I did actually once ask him if he'd got the hang of this building lark). Is it near the end of the job and has he started another one? Or is he waiting for plasterers etc to finish their jobs before he does his? I would tell him that you'd like the work completed by xx date, he should have specified an end date in your contract.

Why are you advancing him his wages? Ours gave us a bill on the 26th of the month, so I'd stop giving him an advance on anything until he completes.

LadyOfTheManor Fri 09-Sep-11 09:31:49

Well I have a plumber, electrician and builder and he is good for the jobs that the other two don't do. It isn't a case of he only does plastering, he's a general builder and his work is very good.

He asked at the start to be paid weekly, and I made it clear I pay on a Friday...then he had to renew his car insurance to get to work, then he needed to do this...then that. I think I might say that I've been lenient enough in terms of flexible times and advances the least he could do is let me know if he's going to be on time. His face looked like thunder just 5 minutes ago so I'm not sure if I should broach it but I feel putting it in writing is just too official.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Fri 09-Sep-11 09:32:41

I think the first thing you should do is stop advancing him his wages.

What you should do is talk to him. He shouldn't be stomping off like a petulant child. He is a professional, engaged to carry out work for you, and he should behave like that.

Perhaps something along the lines of you think that his work is high quality and you don't want to lose him, but you're not happy about how things are developing and he must arrive on time and do his full day's work and if there is an emergency that means he can't be there, then he must let you know.

He's got two choices - accept that or stomp off and lose the work. That puts you out a bit because you have to find someone else, but he's not the only builder in the world!

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Fri 09-Sep-11 09:34:32

Of course his face looked like thunder. He's taking the piss and he knows it and now he knows YOU know it and piss takers don't like it when the piss-takee turns! grin

You need to lay it on the line for him. If he's going to be so unprofessional, perhaps it's better if he does go and you just get someone who doesn't go into a mardy strop if they are asked to be professional.

And stop advancing his wages!

SarahStratton Fri 09-Sep-11 09:35:49

I think you should take his coffee out and go and talk to him nicely. It isn't professional of him, but he might be having problems at home etc. You need to talk to each other calmly and work out what is acceptable/what isn't. For example, if he's going to be late, a quick text just to let you know.

Personally, if he's a good builder, who's been reliable up until now, I would hang on to him.

LadyOfTheManor Fri 09-Sep-11 09:36:23

Yes, maybe I'll corner him later on. I don't really want to embarrass him that's my concern but at the end of the day, it's coming out of my pocket and I shouldn't feel wrong footed.

Should I take him a coffee anyway?

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Fri 09-Sep-11 09:38:29

I wouldn't. But don't listen to me, because I have a 'Winning or Losing' isshoo blush and to me, taking him a coffee would be interpreted as some sort of apology or backing down or trying to win him round out of his sulk, and that would mean I'd lost. grin

theginganinja Fri 09-Sep-11 09:39:07

I would let him stamp his strop out and then take his coffee out and tip it over his head calmly explain your position and give him the chance to grovel put it right.

SarahStratton Fri 09-Sep-11 09:41:50

I'd take his coffee out. If he's a good builder, let him have his little tantrum then go and smooth things over with him. If you sack him or he walks out, you will both lose. Far better to get things on a good level between the 2 of you imo.

LadyOfTheManor Fri 09-Sep-11 09:42:31

Well he sometimes makes his own coffee so it wouldn't be odd if I just leave it, and I did offer. Hmm. What to do, what to do...

What if he makes excuses like;

"Well there isn't much I could do my son/daughter/dog/grandmother has a cold". I know his wife only works one day a week so I know he isn't really in a hole so to speak...but I can't really quiz him on why he has to leave early/come late. I just feel a bit of an ogre.

WonkyDonkeys Fri 09-Sep-11 09:43:17

He's taking the piss. However, he probably doesn't view you as his employer, so wouldn't appreciate a telling off - and it would probably be unwise to turn the relationship sour if you've paid him up front. He's providing you with a service, like a bus driver or a shop assistant. If you are not happy, find someone else, but make sure you do it on a price, not on a day rate, as you'll probably find the same thing will happen.

Pang Fri 09-Sep-11 09:46:22

Paying a daily rate? What a nightmare!!
The problem with paying a daily rate is that some people will spend all day to do a job that another could do in an hour. I have had problems with builders in the past. I found that paying them a daily rate gave them no incentive to finish the job. So now even if I have a number of small jobs, I get the builder to estimate the cost of materials and time/labour then pay them for the job in installments. I only give advances to pay for materials and I pay the wages on an agreed time table.

Can you renegotiate how you pay him? That might be hard as he has already started.
Good luck! I know dealing with builders can be stressful.

smupcakes Fri 09-Sep-11 09:47:48

I think it's really weird you're pestering a builder about his work hours. My DP is a builder and even if he's working for 'day rate', which is rare, no one seems to have regard to working hours. I think 'day rate' usually just refers to 8 hours a day, so as long as he works 8 hours he probably figures he can come and go as he likes. YABU

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