At SellMyHome.co.uk we understand the importance of keeping your home in top condition, not only for your own comfort but also to get the best offer when it goes on the market. With this in mind we’re assembling a team of Home Heroes, those professionals we turn to when our home causes us grief.
What does being a builder entail?
Mainly carpentry, bathroom suites, renovations of properties, kitchens, all aspects of building work up to around £100,000. I also get involved with building extensions onto the sides of houses too.
Commercial and residential as well?
I do only work on residential properties although I have done a my fair share of commercial properties in the past with previous ventures.
What's the most common type of work that you carry out?
I would say general maintenance. It can be anything from unblocking a sink to putting in a new toilet or bathroom. Decorating various rooms, putting in new laminated floor.
How did you get into the building trade?
I don't really like to think about that one to be quite frank [laughs]. No, when I left school, my father was a builder in London so I decided to follow in his footsteps I guess. I then got a job as a carpenter on an office partitioning firm that concentrated on building walls inside office blocks. It just sort of escalated from there really. I followed that job into self-employment and regretted it ever since [laughs].
Do you have any advice on how a person can maintain their properties in terms of the structure?
It often amazes me, and something I see quite often to be honest. Generally speaking, during the summer months you will see people not doing a great deal. But when the winter starts approaching - and I can only really comment on Fulham where I am – you start to see scaffolding going up, builders will be doing back extensions, and repairing roofs especially. It has always struck me that people leave them to the worst possible time ie the winter. It baffles me. Perhaps it's because people want to relax during the summer and don't want builders in their homes I don't know. But, that seems to be a general thing that I've noticed over the last 10 years.
So do you think it's like that because people book at the same time once winter comes?
I think that's true yeah. Except with property developers. If they've just bought a house then it doesn't matter what sort of time they have work carried out, but the general public, kind of leave the most important jobs, especially roofs, which is an important part of the house to maintain. It could also be that the problems do not arise during the summer, and when winter comes the weather gets worse and rain water gets into the house, and that's when they spot the issue. There are two schools of thought here.
In your eyes, what makes a good client?
Someone that perhaps understands what you're trying to tell them. Trust is a big thing without a doubt. I would say, somebody who would actually listen to you when you put your point across. You have to explain it, especially if there are problems. When you're doing general building work, sometimes you can be doing the smallest job and it can open up a can of worms, problems that you don't expect. You just want to go in and do a job. This is why we do an estimate and a quote if that makes any sense? It's hard to see behind a wall if it needs to come down. You just don’t know what you're going to find. If there was a problem I would prefer to explain it there so everybody knows what's going on.
Do you have repeat customers that turn to you in an emergency?
I've got three or four regular customers who have bought houses and have hired me to maintain them. Most people, no matter how loyal you are to them, if they've got two prices, generally speaking they will go to the cheapest option. But yeah, the three or four customers I have keep me ticking over.
What's the most rewarding thing about your job?
I think getting paid [laughs]. I suppose for me personally it is looking at the job when finished and thinking 'wow, that looks good'. Regardless of all the problems you've had you've got a nice looking finished product. Job satisfaction I suppose you can call it. I find a lot of people don't care about that. They just want to get in, crash bang wallop, hold their hand out and get paid and then leave regardless of how they've left the property. There are a lot of scammers out there I suppose, you never know them. And that's life. It often amazes me when general builders put an advert in the local paper and online, and when they go round to the property, the owner gives them a bunch of keys. It's always struck me as a bit too trustworthy. They get an idea they can trust someone, but they can't.