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Groundwork & Foundations Question
Over run/ extra charges / no trade account queries
I have recently hired a pair of builders to carry out substantial work on my garden.
Without digressing into the work, the queries i have are as follows;
I had to go with them to buildbase to pay for all the materials off my card, and have continued to have all hires and materials billed to said card. Is this normal? i assume theyve done this to avoid tax?
Second; on one of the days one of the builders had a job interview and so was replaced by one of the builders 'mates'. I have no idea of his qualifications, he was very young and very little work got done that day. However i'm still charged the full labour.
Third; they have overrun by two days and are still charging me full labour for each day. They claimed 'the ground was harder than we thought and the weather delayed us. This seems ludicrous? can this be the case?
Fourth; they have tried making little charges here and there, "having to make phone calls/having to drive to builders merchant". We had to also buy them a wheelbarrow as they didnt have one. They said they have off balanced this as they have paid for fuel for the plant which they hired.
Theyre nice blokes but im not convinced all this is legit. I think theyre making us a bit of a 'cash cow' as its there last job before retirement (hence one of them having a job interview).
Please can someone advise
Are they called laurel and hardy?
Answered 21st Feb 2013
Hi. I'm going to try and give you your required answers. Firstly, some tradespersons do ask for material money upfront if it is a substantial amount, they may not have merchant accounts, it avoids having to pay upfront personally and also as an 'insurance' in case there is ever a dispute over payment or if the customer refuses to pay. There is alot said about rougue builders, but there are also rougue customers, which can lead to debt for trades people. So sometimes it is easier for both parties if the customer pays for their materials. Plus you get to see prices paid as some builders may try to make a profit on goods they have purchased on your behalf, whereas you may have been able to buy the goods cheaper. I wouldn't necessarily assume it is for tax avoidance purposes, it could well be for the purposes i have stated. Even if they used their own cards that doesn't mean they would have paid tax...
As for one of the builders being replaced for one day, if the only reason for the lack of work is down to the inexperience of the youngster, then I certainly would dispute paying full labour cost...I can't foresee a young labourer being paid the same amount as the builder, if you did pay the same as you would for the two builders. Did you question the suitability of the youngster?
If the job has genuinely overrun through nobody's fault, then additional labour costs should be agreed. Sometimes Once a job is started unforeseen issues can arise, but this should be brought to the customers attention once known, if you are paying a labour price, as opposed to a job price. How long was the original job? A couple of days overran in a large job doesnt seem as bad as if it was only a 5 day job. In this weather ground is hard but all builders know that?
If the wheelbarrow price is offset against fuel consumption that they have paid for then I wouldn't see an issue, but yes I would have thought they would have one.
Making calls and driving to merchants should not occur additional costs to you, especially if you are already paying for their time whilst they are on the phone and going to the merchant?
what do you mean by not convinced it is legit, nothing you have stated appears illegal, unless there are definate issues with tax avoidance, fraud, underage workers, no public liability insurance dependant on their type of company / employment status. Did you ask if they had insurance before instructing the works on your property? Insurance is a legal requirement dependant on how they operate as a business, but in my experience even those not legally required tend to have cover anyway, just in case.
I hope I have answered your queries thoroughly, this is based on my own opinions and knowledge,
Solid Building Services.
Answered 21st Feb 2013
Most reputable builders have trade accounts but those who may have bad credit history wont get one so that may be the problem there.
Never do work, especially sizable jobs, on a day rate, it leaves too many grey areas and people can take advantage.
I cant quite believe that a builder doesnt own a wheelbarrow......didnt that worry you to start with?!
I dont like to bad mouth people but I think you know yourself that it isnt right, these guys have taken advantage of you. Sorry.
Answered 21st Feb 2013