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Please share your opinion on price/time to complete this job

Discussion in 'Trade Talk' started by DM7, 5 Nov 2021.

  1. DM7

    DM7

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    Hello,

    I have recently been taking on repair jobs as a self-employed trader for an estate agency that manages landlords properties. When I started taking on jobs for them I was originally asking for a flat rate of around £20-25 per hour. But then they asked me to work for £10 per hour, which in the end I agreed to do, as a trial for a month.

    I have my own vehicle and tools which I pay for myself. With regards to my qualifications and experience, I have been taking on jobs on and off for around 6 years, mostly it was decorating jobs, but I have completed lots of repair jobs too over the years, like general plumbing and repairs for my clients who value my honesty, reliability, attention to detail and perfectionism.

    I have done some training in decorating, plumbing and carpentry, but no formal qualifications and I learnt most of what I know from research and work experience, and naturally being good at problem-solving/working with my hands.


    Last week I started a shower cubicle repair job and detected that the leak was coming from the tiles. The work I performed was:

    1. Removed the grouted from around 6 square meters of tiles that were on the 3 shower walls

    2. Upon doing this it became clear that the plasterboard on 2/3 of the tiled was water damaged

    3. Spoke to the agency for confirmation of what they want doing and they said to remove everything that is damaged and replace with new. So I Removed the shower door frame, shower riser rail, tiles, and damaged plasterboard from
    the two damaged walls (each wall is around 2 sq meters)

    4. After removing the old plasterboard I saw that the wooden frame behind it didn't cover enough the area needed to support the 2 sq meters of new Aqua cement board that the agency wanted me to install. So I first installed around 2-3 meters of timber in the areas needed to build up the frame to support the new aqua cement board.

    5. Installed Aqua cement board panels

    6. Removed old silicone from shower tray and shower frame

    7. Installed new PVC shower panels on the two walls that were damaged (as per the agencies request).

    8. Applied tile grouted to the existing back wall (that was not leaking, but I just re-did the grout because the other two walls had issues and originally I was just going to re-grout the 3 walls to repair but then we later found out that the plasterboard on two of the walls was water-damaged etc.)

    9. Cleaned off, cut to size, installed, and grouted old tiles to the outer side
    of shower frame area (that doesn't get into contact with water, but needed originally needed to be removed as the original tiles went half in and half out of the shower cubicle area)

    10. Installed shower riser rail

    11. Fitted new seal to the shower tray and applied silicone to edges of the shower

    12. Time spent getting materials and fault detecting through this process.


    ---

    Basically, the estate agency is saying I took too long and want to pay me less than £10 per hour for the work.

    Please can you guys advise on how long youse would take to do this job, and the price you would charge for the labor.


    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
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  3. JP_

    JP_

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    They are taking the ****. Minimum wage is £8.21 - how low do they want to go?
    How long did it take you to do the work?
    If you can find other work I'd go and look for somebody else, and tell the estate agents you can only work at £25/hr / £200 a day, which seems reasonable to me.
    Others will probably say much more!

    "The average Maintenance Handyman salary in UK is £27,920.35"
    https://www.checkasalary.co.uk/salary/maintenance-handyman

    Based on a 37.5 hour week, that's just over £14/hr
     
    Last edited: 5 Nov 2021
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  4. DM7

    DM7

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    Thanks for your input.

    I want to see what everyone else thinks, like how long they would take to complete this job and the amount they would charge the agency etc. so that I can then present this thread to the agency for them to see for themselves.

    I will mention the amount of time I took too but want to get impartial opinions from the other traders on here first so that I am not influencing the thread, so as to give the agency a fair, impartial opinion, etc.
     
  5. JP_

    JP_

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    Yeah. I don't know how long a job like that would take, but I do know that you can never guarantee a time on a job like that as you'll likely uncover problems that take longer to sort out than expected.
     
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  6. DM7

    DM7

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    Yeah, like it started out just a leak.. then it turned into a regrouting job.. then it turned into just replacing some of the plasterboard & tiles, then when doing that I saw that more than 60% of one wall had damaged plasterboard, then I needed to build up the wood frame after finding out that it was required for the new board.....

    It just kept getting more and more work, unexpectedly, and not really my fault either. I have enough work to do on other jobs to keep me busy, so I have no need to make jobs longer than what's needed...

    I told them today £15 per hour is now the lowest rate I would accept. I charge other clients more than this though... but I guess the agency needs to make a profit from my work, and they do provide me with work that fills in the gaps from my other clients, so £15 per hour is fine for me, although I am paying for my own petrol, car insurance/repairs and tools and have to account for my admin time (that I don't get paid for as a self-employed trader) when making invoices etc.
     
  7. JP_

    JP_

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    That job would cost a lot from a bathroom installer - probably well over £1000 + materials.

    Maybe what they want is just another bodge job to keep the tenant happy for another 6 months ...
     
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  8. blup

    blup

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    You're not getting recommendations/reviews from an agent in the way you would working direct for clients, so build up that side of the business. You will eventually have more bargaining power with the agent in terms of your hourly rate.

    Blup
     
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  9. DM7

    DM7

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    You are absolutely right there. I didn't counter in the fact that when working for an agency you lose out on referrals and building up your own client base/reputation.

    I took like a year out of trade work, as I tried migrating to another country but things got messed up around the time the COVID pandemic broke out and now I'm back in the UK. So I've only just started promoting my services again.

    The agency said to me yesterday that the maximum they are going to pay me for the work I did (work mentioned above) is £200 for my time... They said this is because they had pre-told the landlord that the job would not cost more than £200.

    I told them this is not acceptable, as when you agree to pay a worker (me) an hourly rate you must stick to your word, no matter what. Likewise, when you give a landlord a fixed price you must stick to this price too. You win some and you lose some. Perhaps the agency made a loss on this occasion, but on many other occasions, they have made a profit from my labour...

    Also, it is acceptable to request a landlord to pay more on a fixed price quote if the work quoted becomes bigger than expected, but I would say that that is more of a polite request that the landlord has a right to refuse.

    I told the agency I was going to check with other traders to see how long/much they would charge to complete the job I did. I know full well that what they have done is wrong. I'm just looking to back it up with other traders' opinions so that the agency can't say I don't know what I am talking about.

    I do fully accept though if I am mistaken in my thoughts.
     
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  11. DM7

    DM7

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    Just to mention though, I had invoiced the agency for £290, as it took me 29 hours.

    They are saying I took too long and that they are only paying me £200 for it.

    It's not really so much about the money for me. It's more about what right. If someone agrees to pay you £10 per hour then they should stick to their word.
     
  12. Notch7

    Notch7

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    You need to say to them: “I presume on that basis that your customers tell you how agency commission they will pay”


    They are trying it on.
     
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  13. Notch7

    Notch7

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    which is still dirt cheap.
     
  14. DM7

    DM7

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    I remember back when I first started out. My very first proper job was to decorate pretty much a whole house, 6 rooms, stripping cardboard insulation, applying lining paper, wallpaper and gloss.

    I very much undercharged for the job. I think I said something daft like £750 for labour!

    I wasn't confident about applying wallpaper so I sub-contracted 2 other pro-decorators to work for me. I paid them like £150 a day for their work. I worked so hard to remove the cardboard insulation paper (was a nightmare to remove), I spent maybe 2 weeks or more on that house, hard graft.

    In the end I made like maybe £100 for all my work, because I had to pay the decorators I hired a fair wage.

    The point is, when you give a quote you stick to it. When you offer a wage to a worker you stick to it. No matter what.

    After doing that clients' house their brother who lived on the same street asked me to paint his exterior, then I ended up doing another 2 houses on that street from the neighbors seeing how well I worked. I then became full-time, working in the wealthiest area of my city, got so many recommendations... all because I stuck to my original price on that very first job that I made a huge loss on, but did with honesty and hard work.
     
  15. Notch7

    Notch7

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    What sort of work do you like doing?

    are you in an affluent area?

    Around here in Sussex, People are crying out for handyman services - jobs that tradesmen cant be bothered with.

    If you like doing small, quick in out repairs and have multi trade skills, off your services as a handyman - you can charge from say £60 for a job that may take an hour - 2 of those in a day and you’ve earns more than £10 an hour. Get 4 in a day and you are getting £30/hr


    I would continue with the agency if they agree to £15 an hour, but start building up your own work.
     
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  16. DM7

    DM7

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    exactly, lol.

    I told them even if I was twice as slow as other workers I am charging £10 per hour!

    £200 for 29 hours work is like £6.90 per hour. I worked to the point of exhaustion too...
     
  17. DM7

    DM7

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    Thanks for the advice. I am based in Preston. There is a wealthy area here called "Fullwood" - lots of Rolls-Royce and Bentleys drivers.
     
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