Tag: MyBuilder

 

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.

 

Over the summer, MyBuilder and Victoria Plum joined forces to find the bathroom in Britain that was most in need of makeover. Over 400 homeowners from around the UK entered the competition with their stories of bathroom misery and thousands of people voted to for the bathrooms they most wanted to see fixed up.

For many people, their bathroom is a sanctuary where they can unwind in a tub of suds at the end of a long day – but for the Morgan Family in Dudley, this was far from the case.

 

With a derelict shower, an impractical and cracked bath and a leaking floor, getting the bathroom spruced up meant a lot to the Morgans – especially after the incredibly difficult year they’d been through.

Daughter Megan explained:

“My sister has special needs and getting her in and out of the bath is difficult as the bath is too low for me to lift her out, as she is 12 and weighs more than me, so it proves really difficult for me and mom to bath her, and the shower is not possible due to the old style of the door – it soaks the bathroom floor and water has previously come through the downstairs ceiling.

“My mom has also been diagnosed with Hodgkins stage four lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, and with vigorous chemotherapy and no immune system it is very difficult to keep an already grim, old bathroom clean to fight infection.”

People around the country sympathised with the Morgan’s story – and the state of the bathroom – with hundreds of people voting to see them win the makeover. Bathroom fitter Darius and his team at 3D Ceiling Midlands Ltd set to work ripping out the mouldy old bathroom, repairing the walls and floor, and installing the new bathroom with all products provided by VictoriaPlum.com.

With the incredible news that mum Lisa is now in remission, we are delighted to reveal the transformed bathroom where she can can relax and recover.

Mum Lisa is delighted with the transformation:

“Darius and his team were very considerate, making sure I got enough space to rest and it’s very rare to find workmen who clean up after themselves so well. They were fantastic.
The new bathroom is absolutely amazing, it’s really nice to have people go up there now and not have to apologise to them afterwards. Now there’s a queue as everyone wants to use the bathroom! It’s just so great that Mia can go up there now be a bit more independent.

“This has been a fantastic end to a very bad year and hopefully things are going to start to turn around now.”

Watch the full video to see the transformation unfold:

 

One cup of tea. That’s how emergency plumber Tyrone Tash measures his jobs. “I like to turn up, get to work while I have my tea, and be done before I need a second cup. Then I’m off to the next job.” It’s a quick pace, but that’s how he likes it.

Life hasn’t always been that fast-paced for Tyrone. When he was a teenager, he found himself working on the tills for Marks & Spencer. “I was in retail for a while, working at three different stores,” Tyrone told us. “I worked in Ealing, then in Kensington, then I thought I’d be the best I could be, and moved to the flagship store in Marble Arch. I was on the tills mainly, and helping customers out, but I didn’t really feel like I was learning anything. After three years I’d had enough.”

Tyrone was at a crossroads. “I’d tried college, doing a course in leisure and tourism, but I knew deep down studying wasn’t for me. I wanted to work full time.” Luckily, something came up. “My dad is a clerk of works. He started out as a painter and decorator but now he goes round inspecting big building projects. He’s got high standards – if you’re not going to do it properly, don’t do it! So he never liked me tinkering at home, because I wasn’t going to do it properly. But he knew a lot of people in trades, and one day, one of his friends gave me a call.”

It was a call that would change Tyrone’s future. “The guy gave me a week to decide if I wanted to come and work with him. I was still in the shop, and I wasn’t sure, but I thought about it for a couple of days, decided ‘yeah, I’m in’, and quit my job. Then the guy told me he thought I was going to turn it down and he’d offered the job to someone else! But thankfully, he kept his word and took me on.”

 

 

The job was joining a large team of plumbers and other tradespeople working on large projects, such as newbuild apartments. Tyrone started doing four days a week on the tools, and one day a week in college. “The other guys used to take the mickey out of me for being a good little student, reading my books – they’d all been doing it for years and learned it all on the job,” Tyrone said. “But I appreciate having the qualifications now. It’s something solid you can show people.”

Tyrone knew from the first day that plumbing was for him. “I couldn’t have done decorating like my dad,” he said. “I’m sorry, but it’s so boring – you’re literally watching paint dry! But I knew plumbing would be for me. I’m an enthusiastic person, I like to get stuck in, and as soon as I was doing it, I just knew.”

It was a steep learning curve, but Tyrone thinks working on the large sites helped him develop his skills. “I spent four years doing new installations, and I learned to solder my pipes properly, all nice and neat. You’re doing it from drawings so you have to be exact, because if you put the pipes in wrong, when they come in and lay the concrete, you might suddenly find what you had planned to come out in the bathroom is now coming out in the bedroom.”

After a few years learning the ropes, Tyrone knew he wanted to go it alone, setting up 24-7 TT Plumbing and Heating, which has now built up more than 200 positive pieces of feedback on MyBuilder. “I just like being out there,” he told us, “where every day is different. On the same site every day, I go mad, it’s like working in an office for me, my brain just turns to mush. I like meeting new people. Six or seven jobs a day, that’s what keeps it fresh”.

 

 

That passion for novelty means Tyrone has found his perfect job as a reactionary plumber, becoming an emergency service of sorts for homeowners who find themselves with leaks, floods, and other plumbing crises. “I like being out there on the road,” he explained. “I got a new van five months ago, and I’ve already covered 10,000 miles. I’m all over north and west London, from where I grew up in Cricklewood out to Uxbridge and beyond – but not central. I can’t bear being stuck in traffic!”

Tyrone can do six or seven jobs a day, and although he can pick and choose his jobs these days, in the past he’s worked late into the night. “When I was doing all-night calls, you used to get people crying down the phone at you. It’s tough. The money is good because there aren’t many people who want to do those jobs, but it’s hard to drag yourself out, and you could be so tired.” Now, he tends to start work mid-morning and go into the evening, but can still end up getting home at midnight.

In the years he’s been working, he’s seen it all. “I don’t mind all the dogs and stuff, but you do end up in some strange places. The worst is when places are really dirty – I’ve seen dust gathering on top of dust.” He added: “One job I really remember was when someone rang me about a pipe that had split. He’d been on holiday in the USA and it was during a snowy winter a few years ago. His ceiling has collapsed, falling into his bathroom, but he couldn’t get someone to come see it because no one wanted to head out in the snow, and the water was still flowing. I had 12 jobs that day – I must have been the only one working. I got there after about four hours, and turned off the water in five seconds. I was like ‘sorry mate, I wish I could have got here sooner’. People need to learn where there stopcocks are though!”

 

 

Despite the long hours and tough jobs, it’s all been worth it. “It was hard, starting out,” he admits. “MyBuilder was great for building up my reputation though. That’s what it was all about for me – getting those reviews. I was chasing feedback over money to begin with. The first job, when someone took a chance on me and I didn’t have a review on there, I was so grateful, I practically did it for nothing. But I wanted the reviews. I used to look at other guys on the site and see how they did it. I was going for jobs all day long, then asking the people to leave feedback. You can’t beg them, but it’s worth explaining to them how important it is.”

Tyrone has big ambitions, inspired by the Pimlico Plumbers vans he sees around the capital. “I think it’s amazing the business they’ve built up. I’d love to grow into something like that – I already have the personalised plate for the van! By the time I’m 40, I’d like to have a team of people and be the one directing the work. Running a business is difficult, dealing with admin, and I’ve made mistakes along the way, but it’s been a learning process. I still enjoy it.” He might have a few more years to go in his van, but Tyrone is always keen to take on the next job, and always happy to have another cup of tea – just the one though.

 

Advice for Tradesmen

 

  • Timing is everything: “You can’t be late in this game, keeping people waiting is just rude. I tell people a window when I’ll get there, and I make sure I’m there.”
  • Stick to your quote: “It’s annoying if you make a mistake and you’ve underpriced it, but the person has accepted you based on what you told them. If you have to just charge for materials and undercharge for your time, I think it’s worth it to build your reputation build trust with a client.”
  • Give receipts: “Make everything nice and official, be professional. It’s not that hard to do but it helps everyone out.”

The leaves are changing colour, the evenings are drawing in, and before we know it, the clocks will be turning back. Autumn is here, and there are a host of things you can do to your home to get it ready for colder nights and wetter days.

Check your heating

Across offices and bars, the debate is already raging – have you turned your heating on yet? If you haven’t, then the chances are it hasn’t been on for a very long time. If that’s the case, then there’s no better time to make sure your boiler and your central heating system are all in full working order. Get yours checked over before all the engineers are busy with emergency callouts – or before you’re stuck with your own emergency breakdown.
Hire a heating engineer

Update your windows and doors

As temperatures drop, our cosy nights in can be rudely interrupted by cold drafts. Single-glazed windows and wooden doors can be the main culprits for these. Make sure yours are well-fitted and up to date to keep the cold out, and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Hire a window fitter / carpenter

Repair any broken fences or gates

Strong winds and falling branches can wreak havoc on fences and gates, while wet conditions can cause wood to swell, warp and rot. Before any more bad weather sets in, it’s worth checking for any damaged panels or posts. Fixing them early can save money and effort further down the line
Hire a fencer

 

 

Fix damaged roof tiles

One of the easiest ways to prevent major problems from occurring is to keep an eye on your roof for signs of damage. Even a few loose tiles can lead to nasty leaks. An experienced roofer can inspect everything and should be able to show you pictures of any damage you might need to have repaired.
Hire a roofer

Make sure your home is insulated

No one wants a chilly and unwelcoming home when autumn begins to bite, so making sure your home is properly insulated is essential to keeping things nice and toasty. It can be a big job depending on what you want done, but can benefit your home for years to come.
Hire an insulation installer

Add new lighting

If you want to turn your indoor spaces into a safe haven from autumn’s damp and drizzle, lighting is key to creating the perfect atmosphere. Adding spotlights, accent lighting, or even just dimmer switches, can help change the character of a room with immediate impact.
Hire an electrician


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