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To think a lot of self employed people couldn’t hack working for a large organisation

102 replies

Notagoodtime · 28/09/2022 10:07

I may just be very sensitive right now as we are in the middle of building work and have been let down really badly so many times. Currently have a builder here who hasn’t worked a full week since he stated a month ago.Wife’s car broke down (2days off -she is a SAHM but he didn’t want to leave her at home without a car until it got fixed)baby has a cold so he didn’t sleep well (1 day off), he has a cold (2 days off), the list goes on. We’ve had similar excuses from various other trades. There is no way in a million years my husband could get away with so much time off. He would have a disciplinary hearing. I try and be understanding but I’m finding it really frustrating. Anyone else feel the same.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Eeksteek · 28/09/2022 10:40

I agree with people who say that it’s builders not self employed people and also that there are parts you don’t see. No getting paid for the sick days, any holiday/bank holidays paperwork costing quotes, organising or fetching materials, tax, admin, etc etc etc.

But I sometimes think its the other way around. I don’t think big organisations can hack employing real people with real problems. If the business has issues, everyone has to rally round, go above and beyond, do overtime etc. If an individual has issues, they are supposed to suffer quietly, and for it not impact on their work.

I also think that some self employed people are in self employment precisely because they can’t meet the standards of an organisation. That might be because they are chancers, or because the have mental health difficulties, variable physical health or kids that don’t sleep etc etc.


Lincslady53 · 28/09/2022 10:42

We have had several building jobs done over the last 5 years. Bathroom fitters, roofers, decorators and a conservatory refurbished. Yes. Some of them finished before 4.00, but they haven't finished for the day. They have snagging work on other jobs, paperwork, chasing suppliers, chasing payments from customers, clearing out their vans, loading vans for the next day, taking waste to the dump, and more I can't think of. It suits us when they finish earlier as it gives us an hours peace. The guy who did our conservatory work was here at 8.00 in the morning, sometimes earlier, and most days he was here till 10.00 at night. He did a cracking job, worked hard all day, but we were exhausted by the time he left. One thing I have found is decorators can talk for England. Whether it is because they are on their own a lot so when they get the chance they will chat, but we had to keep out of the way or they would never finish.


PerfectPainter · 28/09/2022 10:42

I'm self employed but also used to work fine for large corporations.

I work harder now as if I don't work I don't get paid. I get all my work from recommendations and always turn up to a job until it's done. 8am til 5pm, maybe later to get to a certain point.

Self employment is hard, you get no holiday or sick pay etc. I love it though as I can pick and choose what I do.

I'm praised to embarrassment, but then I'm a woman in a man's environment. I agree self employed men can be a pain though.


Limescaleandlemons · 28/09/2022 10:44

Yabu. I’m self employed. I regularly work 12/12.5 hr days without a break. I put blood sweat and tears into my business. I respond to clients 24/7 including when I’m on holiday which is usually only 2 weeks a year. I’ve even been to work while suffering a miscarriage because I don’t like to let anyone down.

Maybe you should have chosen a better builder.


WatchoRulo · 28/09/2022 10:45

Espritdescalier · 28/09/2022 10:20

I'm self employed because I hate working for big business. The politics, the presenteeism, the rigidity...why would I choose that when I can make more money in a way that suits me? And no worrying about a boss breathing down my neck threatening 'disciplinaries' if I fail to toe the line. Not sure why you're trying to make it sound like a failing?

Exactly this


goldfinchonthelawn · 28/09/2022 10:45

I'm a self-employed person who has occasional contravct work within big organisations. Their lack of discipline drives me nuts. People would come into work at 9am, make coffee and bowls of cereal, drift around each other's desks gossiping. There were constant breaks for birthday cake and beer o'clock Friday and team lunches. It drove me nuts. I just wanted to get my head down and work 9-5 so I could leave and get home to see DC. They were happy to stay until 7, 8pm but all they were doing was surfing the net. Presenteeism at its worst.


user1497787065 · 28/09/2022 10:45

I see it from the opposite angle. Those in employment for large organisations couldn't handle self employment - no holiday pay, no sick pay. Depending on your particular industry, seven day week availability, needing to be your own, HR, finance dept, credit control etc.

Please judge the individuals letting you down not the 'self employed' on the whole.


NightmareSlashDelightful · 28/09/2022 10:48

I think it’s truer the other way around, to be honest. I’m self-employed and most of my clients are employees of large organisations. Some of them are very senior and on £300,000 or more a year, and the narrow skill set and professional silo-creation that goes on is astounding. A lot of them spend 60% of their time navigating internal politics, usually inefficiently.

Most of them wouldn’t last five minutes working my week.


WhatHaveIFound · 28/09/2022 10:49

I don't think that's a self employed problem, more a builder issue. Every builder I've ever used has been the same. They're always trying to juggle six jobs at once so it's most likely that he's making excuses to you.

I'm self employed and work longer hours than almost everyone I know who works for large organisations. Currently one day off in the whole of September. It does have its benefits though - flexible working hours whilst my DC were young and no one telling me what to do!


Notagoodtime · 28/09/2022 10:51

SofiaSoFar · 28/09/2022 10:39

Why are you comparing these people to your husband and what he could/couldn't "get away with"?

What do YOU do for work?

Are you frustrated by other people's work whilst not working yourself, by any chance?


No - I don’t work. I’m a SAHM. Not sure why that means I can’t make a comment though. The reason I don’t work is because while my children a young I prefer to be at home. I have though worked for many years before having children and was always very reliable.

OP posts:

Judijudi · 28/09/2022 10:51

I think it is very unfair to measure all self employed people by your experience with some tradespeople.
My DH is self employed and is a workaholic he works far more than if he worked for a company. He very rarely takes time off through illness and he usually ends up working on what are supposed to be days off. He is 66 and although he doesn’t have to he still chooses to work so that we can support our DC at uni and we can afford nice holidays etc


maddy68 · 28/09/2022 10:52

That's why they are self employed. Don't have to deal with corporate bollocks and red tape


35965a · 28/09/2022 10:55

As with large companies as well you get some rubbish contractors/self employed people. You get amazing ones too. The discipline involved in being self employed is huge, I am not sure I could do it. Some people moaning they worked 8-3.30? For physical jobs what do you expect? Plus the jobs need to be prepared for etc.


TheOrigRights · 28/09/2022 10:56

It's not about hacking, it's about (ideally) choosing what sort of job you do.
Each has pros and cons.

YANBU to be pissed off with poor service though.


mondaytosunday · 28/09/2022 10:56

Builders/tradespeople are not always self employed, and even so are a small fraction of the self employed people out there. Your title is not what you are complaining about.
Most self employed people are reliable and just would rather work for themselves and the control that gives them.


ICanHideButICantRun · 28/09/2022 10:58

I agree. There are many for whom self-employment is fantastic - they are hard workers, risk takers and don't want to be told what to do by someone who doesn't know the job as well as they do. Then there are others who are unemployable - they can't turn up on time, they can't work more than an hour or two without having a break, they leave early, they pull sickies all the time. I've had both types working on my house - trouble is you can't always tell one from the other before they start work.


LegoFiends · 28/09/2022 10:59

I worked for many years for a very large and prestigious organisation and did objectively very well. Now I’m self-employed as it gives me the freedom to live where I want rather than in a capital city.
It’s far, far easier to work for any size of organisation as a high performer or in a demanding and it’s much easier to get away with under performance in such an organisation.
You’re talking about typical builder behaviour, not typical self-employed behaviour.


Wanttobeanastronaut · 28/09/2022 11:00

I agree with the OP, my DP has run his own business for the last 15 years (consultancy) and having watched his style of work there is no way he could fit within the confines of an organisation. He hates being told what to do - only tolerates it from clients because they pay him well for it, and chooses his hours, which are much less than mine although he earns much more. But that's his choice.

I couldn't be self employed as I need the stability of a steady wage. So I suppose different setups suit different people and there's nothing wrong with that.


KweenieBeanz · 28/09/2022 11:07

In my experience a lot of builders /trades tell lots of lies and seem to think their customers are stupid.... We all know when they trot out this rubbish that they are working on other jobs, wish they would just be honest that it's a more efficient way to work when waiting on supplies etc, rather than lie?! All it does is erode any trust in them. They also like to their families at home - they leave at 7.30am and claim they are working a long day, go somewhere for a nice long brekkie in peace and arrive on the job around 10am 🤔


OhmygodDont · 28/09/2022 11:13

Just because his not at your house doesn’t mean he isn’t working. Ordering supplies, giving quotes, chancing payments etc and frankly a plus side is setting your own hours anyway. Who says a work day is 8-5 or whatever anyway.

He might work at your house 9-3 then go to the merchants, then to bobs to give a quote then chase some non payers, chasing supplies online, sorting out financing with the bank or insurance. Hell he could even be doing Training to become more experienced in things. Just because you can’t see him doesn’t mean he isn’t working.


CheeseCakeSunflowers · 28/09/2022 11:16

Its swings and roundabouts, getting to set your own working hours is a plus of being self-employed as is not having a boss to answer to. Disadvantages are, the buck always stopping with you, so as well as being skilled in whatever trade you work in, you also need to be a bookkeeper, IT expert, have the ability to fix any equipment that breaks, be in charge of sales, purchases, complaints and just about everything else that comes along. You get no holiday or sickness pay and have to deal with your own tax affairs instead on having the ease of it all being dealt with by PAYE. You can of course pay professionals to do these jobs but the amount that costs mean most self-employed people will try and cover as much as they can themselves. If the business does well you get to keep the profit which can be seasonal depending on the business, so you need to budget for funds not coming in regularly. If the business is struggling you may find you have little or no income for all your efforts and you need to bail out, with no redundancy payment, before the bank forces you into bankruptcy and you lose everything including your home.


SurpriseSurprise · 28/09/2022 11:34


I am self employed, and used to work for large companies. Most of the people I worked with would not have coped with being self-employed

if I caught Covid and didn’t work, as I did twice, I didn’t get paid. When lockdown happened and I couldn’t work, I didn’t get paid

I turn up to do an arranged appointment and the customer isn’t in, I don’t get paid.

I invoice a large company for work I’ve done, three months ago and still haven’t been paid. It’s not a small amount either. I’ve chased them weekly. Would their employees be happy if they hadn’t been paid for three months?

I take a holiday, I don’t get paid and customers complain I’m not working

Thats just a small snippet, it’s not a cop out to be self employed, and it’s certainly not easy. It doesn’t take much for someone to undercut you and you lose customers. Plus in the current climate you are getting cancellations left right and centre which is then causing a decrease in earnings. Does that happen in large companies that they suddenly get a pay cut?!

Its actually easier to work for a large company. You know what money you’ll be getting each month and have the support of HR if something goes wrong


BitOutOfPractice · 28/09/2022 11:42

Imtoooldforallthis · 28/09/2022 10:14

I think it's the other way round, having run 3 small retail businesses where you have to go to work no matter what, all through covid, no sick pay, no holiday pay no maternity pay, no not turning in because you don't feek like it.


I'm sure your DH accepts sick pay, paid holidays, pension contributions and other perks while he salves away at the corporate coal face @Notagoodtime while us shirking self-employed types swan around living the high life 🙄


shrunkenhead · 28/09/2022 11:43

You've had one bad experience and decided to judge all SE by that. That's unfair. I worked for the man for long enough. After many years realised there wad more to life and went SE. I think a lot of people are jealous of our freedom, not having to answer to anyone, being told when we can have our lunch breaks, holidays etc etc. It's not a walk in the park as we have to work hard to maintain our reputation (or not in your builder's case!) I go above and beyond for my clients and if I don't work I won't get paid so chances are I'll be taking a lot less sick leave than the 9-5ers.


KassandraOfSparta · 28/09/2022 11:46

Similarly, a lot of people who work for a "large organisation" would not last 2 minutes as a self-employed person without the layers of management guiding their work and making decisions, along with support functions like accounting, HR etc.

YABU entirely unreasonable basing your perception of all self-employed on one flaky builder.

Have we had "he's probably fiddling his tax" yet? That's my favourite comment about us self-employed people.

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