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if you are a tradesperson and you are asked to quote for a job and you don't want the job you should say so.

(33 Posts)
Renniehorta Wed 10-Jun-15 08:00:23

Three times recently I have asked, in one case a plumber and in the other two builders, to quote for jobs in my house. They have appeared to be keen to do the work but their quotes never materialise.

Two weeks ago I asked 2 upholsterers for quotes. One got back to me within a day, the other yesterday. The second quote was cheaper but I had already accepted the other as I thought that I had once again been let down.

Is this common? I live in an area where most people are comfortably off, so I assume that there is plenty of work.

In future I have decided to just say, 'Do you actually want this job?' AIBU?

zobey Wed 10-Jun-15 08:09:44

I was getting plastering quotes and one guy actually ripped down a picture rail and then quoted 350 then said he would start the next month i didnt even agree to it. The next guy came and looked at the room gave loads of advice quoted me 140. Some people are stupid.

Aermingers Wed 10-Jun-15 08:17:48

I'm, if multiple tradespeople are coming to your house and turning to your house and turning down work the common denominator is you. Potentially you're looking for the wrong type of tradesman for the job. E.g a builder who does high value extensions etc is probably not going to want to fix a back door step.

The other alternative is if you give the impression that you're going to be difficult to work for they may decide they don't want the job. For example, it's probably best to wait until you've agreed a price and discussed the work before telling them they can't use your toilet, plug in their own kettle, listen to the radio or start work before 9am.

MsMcWoodle Wed 10-Jun-15 08:23:37

I am very nice to work for, but still have this happening. Waited for hours for a guy who was going to quote on fencing. He eventually arrived, but the quote never did. I hung on for days for it, potentially losing the other guy who did quote.

Renniehorta Wed 10-Jun-15 08:23:53

Well Aermingers that is what puzzles me. I have never even discussed any of your suggested restrictions. None of which I would impose because I am quite easy going.
Also my point is that if a tradesperson does not want the job why don't they just say so? I would not be offended just relieved that I am not left hanging around wondering if they are going to quote or not.

springalong Wed 10-Jun-15 08:26:03

OP - I agree with you. I also live in an area where there is lots of work and people will come out to look at the job but getting actual quotes is really tricky. When they turn up they are very poor quality estimates. As is getting the final 10% of the job completed.

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Wed 10-Jun-15 08:27:35

YANBU. Pet gripe of mine. And many of them don't even turn up in the first place, so it's not me and my anally retentive ways smile

OrangeVase Wed 10-Jun-15 08:31:01

Aermingers might have a point. I sometimes know after the initial (free of charge) meeting that I don't want a job but it is very hard at that point to say so - especially in someone's home.

Also it is not like a big company with a "quotes dept" - essentially it is unpaid work so if a tradesman promises a quote tomorrow to someone that he knows is getting two other quotes, (chance of getting work 33%) and someone else asks him to do a quick job that will pay at the end of the day - the choice is easy. Work is not always predictable and if a job that you are doing runs on the quote doesn't get finished in time.

No excuse for not getting back to the client though and apologising. so YANBU

AlternativeTentacles Wed 10-Jun-15 08:36:54

Two phrases for you:

'Is this something you will want to quote for?'


'I'm making a decision on X day so if you do want to quote I'll need it by then'.

Do not wait!

Aermingers Wed 10-Jun-15 08:46:45

If you're being pleasant then it's probably a lucky escape, if you have that much trouble getting a quote can you imagine trying to get them to finish the job.

Slightly O/T but my husband once worked on a job where they weren't allowed to use the toilet, listen music, bring any sort of newspapers on site, speak to the client or their neighbours without being spoken to first, plug in a kettle or discuss anything non-work related on site.

The client held a book group where they read 'The Help' and she cried copiously over how the poor maids were treated. ��

OrangeVase Wed 10-Jun-15 08:57:17

I also agree that you might have had a lucky escape. You just never know!

I spent months chasing a kitchen quote. It was odd because I rang, I went to their studio/office where I had coffee and discussed budgets with two designers. We arranged a date they could visit. They came, they had coffee with me, they measured up, promised plans....

I chased for months by phone and by e-mail. "He is on holiday" "He is at the deisgn fair in Milan" "He will e-mail them on Tuesday they are here on his desk"..... I gave up but was very disappointed. (Maybe it was me!). And he had put so much time in and not even asked for money - I had accepted the verbal quote! Baffled.

Renniehorta Wed 10-Jun-15 09:18:05

Thanks AlternativeTentacles those a really good phrases. I will definitely be using them.

Ruhrpott Wed 10-Jun-15 09:39:19

YANBU I have this problem too. I had four plumbers round and only the final one actually gave me a quote and then did the work. The others didn't get back to me with a quote at all. They all seemed keen to do the work, and spent time coming round to look at it and I would have much preferred it if they then said sorry the job is too small (replacing a downstairs loo and sink and putting 4 TRVs in) I am not even going to bother quoting. The one who finally did it was a recommendation from a good friend of his and I made sure I told him who had recommended him.
I also had problems after getting a quote for rendering and plastering from the plasterer who had previously done two lots of work for us. I said OK when can you start he then didn't bother getting back to me for weeks and was ignoring my texts so I finally got someone else in to do the work.
Maybe it is me too shock, though I usually leave them to get on with the work, provide tea and biscuits, let them have the radio on and use the loo.

JaceLancs Wed 10-Jun-15 09:57:05

I recently had a problem with a leaking flat roof and contacted various people to come and have a look and quote
Firm I had used before and was happy with their work (too busy)
Contact through daughters employer - didn't return call
Son of friend who is in building trade - promised to come and look at job but never turned up
Left messages for 3 separate local roofing firms none ever returned my call
Contacted 4 roofers through a local approved trader scheme 2 of whom actually deigned to inspect the job
One quoted 3 options explained why the cheapest option was actually the best and appeared to know what he was talking about (yay guess who got the job)
Other quoted nearly double and was very pushy - even rang me twice since to try and push his services on me

It was a total nightmare - I now need a plasterer but can't face going through all this again - shame the one that did the job only does roofing - I did ask him if he could recommend anyone but he said not as he has no confidence in local tradesmen either!!

Renniehorta Wed 10-Jun-15 11:32:24

I can only think that about 10 to 15 years ago, when it was decided anyone who could read and write should go to university, some very silly decisions were made. There are obviously not enough tradespeople to go round.

It makes me wish that my son BA MA had some practical skill/training instead. He has been footling about with admin type jobs since uni. If only he had trained to be an electrician or a plumber. He would really be on his two feet by now.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 10-Jun-15 12:54:36

I think it's partly that some trades are in high demand, so will throw you aside for a better offer - but hadn't yet had that offer at the point they came over.

They don't want the job as it's too small / big / fiddly.

Some sole and small traders are good at their trade but crap at admin. Some people are really disorganised and some are bad at running a business.

It is a useful warning of how reliable they'll be doing the job. Except if they are someone who's great at the job but just a bit sloppy with the paperwork.

UmmErrWhateves Wed 10-Jun-15 13:06:21

It good if you are clear about what you want doing before they come around. I often send a list or photos because I don't want to waste time.

Its very time consuming for builder to do itemised quotes for big jobs - if they don't think you are serious then they might not bother.

I once did a large house renovation where I firmed the builder before the quote based on his previous work. I told him I would send the quote to a quantities surveyor after I received it. He was then more willing to spend time on getting the quote right - we went through everything in detail as he knew he would get the job. We did a little bit of renegotiating after the quantity surveyors report but barely anything. It worked well and I preferred it to getting multiple half hearted quotes

shovetheholly Wed 10-Jun-15 13:15:00

I have met a lot of tradespeople who are brilliant at their job, but who hate, hate, hate the paperwork. And the only thing they like less than producing written quotes is doing their accounts! Good tradespeople are often in high demand, so they are sometimes doing all this over evenings or at weekends, after fairly long days. I think some just try to avoid it, or postpone it and then forget!

For small jobs, do you need a written quote? I often get work done up to about £1k without one. But then I have been using the people for years and trust them completely.

This is really obvious, and you sound so lovely and sensible that I'm sure you've already done it, but if you settle on a date by which the quote will be with you ('Can you do it by next Saturday?' kind of thing), it might help. Then, if it doesn't materialise, a chatty, bright phonecall very gently prodding them can work.

IKnowIAmButWhatAreYou Wed 10-Jun-15 13:17:58

We've had the same, once you've had someone good work for you, you never let them go!

We had a right rigamarole getting a carpenter to build a fitted wardrobe over stairs. The guy we got in the end was brilliant but did say that he's really busy at the moment.

I don't mind if they tell me they don't want the job, but to just vanish off the face of the earth is rude - and it results in "un-recommendations" from me if anyone asks....

BobandKate0 Wed 10-Jun-15 13:32:13

I used to get this all the time,now i don't bother to enquire.
But when i had a gas oven to plug in - several gas fitters just didn't reply or worse ,say the price,which i agreed to,then say they'll call when they can do the job - two weeks go by,no email,no calls,no letter - i phone and its " oh yeah,he's out -he will get back to you ".
So i go back to a week on the phone, finding someone who can be arsed.
And six months later,still no reply from the others.

HFarnsworth20 Wed 10-Jun-15 13:40:00

If there's lots of work locally then the unfortunate thing is that you need them more then they need you - therefore they will leave it up to you to chase them. If there is a downturn you will probably find them much more customer friendly and attentive.

frankbough Wed 10-Jun-15 13:51:54

You have to remember in the trade a simple one hr job can turn into an couple of days farce, add to this traffic, waiting for supplies, non payers, slow payers, people adding work, customers who don't know what they want, annoying personalities etc, etc...
You also have to remember some trades are very practical but have poor academic and communication skills..

A point about how busy trades are, when building and allied trades start slowing and laying off and the phone stops ringing, it's a sign a recession is on it's way, over a million trades lost their jobs during the last recession, and working capital from the banks was either reduced or taken away completely, so it's not easy... It's a bit of a myth that trades are always busy...
Add to that the physical demands of most trades and the H&S aspect, it's a tough job, and not for everyone, physically you also need to be strong, I don't mean office jockey strong, I mean very, very strong, mentally you also need to be tough, building sites aren't for the faint heated...
So I'd be wary of sending a son into a trade if he wasn't of the right sort, they need to be able to handle the blunt banter and sometimes abusive manner of his fellow colleagues..

keepitsimple0 Wed 10-Jun-15 13:55:08

I haven't really had this experience, but that might be because I am american and hound people.

One time I had someone not show up for a quote, even though I talked to him about 15 mins before who was due to arrive. He said he came, couldn't find parking (I live in London) and just left. Didn't tell me. So an hour or so later I called and he explained he didn't want the job on account of travel time. Why this was new info I don't know. Also, why not just call and say so? Likely, the travel time/parking issue hit home when he actually did come for the quote. a simple text would have been nice though.

Mostly though, everyone whose had a walk around send me quotes.

taxi4ballet Wed 10-Jun-15 14:39:29

Round here you can ring half a dozen plumbers and leave messages asking for a quote, and get only one (if you're lucky) call back.

MoreBeta Wed 10-Jun-15 15:29:20

I have been doing up my house for two years.

Had this experience many times of asking for quotes and people not turning up or not providing a quote when they have visited.

I do now have a list of tradesmen that I know will turn up.

I have also figured out why it happens. Basically many tradesmen have a set of firms that give them regular subcontract work. They will only work for you if their regular customers (eg local building firms) have no work on. They might quote and actually come and do the work for you in a quiet period say in January. They might quote and never turn up if they are just keeping you in reserve in case other work drops off but the minute they get subcontract work from their regular customers they will not do your work.

Simply put, they will keep their regular customers who supply regular subcontract work happy and only do your one off job if they have nothing else on.

My solution is to avoid individual tradesmen (except my electrician and my plumber) who are very reliable. I go for large well organised firms that subcontract and mange a job for you. I am waiting for a tiler at the moment who will arrive later today - he definitely will because the shop I bought the tiles from basically use him to fit their tiles and if he does not come they don't get a sale.


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