Tag: MyBuilder


The weather may be annoyingly changeable, but spring is still in the air. The daffodils are out, the clocks will soon be going forwards, and there’s no better time to think about doing some work on your home.

Spring is the most popular time for people to put their property up for sale, a process which often requires carrying out some work to show it off at its best. Even if you’re planning on staying put for the time being, a little work can go a long way in helping you fall back in love with your home, so here are some spring ideas for sprucing it up.



Get Rid of Your Rubbish


Sometimes it’s not what you add, it’s what you take away that counts. And while it may be painful to get rid of something that’s been there for a long time, if it’s only holding you back, now is the time to get rid. If you want to strip a living room or a bedroom back to a blank canvas so you can start again, or just get rid of something that’s been hanging around long past its sell-by date like an unsightly shed or outbuilding, a demolitions and clearance specialist can do the ultimate spring clean for you, and help you get back to a clean slate.


Revamp Your Rooms


Whether it’s a simple coat of paint or a total transformation, redecorating can make a room feel brand new. There are almost infinite options, style, trends and fashions you can take influence from, which you can adapt and recreate according to your own budget. Whether you need a painter or a plasterer, a carpet fitter or a tiler, experienced tradesmen can help overhaul a home.



Update Your Kitchen


They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and like any heart, it needs to be kept in tip-top shape. While installing an entirely new kitchen can be a costly project to undertake, there are smaller ways to refresh the room, from changing the cupboard doors to adding a new coat of paint or tiling splashback. However, if you want to go the whole hog, a quality kitchen can be tailored for your family and last for years to come, making it a potentially valuable investment for the future.


Give Your Garden Some Attention


It’s not just the inside of your home that always needs attention – after months of bad weather, sometimes it’s our gardens that are crying out for some love. A new planting scheme can bring a garden to life, but landscaping can also help to create a new atmosphere and purpose. Dedicated seating areas, paths and terraces can all add interest and utility to a garden, and spring is the perfect time to tackle the project, so your outdoor space can be ready to enjoy in the summer.



Start Thinking Bigger


While it’s always satisfying to create a big impact with little effort, sometimes, a big effort is truly worthwhile. Adding an extension to your home, or converting your loft from underused attic space into fully usable living space, is a major project to undertake, but one that can completely change how you use and feel about your home. If you’re just thinking about how you could transform your home, an architectural designer could be a good place to start – they can look at your home and come up with plans, before a specialist building company can get to work.


Chris and James of Southend Flooring


From pies to parquet, flooring fitter James Thurston (right) has had a diverse career. After years selling traditional cockney grub, the Essex boy has returned to his roots laying flooring and carpeting. We met up with him and business partner Chris Shorter to learn how Southend Flooring got off the ground.

Like many tradesmen, James, from Chelmsford, originally got into the business thanks to family – his dad ran a carpeting firm, and James would help out as a youngster. “I was only a kid,” James told us, “going out at weekends and holidays to lend a hand. Then when I finished school, I went straight into it – I finished school on a Tuesday, and was out working on the Wednesday. I went at it hard, doing five, six, even seven days a week, and did that for the next ten years.”




Eventually, the job took its toll on James, and the moment came where he fancied a change. “I did myself in physically,” he said. “The older guys would all tell me I’d regret not wearing knee pads or looking myself, and I never listened. I just wanted a change. I thought catering might be a good way to make some money, that maybe didn’t have all the hard graft.”


Life of Pie


James’ foray into the food world wasn’t as simple as retraining as a chef – instead, he got involved in the world of pie and mash, inheriting a traditional recipe and bringing it into the 21st century. “I’m no chef, but I was smart with the branding and managed to get it into a lot of places, I even did catering for a Madness gig once. We sold them online and had big plans to do things like open the first pie and mash shop in New York city, but in the end, it never quite came about. When that was coming to an end, my wife was running a restaurant that was also winding down, so we found ourselves coming back to Southend looking for something to do.”


James and Chris at work


With £1,000 left in the bank and bills to pay, James turned to what he knew best. “I went out and managed to get hold of an old van, and dug my old tools out of storage – and within a few days, was doing little jobs for friends. I signed up to MyBuilder to see if I could get a little bit of work that way, and was amazed at how many leads were coming my way. It got me back on track.”

It was another twist of fate that took the business to the next level, as James told us. “I was out one day and bumped into Chris. We’d known each other since school, but I didn’t know he also did carpeting and floors. He was working big commercial jobs, and when we met again he was doing betting shop refurbs and he asked me to help out. They wanted them done super quickly, overnight, so you’d go in at 5pm and have to be done by 5am. I told Chris, sleeping on a bookies’ floor is no way to live your life. I wasn’t sure about telling him about MyBuilder because it was going so well for me, but in the end I did – and we decided to start working together properly.”


Taking on the Big Jobs


They set up Southend Flooring and started winning work, taking on a variety of jobs, including residential and commercial fitting, with bigger and bigger gigs coming their way.

“We had a huge project come up,” James said, “for a new build apartment block with a big developer. We tendered for it, assuming we were just there to make up the numbers, but it went from 19 companies in the running, down to 14, down to 10, down to five. I didn’t think it would end up with us, and we heard for a while that another firm had got it, but one day the directors came down and told us they were impressed with us and the efforts we’d gone to to show off what we could do.”

The key, James said, is their passion. “I think we’ve probably upset some other businesses with how we’ve grown. We’ve built up big accounts with suppliers that other people haven’t been able to access. But the developer wanted someone who wouldn’t just see the job as another invoice, they wanted people with passion, and that’s what we had bags of.”


The team now fit carpets across Essex and London


Now, the business has grown to have ten full time fitters, working in five teams: “We don’t have time to get the vans sign-written, because they’re always out doing jobs!”, James said. “It’s great having a team like that though. They’re all people we’ve known in the business for years, or they’ve been recommended by those guys we trusted. We could never just sub a job out to someone to someone we didn’t really know – that’s your reputation on the line. If they get you a bad review, well, I have nightmares about that.”

Since Southend Flooring started on MyBuilder, the firm has maintained a 100% positive feedback rating, with more than 120 jobs completed.

“We get work from a lot of places now,” James said, “but we still take on leads from MyBuilder. It’s reassuring to know that if everything just stopped tomorrow, I could get back on MyBuilder and find new clients. It really worked for me. Even my dad has signed up now, and he’s been going for decades, with thousands of customers.” He added, “I know tradesmen who spend a £1,000 a month on directory listings, and I just think, if they were on MyBuilder, the return would be 10 times better.”

James credits the feedback system with building up success on MyBuilder. “Those reviews all keep you honest,” he said. “No mistakes, no cutting corners. It does you a world of good for your own work ethic, and when it comes to training up other guys.”

With plenty more work on the horizon, James and Chris will be looking to keep up the great feedback. With that under their belts, growing the business won’t just be pie in the sky.




Each month, the the team at MyBuilder head out on the road to meet some of the hardworking tradespeople across the country as they carry out their latest jobs and projects. We love to see how they work, from their careful planning and preparation, to their attention to detail as they make the final touches. Whether it’s a small, simple job like putting up shelves, or a complex project like a two-storey extension, it’s always fascinating to see tradespeople hard at work, and see the results of their efforts. If you’re a tradesperson using MyBuilder who wants to show off your skills, then get in touch with andrew@mybuilder.com. If you’re a homeowner who’s inspired by these images of transformational home improvements, then you get started on your very own before you know it – simply post a job on MyBuilder and your job will be seen by local tradesmen with the right skills.

A member of the team at Rhys Dobbs Tree Services takes a few minutes break while working on a diseased tree in a garden in Winchester.

A member of the team at Rhys Dobbs Tree Services takes a few minutes break while working on a diseased tree in a garden in Winchester.

Handyman Ian Nicholson puts the finishing touches to a dramatic moon gate in a Worthing garden.

Handyman Ian Nicholson puts the finishing touches to a dramatic moon gate in a Worthing garden.

Dave Rogers of Bristol’s Tool Box Electrical tests a newly-installed fire alarm system.

Dave Rogers of Bristol's Tool Box Electrical tests a newly-installed fire alarm system.

Nuno Monteirom of Nuno Kitchens fits a new kitchen cabinet at an apartment in Hove.

Nuno Monteirom of Nuno Kitchens fits a new kitchen cabinet at an apartment in Hove.

Carpenter Mark Mulholland builds a bespoke TV cabinet for a client in Leicester.

Carpenter Mark Mullholland builds a bespoke TV cabinet for a client in Leicester.


Many tradesmen start out in the business because they grew up with it, but for Bradley Jones, life as a tradesman is a real family affair.

Together with his dad, Steve, and brother, Danny, Bradley is 33% partner in their business, Johnson & Jones, which takes on a range of projects, from boiler replacements and demolitions to renovations and large loft conversions.

Going into business with his nearest and dearest wasn’t always in the plan though – it took leaving home for Bradley to realise where his passion really lay.

“At school I was always really good at certain subjects – maths, chemistry, physicals, all of that, I always did really well and was in the top set,” Bradley told us. “When I finished school, I wanted to carry it on, so I went to university to study maths. I was there for a year, but I realised I didn’t like living away from home, so I came back. Then I had to figure out what I wanted to do next.”



Bradley’s dad, Steve, was a gas engineer of 35 year’s experience, who’d spent most of his career working alongside a close friend. Bradley said: “I didn’t really want to go into the same line of work, but when I was sat at home, I realised I could help him out a bit. I got him joined up to MyBuilder, set up a profile for him, and started using it to find him jobs. Anything he got through the site, he’d give me a cut at the end. After a while, as well as doing that, I ended up going out with him on site, helping out where I could, cleaning up and stuff. I started to think about what else I could do to help.”

With brother Danny already following in their dad’s footsteps as a gas engineer, Bradley decided to follow a slightly different path. “I decided to become an electrician,” he said. “I knew electrics could be something I’d enjoy, because there’s a maths side to it, there are calculations to do – the electrician is always the cleverest person on a building site – although I would say that!”

Bradley committed to becoming a fully qualified and accredited electrician, becoming certified through NAPIT. “The fact that we have gas engineers and an electrician means we’re able to take on more jobs – we can cover everything. I can even go out by myself on weekends and evenings to do littler emergency jobs. If someone posts something up at 8pm, I’ll just head out and get it done.”

With the three working together and able to turn their hand to a variety of jobs, the company has grown massively, now employing a team of ten. “Any job that is there, we can undertake it,” Bradley said, “from something big like a loft conversion to smaller jobs stripping out a room or fixing up a boiler. We use MyBuilder to pick up quick jobs and fill in the gaps between the bigger projects.



Though based in Chigwell, Essex, the family work a wide radius, picking up jobs across London – they even did some work this autumn taking apart the old MyBuilder HQ when the company moved into new offices (we left positive feedback).

Despite all the time spent working together, Bradley says arguments between the trio are rare. “My brother and I never argue – I can’t think of a single time we’ve ever really had a falling out. It’s usually more that me and him will be up against my dad, because he has a different way of looking at things. Dad’s always think they know best! They don’t like to listen to their sons because they think they’re right. But to be honest, it doesn’t happen very often, and it never lasts long if it does. If anything, my mum will get involved, get everyone together in the front room, and force people to make up.”

As for taking work home with them, that’s just an occupational hazard. “Every time we come home from work, mum will open the door and make us take our work boots off before we come in the house. She must be sick of it – we’re out all day on jobs, come back late, then spend another two hours talking about work. Even when we’re out for dinner somewhere, we’ll be talking about work. She deserves a nice holiday.”

The future looks promising for the business, with the team looking to take on work with local councils to renovate and expand their housing stock. “It’s something we see more and more of,” Bradley said. “Generally, people seem to be moving less, so they think more about expanding. For councils, they need to maximise the space they offer, so they’re doing the same thing.”

If things do get busier, there’s always more manpower on the way. “My younger brother, Sam, is training as a carpenter – so hopefully he’ll be joining in soon.”


Advice for Tradesmen:


  • Work on your messaging: “Your initial message must be strong. It has to be professional. You can’t just say you’re interested, you’d love to quote and so on – it has to be in depth, introducing yourself and the company and what you do, and outlining potential costs based on what they’ve posted. And no spelling mistakes helps as well!”
  • Build your profile: “You need a strong profile. It’s your showcase. Especially with pictures, show off what you do and make it relevant – show off the big jobs and the small jobs so people know you can do everything.”
  • Go the extra mile: “Go that extra step for every customer – if it’s just 10 minutes do something while you’re already there, why not? Clean up after yourself, and take away your rubbish. The customer will remember you, leave great feedback, and call you when they need something again.”


Christmas can be a stressful time of year for many families, and if money is tight, it can be even more difficult. That’s why MyBuilder is launching the 2017 Hero Project, where fantastic tradespeople can help lend a hand to those in need.

If you’re in need of a small job doing around the house but can’t afford it, you can enter it for the Hero Project. Across the country, generous tradespeople will be donating up to a day of their time to get the jobs done, while MyBuilder will pledge up to £100 worth of materials to each project.

We can’t undertake major works or serious renovations – but if you need your boiler serviced, or a leak repaired, and the budget just won’t stretch, then we may be able to help spread some Christmas cheer.

If you need a present that only a tradesperson can deliver, simply post your job on MyBuilder explaining what needs to be done along with your details and a photo of yourself. We hope to match as many heroes and homeowners as possible, so make sure you explain why you need it!



Tiles are a great solution for floor and wall coverings – as they’re not only practical and hard wearing, but stylish, too. However, with so much choice on offer these days, it can be difficult to know which types of tiles are the most suitable option to meet your requirements, so the team at Tiles-Direct.com gave us some suggestions.

In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at 5 popular types of tiles – breaking down the differences between each tile and giving you some inspiration for where to use them in the home. From practical non-slip tiles through to on-trend hexagon tiles, you’ll find plenty of useful information and advice, so you can make the right tile choice for your next home improvement project.



1. Non-slip tiles

Although it might sound obvious, non-slip tiles should be used in areas that see more moisture than other rooms or where they’re more likely to get wet, such as bathrooms and kitchens. They can also provide safe, non-slip flooring for hallways and outdoor patio areas, where outside moisture, rainwater and debris can all contribute to a slippy floor.

Often made from ceramic or porcelain, non-slip tiles come in a wide range of different shapes, sizes and styles, with a uniquely textured surface that provides additional resistance when wet to help reduce the chances of slipping over.


2. Metro tiles

As the name suggests, the metro tile design originates from the tiles used in metro stations around the world. Stylish, timeless and available in a whole range of colours, sizes and styles, these brick-style tiles are incredibly versatile, and can be used as bathroom tiles, kitchen tiles – or just about anywhere you’re looking to add a touch of personality.

From retro and classic all the way through to modern trends, the interior design possibilities with these tiles are endless. Whether you opt for bevelled edges to add texture, flat edges for a contemporary finish or a crackled glaze to project rustic charm, metro tiles are a great way to bring an interesting splashback to a kitchen or feature wall to a bathroom.



3. Wood-effect tiles

If you love rustic, natural looking interiors, then wood-effect tiles could be just what you’re looking for. Possessing all the charm and character of real wood, they’re perfectly suited for rustic interiors – and don’t require the same level of maintenance.

Wood-effect tiles have come a long way in recent years, with manufacturers going to great lengths to produce authentic-looking wood finishes for floors and walls. From warm and characterful country-style living rooms to rustic kitchens and bedrooms, wood-effect tiles can be used throughout the home, including bathrooms and kitchens if you opt for non-slip tiles.


4. Hexagon tiles

If you’re looking to make your tiles a stand-out feature, then why not embrace one of the latest interior design trends: hexagon tiles? From large hexagonal floor tiles in the kitchen to dainty mosaics for bathroom walls, the unique shape naturally projects an interesting focal point with beautiful symmetry and enviable style.

With plenty of colours, sizes and finishes now available, these uber-stylish and practical tiles can be used to achieve a variety of finishes – whether that’s a striking wall mural, geometric floors or funky splashbacks.


5. Quartz tiles

Made from a composite material, quartz tiles come with the same durability, beauty and non-porous properties of natural stone, but require considerably less maintenance. For this reason, they’re an ideal choice for busy areas in the home, such as kitchens and bathrooms – adding a luxurious and sophisticated finish.

Whether you fancy dark and opulent or bright and sparkly, quartz tiles can transform areas into glistening havens with their light-reflecting properties and timeless style. So, you can emulate luxury without having to worry about a rigorous daily cleaning routine.

Whatever area you’re looking to tile in your home, it’s important to find the right balance between practicality and style. With this tile guide, we hope you’ll find exactly the right blend for creating impactful interiors you’ll never tire of.


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