He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.


For the last few years now, I’ve had a certain amount of money saved up. This was my special “rainy day” fund for the house, enabling me to get all those things that needed to be done, done. If you know what my place was like when I moved in, you’ll also know that it’s had something of a transformation. I’ve had the windows replaced, had a completely new bathroom, a chunk of the kitchen done, soundproofing work, interior doors placed and I’ve created new storage spaces. It’s coming on nicely, but my attention has been drawn to the exterior of the building, which has been suffering in the recent bad weather.

In short, I need new guttering, fascia boards and soffits. This is no small job. To get access, the job would require a significant amount of scaffolding, along with the added complication of trying to build it over my neighbour’s property. It’s not an easy one, but there’s plenty of work there for the person who wants to do it. I know it’s not going to be a five minute job - and I don’t need any bloke to suck breath repeatedly through their teeth to tell me that. Hell, all I care is that an expert does the damn thing before the house starts to leak, bits fall off or my neighbours lose their rag with me. Easy enough, you’d think - especially as I’ve got the cash up front.

So back in December, I started to source a builder to do the job - I made six phone calls to different builders to get a quote for the work.

  • Of the six, three didn’t even return a call.
  • Only two actually came to have a look.
  • Only one finally wrote a quote on a bit of paper.

When I asked the final chap for a breakdown on his quote, he never returned my calls either.

So I tried a couple others. One who did return calls quoted a price that was plain stupid - evidently to put me off using him. One guy turned up, looked at the job and never put the paperwork together - maybe he was just bored and wanted a look around someone’s house? Who knows. One other guy, who said he would be here on Wednesday came a week later, then said he’d provide the quote after a few days - I’m still waiting after two weeks. It’s slackness of the highest degree.

I find this all rather hard to understand. Builders are essentially a law unto themselves. I can’t think of any other industry in which it would be tolerated if the company didn’t give the remotest fuck about the customer, fobbed them off with craptalk, didn’t do what they said they were going to and just picked to do what the hell they wanted. Most firms would go under - which I suppose leads me to my next point.

With gloom and doom aplenty in the media on the subject of the economic climate, we are also informed that the construction industry is finding life hard at the moment. I’m not surprised. If they can’t return calls, are workshy, have the administrative abilities of a poorly-trained chimp and the customer service skills of a goblin, then my sympathy is very short-lived - possibly even non-existent. What they’ve failed to compute is that one good job probably deserves another, that actually I could just be dipping my toe into the concrete to see how they fare, with the potential of a whole pile of other work in the offing - I’ve got plenty to keep them occupied. There’s a significant amount of work that needs to be done and I just want someone competent to do it, is that too much to ask?

It would seem so. Of course, if you’ve got a good builder recommendation, feel free to drop me a line. In the meantime I’ll sit tight, ready and waiting for the leaking to start, until someone deigns they can be bothered to get off their arse.