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Are all builders like this?? Or am I giving off bad vibes?

(22 Posts)
Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 18-Sep-08 22:55:20

We want to build another room upstairs. It seems fairly straightforward- we had the plans drawn up, got the planning permission and then phoned round some builders for quotations.

3 builders have copies of our plans, and have had them for about 4-5weeks. Another one cancelled his visit to quote at the last minute, saying something had come up and he would get back to us (he hasn't)Out of 6 builders contacted, only ONE has managed to get back to us with a quote!!

All the builders we had out to quote us were recommended by various friends, apart from the one who has actually managed to quote us, so we know they are capable of doing a job. I am very easy-going about the extension/ new room- of course I'd love for it to be done for Christmas, but realistically I know I can expect to wait for a decent builder, and I have told them this. we are borrowing the money, so can pay cash. I'm polite, friendly and normal!

WHY do all these builders disappear and not get back to me??? I have checked the end of my driveway, and can see no obvious hole in the space/ time continuum there. So where are they going, and WHY? Please help- I am getting peeved and paranoid

thisisyesterday Thu 18-Sep-08 23:02:04

oh good, it isn't just me then.]

we've called about 12 different people to quote on a driveway.
heard nothing from any of them.

harpomarx Thu 18-Sep-08 23:05:28

not just you, have had various builders/joiners etc over the last few years. Some don't get back to you after first phone call, some come and see but don't quote, others do a quote but take ages (so obviously you're not going to want them to do the work, are you?) etc etc.

brimfull Thu 18-Sep-08 23:06:14

I guess they are in the position to beable to pick and choose the jobs they want to pursue and bin the ones that don't interest them for some reason.

I would've thought they'd all be keen to find work in the present credit crunch,but that may only be affecting the large building firms.

Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 18-Sep-08 23:06:59

Phew- not just me then! Is it like that man thing of "I'll call you..." when they have no intention? If they don't want the job, can they not just say so???? Aaaargh! At this rate ds will be in with us until he is 21!

Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 18-Sep-08 23:08:20

ggirl- I know, I was led to believe that in these credit-crunching days builders were virtually begging for work! Seems not- or at least they'd rather starve than work for me (sob!)

Katisha Thu 18-Sep-08 23:12:24

It's hopeless - they are always on their mobile phones, but never to you. It's baffling. Having posted about similar issues on MN I conclude that they are generally bad at the business side and have no sense of urgency.

LynetteScavo Thu 18-Sep-08 23:12:33

I'm suprised builders arent' falling over themselves at the moment for work.

Somone once told me you need to treat builders like children. At first I was hmm. But I think it's probalby true. Try treating them like a DS who needs to do his homework; and offer them lots of drinks, snacks and praise to keep them going when they actually come.

Can I ask how much the quote was?

We had a quote last year for one room on tp of existing extention at £25,000. DH says he can't see fow it can be that much for 2 walls and a roof.

Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 18-Sep-08 23:18:31

lynette Scavo- We were quoted £15,400 + VAT for another dormer to attach to a pre-existing dormer, iyswim! we are just outside Glasgow (if that makes a difference price-wise)

I will do cups of tea and big encouraging smiles if I ever manage to get anyone past the black hole at driveway's end. They all seem to be telling me that they are booked up until next spring. I can wait until next spring if I need to. Obviously they feel really confident that they spring is so far away they don't need to organise any work for then hmm

LynetteScavo Thu 18-Sep-08 23:29:05

DH said he thought it should be only £15,000.

Is it too cold in Glasgow for builders to work during the winter? Mybe they dont' want to get numb hands.

Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 18-Sep-08 23:53:10

Oh, luv,[sharp intake of breath] it's not the kind of job you want to do in the winter!! No matter how well you seal off your roof, if it rains..... and you could end up left over Christmas with a big whole in your roof.....

Joolyjoolyjoo Thu 18-Sep-08 23:53:58

Obviously big hole (getting late!)

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 19-Sep-08 00:03:08

I'll tell my dp that customers think he should be treated like a child...hmm

Any decent builder will have a waiting list. If he is any good people wait for him and you will have to join the queue. Dps waiting list at the mo is till next May, a lot of that is repeat customers, and thats assuming all the jobs run to time and he doesn't get any complications on them. Thas why they don't give you a start date months in advance - how would you like it if he was halfway through your extension and said 'oh sorry got to go got someone booked in for next week' he has such a good reputation that people book him in to do their new kitchen or bathroom when the customer family are on holiday.

A lot of builders recently have ignored 'domestic' work because there was such alot of new build work everywhere - its easier to work somewhere that people aren't living in.

I will say though (at the risk of getting flamed) that we are both self employed (I am not a builder!) and you get a knack after a while of knowing when a job/customer will be hassle. So DP does turn down quite a few jobs. But he still has more than enough work on. Yes he sometimes does that 'I'll get back to you' thing but then how many of you would want to phone someone up and say 'sorry I don't want to work for you' cos even if he did, he would have to justify himself, then the customer says 'oh but blah blah' and then dp has to give more reasons not to do the work. So its easier not to phone back.

PLUS if you have worked a long day in dirty surroundings, when you come home and the kids are finally in bed, you have quotes and estimates to do and materials to order. Phoning 'non-jobs' isn't really high on the list of priorities.

You may have expectations that a builder feels he can't meet, you may be expecting the job too cheap. DP never works for anyone who tries to tell him how the job can be done or what price it should be, before he's even worked it out.

Decent builders are multi-skilled self employed professionals and should be treated as such - NOT as children.

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 19-Sep-08 00:03:09

I'll tell my dp that customers think he should be treated like a child...hmm

Any decent builder will have a waiting list. If he is any good people wait for him and you will have to join the queue. Dps waiting list at the mo is till next May, a lot of that is repeat customers, and thats assuming all the jobs run to time and he doesn't get any complications on them. Thas why they don't give you a start date months in advance - how would you like it if he was halfway through your extension and said 'oh sorry got to go got someone booked in for next week' he has such a good reputation that people book him in to do their new kitchen or bathroom when the customer family are on holiday.

A lot of builders recently have ignored 'domestic' work because there was such alot of new build work everywhere - its easier to work somewhere that people aren't living in.

I will say though (at the risk of getting flamed) that we are both self employed (I am not a builder!) and you get a knack after a while of knowing when a job/customer will be hassle. So DP does turn down quite a few jobs. But he still has more than enough work on. Yes he sometimes does that 'I'll get back to you' thing but then how many of you would want to phone someone up and say 'sorry I don't want to work for you' cos even if he did, he would have to justify himself, then the customer says 'oh but blah blah' and then dp has to give more reasons not to do the work. So its easier not to phone back.

PLUS if you have worked a long day in dirty surroundings, when you come home and the kids are finally in bed, you have quotes and estimates to do and materials to order. Phoning 'non-jobs' isn't really high on the list of priorities.

You may have expectations that a builder feels he can't meet, you may be expecting the job too cheap. DP never works for anyone who tries to tell him how the job can be done or what price it should be, before he's even worked it out.

Decent builders are multi-skilled self employed professionals and should be treated as such - NOT as children.

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 19-Sep-08 00:04:08

oops!

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 19-Sep-08 00:24:55

See, I accept (and have said same to builders) that decent builders will have a waiting list- I'm not looking for a concrete-set-in-stone start date- just a quotation! I've NEVER said how much I THINK it should be, or mentioned any other quotes

I want to know why builders would think I would be hassle! I've only spoken to them briefly and shown them the plans, which they all agree are straightforward so...??? I haven't even gotten round to my expectations- just that they should not bugger off with my precious copies of plans and disappear forever. All I want is a quote. Or a "sorry, too busy/ not interested"- why would I argue with them- I don't want someone working on my house who doesn't want to be there? We have the money, we will wait, it is a straightforward job....

So why am I getting cold-shouldered (really really paranoid now!)

brimfull Fri 19-Sep-08 00:30:08

jool
we had extension done 4 yrs ago

gave out plans to about 5 builders

3 came back to quote

i chose best looking one obviously

think you may need to get some more copies done

Joolyjoolyjoo Fri 19-Sep-08 00:37:00

ggirl- think you are right- will try to get some more copies of plans and stick a pin in the yellow pages. And will no doubt pick an absolute numpty, with my jinxed luck, and have no roof for Christmas.

Sigh

Such is life

And not one of them has been good looking!

mollythetortoise Fri 19-Sep-08 16:49:34

agree with FJ. as the dp of a someone in the building field.. Spring is a long way away, lots could happen before then. My Dp wouldn't commit top starting a job that long away as he wouldn't want to disappoint if a current client asks him to do other thing whilst he is on site, a regular client may ask him to do something so a non regular would be a lower priority for him, he may not be that keen on the job and so will wait and see if something better comes along.. the credit crunch may well have an effect next year but at the moment he can pick and choose his work so goes for repeat business over new business (better the devil you know and all that)and yes, quotes etc are way down on list of things to do in evenings.. when he has plenty of work on... he is fab at what he does and so people want him back again and again (thank god!)

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 20-Sep-08 00:22:39

"I'm not looking for a concrete-set-in-stone start date- just a quotation! "

The thing is, it takes time to work out a quotation - he may have to work out quantities for materials, price up the materials, estimate how much time it's going to take, not know how much materials might cost six months from now... As I understand it, a "quote" is binding (where an estimate is not) so really you're asking quite a lot.

Joolyjoolyjoo Sat 20-Sep-08 00:43:32

But they knew what I was asking when they came round! And that was weeks ago! So are you saying they are still working on my quote, and might be back to me any day now <hopeful>?

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 22-Sep-08 15:16:46

[horribly embarrassed about not getting back to you sooner emoticon] blush

Er, well, probably not. With the economy the way it is, I'd think most builders would be reluctant to quote several months in advance, as no-one has a clue what things will cost by then. My friend's dp is an excellent general builder who wants to keep his prices reasonable but is being crippled by diesel costs atm - all supplies arrive by road, which puts up the cost of materials etc.

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