Rob The Builder

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February 4, 2018

James speaks to Rob the Builder based in Essex UK about how he got into the industry. He also gives Homeowners and anyone thinking of starting in the industry his tips and advice

Show Notes:

James: Hello and welcome to this episode of the property renovation podcast. I thought it would be a really good idea to get a builder on and I’ve got Rob the builder is his actual company name is Rob the builder based in Essex. So Rob, welcome to the property renovation podcast. How are you?

Rob the builder: Yeah. Hi James. Thanks for having me. I’m, I’m doing very well thank you

James : Just before we were going on to this episode you were telling me that you are rushed off your feet and you’ve got plenty of work going on right now.

Rob the Builder: Yeah things going a bit crazy, they sort of you know, started building up towards the end the last year and I was, you know, just about managing to cope and he seems to have carried on into the new year. So yeah, things are moving forward and I’m looking now to sort of expand my operations and you know, I’m sort of in the midst of trying to find some new guys to work for me and sort of helped me take on all the new projects that are coming up.

James : Fantastic. cool. All right, listen, I’ve got a series of questions I just want to ask you. We’ve known each other for a little bit of time. We’ve been talking and I thought it would be good to get one and I think that our listeners will really benefit from what you’ve got to say as well. So first I just want to know how did you get in the industry and why did you choose this industry anyway?

Rob the Builder: Well I guess I’ve always been into sort of you know, doing things with my hands and you know, making stuff from a young age. So I had a small set of tools that was given as a gift from a young age and I would always kind of make things like small items of furniture and preparing stuff around the house for my mom. Certain things like that and I kind of always used to watch my dad doing bits of DIY around the house and would get involved from a young age. So you know, it come quite naturally to me to do them kind of  things. So I guess I always knew I was going to get as trade as I grew older, school didn’t really interest me too much, although I kind of done very well, is in top sets for most things in school. It never really interested me, the kind of physical things like PE or you know, construction design technology we used to do where we used to make stuff, those were the only things that caught of sparked my interest if you like. So as soon as I got out of school a bit early, as soon as I could always straight into college student a bricklaying course. And uh, yeah, I never looked back really.

James : Yeah, when you telling me that, it just reminds me of my past and like how we started my dad actually used to be doing tiling, and I always remember him going out and, and working, doing things with his hands and stuff like that. And although I didn’t get into the industry immediately is now you get into it, I think. Yeah. You know, like you said you started and you’ve done very well anyway, academically I just think that like maybe builders are built with this stigma that they didn’t do well at school so they ended up down that route and I don’t think that’s necessarily know, you know, I, that it’s a really good point that you’ve said you’ve done very well at school anyway.

Rob the Builder: Yeah, I mean I think if, you know, if you actually go on to be a tradesman, you’ve got to have a higher level of skill anyway. So academically, whatever you’ve learned in school, it’s kind of irrelevant to most of the stuff, apart from say maybe maths, there’s not much really that you would necessarily apply to our trade to such that they teach you in school, but I suppose for myself it was kind of, it never really, there was nothing really there to kind of suited me or fitted what I could see for my future, you know, so although I found school quite easy, I came bored to quickly, you know, so it was never anything to do with intelligence levels or whatever it is. It is what it is, when you go to college, it’s not like a walk in the park either, you’ve got really solid knuckle down and study, you know, a lot it’s theory, it’s not all just practical side of things.  So you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t ever have got through college and now she’s done that in the first place.

James : I think if you enjoy the industry and you want to get into it and you do want to build things with your hands, to be creative then, it’s a great industry to go into anyway.

Rob the Builder: Yeah, definitely and there are so many avenues, I mean you can start as a trade but it takes you down so many avenues and opens up so many other paths for you so haven’t got to ever stick with one thing as I have kind of proven myself.

James: Yeah, and I mean in any job, like you have these challenges, you know, you do have your ups and downs. What do you think that the common day challenges of a building the building trade have or, or tradesmen have?

Rob the builder: The most common day challenges are face up sort of staying competitive with my prices, keeping up to date with ever changing regulations and I suppose the biggest problem I have from day to day is traffic, so you know, it takes up a lot more time, it can cost them a job, or a number of jobs, you know, if you can’t get to there and they might see you as being unreliable, you’ve now you’ve kind of kept them posted throughout the day. That’s probably the biggest killer for me is the, is the, it’s definitely traffic, but yeah, I think that’s quite a few problems I face day to day.

James : Yeah. I mean, especially in the UK with the traffic has been getting quite dense now and yeah, definitely it does take a long time and I think don’t you start off with thinking like you wake up in the morning and you want a good eight hour day and then you don’t achieve it because you’re in traffic so much is, would that be fair in saying that?

Rob the Builder: Oh definitely. I mean the way are trying overcome it is I cover such a wide area so I kind of took my week out geographically so I may be in one area from one day another area another day, so North London one day, south London another day, West London another day and so forth,  but I try and get up so early in the morning that I’ll beat the traffic to the first job, and then by the time I have done the first job, you beat the rush hour and then hopefully, you know, you can’t always predict accidents and whatever else it can hold you up but I try and plan it in such a way that you can overcome, it does work to a certain extent, but not every day, so you can find you leave, you could finish work late one day you come back on the M25, there’s been an accident and you’re sitting in traffic for two hours and you’re not getting home until 10 o’clock at night still so it’s perfect science but I do try.

James :In those situations when you’re in the van and you’re in miles of traffic have you ever gone through, have you ever thought, my God… why did I ever choose this life?

Rob the Builder: Yeah, regularly. It’s enough to make you want to quit, but by the time you’ve gone home and had a sleep, you’d be back at it the next day anyway.

James : I was just thinking like in my past experience I was declined, just as many builders, you know, your declined many jobs as well as getting many jobs as well. Then you find that you’re called back a month later from the person that declined you, to correct someone else’s mistakes, or I’ve even seen jobs posted where someone has said, can you come in and correct the builders mistake, and I’ll just think to avoid homeowners getting ever in that situation anyway , I’m sure they don’t wish to get in it, but what in your opinion, what do you think could prevent them from falling into that trap?

Rob the Builder: I think the mean the main reason, I’ve found that people have gone down that road is if, especially we’ve landlords, etc, you know, they’re trying to keep their costs down due to whatever reason that they may be, might be different from area to area, but with a lot of the landlords I deal with they will try to sort of keep their costs to a minimum. So whether that’s installing something slightly cheaper or finding a cheaper labour cost from somewhere and they will tend to go with that thinking they’re going to save a bit of money, they tend to find that it’s a false economy and then they come back to say myself and, you know, you might have already warned them of this, but they didn’t take your advice and they have kind of thought about afterwards in hindsight, and they’d come back to you and get you to correct the work. I will tend to help people out as much as possible but in certain instances, but if someone’s done such a bad job, your hands are tied,  they’ve kind of done the most part of the work and you’re kind of left with the rubbish at the end of it to put it right, and cost-wise, to make it financially viable for me, it probably wouldn’t benefit the landlord. Sometimes you give them a price, they may go for it but bearing in mind they’ve lost a lot of money paying out for a bad job already, it might cost almost the same amount as it would’ve done in the first place because you pretty much un-doing someone else’s work and starting again, so I think the best thing to do is not always go with the cheapest price. The other thing is obviously, recommendations, a lot of jobs. I’ve lost a few jobs last one recently where I priced a heating install. I advised them not to go with a certain type of boiler and they said they was going a few quotes which is fine by me. I tend to win 9/10 heating jobs I go for and they came back to me with quite a lower price and I was a bit shocked and I asked them do you mind telling me what kind of make boiler and whatever else and it turns out they was actually getting a cheaper boiler, not a better price and they was going on recommendation. Now obviously this guy maybe fine he may do the job well, but what I’ve found in the past is people have gone on recommendation, but the people that are recommended and hadn’t actually had any work done by them before, or they have done a smaller job or a job that was irrelevant to the task at hand so yeah word of mouth is always good and recommendations are always good but don’t just take it at face value, may be sort of look into things a bit more yourself and definitely do not go for the cheapest available.

James : Ok with competition being fierce, especially in London anyway, and I’m sure in parts of Essex as well, but the minute a job is posted, you’re getting tons of people and applying for it so what makes a good builder?

Rob the Builder: Obviously you’ve got to enjoy to enjoy the work you’re doing, if you’re undertaking a task and your heart’s not in it, you’re not really going to be achieving end result possible. so it’s always, you know, if you’re going to do something you love, then its best you throw your heart and soul into it, and then when you finished the job, you get job satisfaction out of it. So I’d say that was definitely the first thing just to make sure you’re doing something that sparks your interest and that you love doing, having a wide knowledge of the job at hand, whether that comes under regulations or the materials you’re using, the right tools for the job, that kind of thing. Everything else just comes down to experience, so if you’ve been in the game, for quite a while, you’ll get that kind of experience comes with that.

James : Would you say keeping a cool head? because you will get into a situation where something not gone quite right.

Rob the Builder: Yeah, I think obviously, there are some testing times out there and some testing customers is always good to try to take things with a pinch of salt and you know, just bear in mind that sometimes, the jobs that your taking on, full house refurbs things like that. They’re very stressful for the customer. You’ve got kind of understand that you’re in their space, your kind of disrupting them even though they’re the ones that won the work done. You’ve kind of got a bit of empathy for what they’re going through at the time. So good patients kind of not taking things too personally, separating the work from your personal feelings is definitely something which will help you be a good builder definitely.

James : What’s been the most amazing job that you’ve done? I’m sure there’s been a few.

Rob the Builder: Erm I suppose in terms of enjoyment, the most amazing job I’ve done recently was, well it turned into a full house refurb, but we, we started off with a few smaller jobs and then the guy got a bit carried away and he kind of went from one job to the next, but before you know, it, we were doing a full sort of internal and external house refurbishment but the guy was, you know, he was such an easy going guy, a very understanding of, you know, not everything runs smoothly, you’re going to, you’re going to uncover things that were unexpected, there’s going to be certain extra jobs that kind of pop their head up and he was very understanding of all that. If any of my guys were ever late for any reason, we kept him posted he didn’t give us any trouble for any of that and he had just had a really good sense of humour, kept our spirits up whilst we went through the job. He was really pleasant to all my guys, he tipped them all at the end, I can’t remember if he tipped me though but I still got paid in full and we were still on good terms I actually had my dad was doing a few small bits around there for him, because my dad works for me now and there was small and it was like a mop, some kind of new-fangled mop thing that he saw the customer cleaning with. My dad mentioned “that’s amazing where did you get that from?” and next thing you know, the customer sent him one, ordered it on Amazon and send it to his home address.

Rob the Builder: So it’s really nice when a customer comes along like that, it kind of picks your spirits up.

James : It reminds you why you’re in while you’re in the industry in the first place.

Rob the Builder: Definitely, there could be some sort of hairy moments on jobs where you kind of start losing faith a little bit, but when you know, when a job’s done and you can step back and everyone’s happy and he was over the moon, the end result is the main kind of goal.

James : It sounds like everyone’s ideal customer, to be honest.

Rob the Builder: He was a pretty good and I’ve had a number of good customers, but he definitely ticks all the boxes.

Rob the Builder: In terms of financially amazing, I have had quite a number of the good jobs that paid well, but I kind of took over a maintenance contract for a big estate agents out in the city and general day to day we earning more money on call outs and whatever else, you know, is not new territory to me because I had never really worked out in the city before by ended up being out there for pretty much two years straight every day, day or night and there was on certain occasions where I’d been handed jobs that would’ve been priced by for contractors and they’d sort of either done one and turned down the work in the end, but they, they kind of have to budget for the job already and you’d kind of do like a day’s work or less than a day’s work and kind of pull in quite a few thousand pounds off of it because that was what the job was worth, the price at.  So financially, you know, that was pretty amazing at the time and it helped push the business forward quite a bit. Um, and it might up for all the late nights and early mornings I was doing out there for um

Rob the Builder: The last thing is in terms of being interesting would be again, working up the city again, you know, sort of often worked in sort of celebrities homes or you know, a family members of celebrities, a few small saw politicians and well-known businessman that had started up, or you say businessman but some of them were young guys just barely out of their teens that had started up certain websites and things like that and they was like multi-millionaires and you know, they bought these properties in the city and you So it’s kind of interesting to see how the other half live kind of thing, really, really sort of a, a big, big properties.

Rob the Builder: Some were small but very expensive properties. It was nice to see what people had kind of done with these small spaces where, you know, space is a bit of a premium out there and they try and cram a lot in but the kind of worked well for them you know, and you kind of gives you a good ideas for other jobs.

James : Did you ever feel like nervous working in those kind of valued properties?

Rob the Builder: I didn’t, I was very aware that some of these properties are expensive, expensive materials, expensive flooring, but I was pretty confident within myself that I could carry out the works to a high standard. You are more conscious of you know, with every job protecting things, protecting floors, protecting furniture around you and that but I suppose psychologically when you’re in these places and you’re very aware that they are million pound places with very expensive stuff in them, you’re kind of not on edge but kind of more aware, you don’t become complacent in places because if you make a mistake or you do damage something or if you’re dealing with all our electrics, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking, I hope that doesn’t leak, you know, I hope that overnight it doesn’t go wrong.

Rob the Builder: It was something unexpected, but pretty confident out there and everyone was happy with me. So yeah, I feel good.

James : Yeah, I mean just imagine like fitting some product that is really expensive, you’re thinking right phone off, no one talk to me is,

Rob the Builder: Exactly and even with some of the tiles, you know, you could, £100, £200 for one tile, in certain properties things like that are just absolutely crazy that kind of stuff and you know, you drop it, you chip here, it’s on you.

James : What’s been the worst job you wished you never started?

Rob the Builder: I mean there’s probably been a few that midway through I have said never again, but the worst job was another recent job, another refurb,  actually not too far from the last one we done actually, but the husband and wife will either not communicating, I mean it will started off lovely when I first went round there, all very friendly, very easy going, I thought you know I am actually going to enjoy working here and it became very apparent from an early stage that were going to be very awkward. It was a husband and wife sort of combo the husband was home all day retired the wife was out at work and he was constantly watching us constantly, constantly telling us how to do things or asking us to do things a certain way.

Rob the Builder: He would ask my guys to kind of do things in a way that wasn’t part of quote or wasn’t necessarily how we’d do things that come and query it with me, I’d say, well, if the customers asked for that, we will give them that, I would ok it with that particular customer and then the wife would come on and say, why was it done like that? and he’d say, well I never told them to do that and then I’d have to go back and say, well, yeah, you did tell me that and it was a bit of no I didn’t, and it was very childish and then when I’d do something, or I’d refuse. I would say look you’ve told us to do it this way and that’s how we’ve done it, now we’re not going to change it now. At first we was but then when it got to the point where I felt I was taking the mick a bit I sort of step my foot in a little bit, and then I started playing the good cop bad cop thing where, you know he’d be on us trying to force us into doing something, she would be like, you know, very understanding and can you do it this way?  What about if we compromise?

Rob the Builder: It was, it was a very awkward job and he made it that way every, every day, and it got to a point where he was making threats against me financially, threats against my guys and he just made the whole job very impossible to work in. Me being me, I didn’t want to walk away didn’t want to give up carried on, we just pursued all the way for it and I took it on the chin, but it still carried on going long after the job was done. You know, they give us a snagging which you get at the end of the job I have got my own snagging list that they can fit you know, we signed off, we completed all the snagging, they was happy with it, they paid us in full about a month later we got hit with a huge snagging list and you know, that some of the things on there was a couple of bits we missed I will hold my hands up to, there’s a couple of, you know, bits of paint in that maybe missed because due to lighting so I was more than happy to go back and sort that out, but you could kind of see this was a spiteful snagging list. This was them trying to get as much as they can have us and bully us into doing things, and I think one of the main things that sticks in my head with the whole job was that we quoted to paint the house internally top to bottom in a magnolia vinyl.

Rob the Builder: As we was getting to the point, we’d already plastered everywhere we have whitewashed everywhere we was ready to paint, and he said, well, why are you painting it magnolia?, we wanted wallpaper and then they did the good cop bad cop thing again and being with checker trade your it’s based on reputation and feedback and they could have, you know, you kind of got in the back of his God they can, they can throw you under the bus here and it’s an even though it’s not our thought even I’ve got proof in the emails and text messages they’d never asked for it, they were never quoted for it, they accepted the quote and they signed one of our contracts. The agreement was I said, well, you pay for the wallpaper, and we’ll do the work, and we did the work. It costed me a lot of money, I still had to pay my guys extra, it cost me a lot of money but in hindsight, I wish I’d dug my heels in more and just refused, but you live in an learn, I guess

James :If someone leaves you bad feedback and it’s been done spitefully it can really, I think maybe like, you know, builders might think this, but if people are looking potentially to hire you and they see a negative feedback, then it’s like they just run a mile. Um, but I would like to think that it’s balanced. I think that you can’t always have good feedback and are going to be some negatives and I think it just makes the decision for the customer to make an informed decision.

Rob the Builder: Yeah, I think when I got my first ever bad feedback, I mean it was something again where it was down to the customer dancers was down to a fault from a previous builder. We went over to the top of, we had to do extra work because of it, but it wasn’t even a quote, but they didn’t want to pay it and they didn’t want us to do it, and it was only a minor painting job, that was left out of all the other jobs we’ve done that they was happy with and they left me a bad feedback over that and you know, and I kind of proved to the right people that this wasn’t done to us, but they still allowed them to print it. I got my right, reply, but that one kind of stung a bit because that was my first one out at a perfect 10 out of 10 score for everything, for a couple of years, you know, but once you get past that and you realize, you know, life goes on and the customer’s still keep coming, I even had customers since then, comment on that and say “oh I did notice that””, and you kind of tell them about it and they kind of, they kind of go, well yeah, you know, you get people like that don’t you. I have got over 500 positive feedbacks now. It was a couple of hundred then. They’re saying you can’t have 200 people that are right and this one person’s right and all the other 200 are wrong. So I’ll kind of just take it on the chin I roll with the punches now, if I do get a bad feedback for anything, I would mainly assume that it was unwarranted because I know that I’ll do the best to my ability to kind of get the job done, how they want it and if there are any discrepancies or any problems, I will do my best to correct that for them.

Rob the Builder: So I think I’ve got about two or three bad feedbacks and they, they are mostly sort of spiteful because they didn’t get their own way, when they were trying to push for something that they wasn’t due to get kind of thing.

James : What’s the most daily worries that a builder has to think?

Rob the Builder: Getting to my jobs on time due to traffic or other jobs over running, you never know what you’re going to be faced with some times, somebody easiest looking jobs can turn into , you can open a can of worms and they could, they could be the biggest headaches going.

Rob the Builder: We keep the customer informed all the way through today and we text ETA’s when we’re on the way, we try and give them a good couple of hours warning if we feel like the job’s going to have to be cancelled a, it doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen. I think that’s my biggest worry it’s just letting people down. I don’t like to let people down, I would never want anyone to think I was not reliable and on the whole, people quite understand, I think that’s probably the main thing for me. The other thing is obviously, you know, cash flow, receiving payments from customers, keeping your cash flow healthy and keeping on top of a all your existing jobs as well as all the new jobs that are coming in all the time, you know, so it’s, it’s, it becomes a bit of a juggling act, I’m getting to the point now where I can kind of, instead of taking on too much and overloading myself when I know I am getting to that point now I’m knowing what the next move is. It’s to delegate work to other people, hand out jobs to other people or if you know, you’ve got too much work on don’t overload yourself, you know, turned down some work. You know, if, if you just be honest with people, if you feel like you’re going to be over stretching yourself and then you’re going to be rushing about trying to get jobs done is it comes counterproductive. So it’s best not to do that. It’s, it’s a hard thing to do for me to turn down work because you never know when the next jobs coming in or where the next job’s going to lead, but if it’s going to harm your business by taking on too much work, it’s best not to, so when you get to that point where you need to either look for someone to help with the Admin, wherever someone in the office taking calls or is finding new guys to help, take over some of the tasks you do day to day.

Rob the Builder: So for myself, the plumbing, the electrics the main trades that I cover that I am qualified in I I’m now looking for people to kind of replace me a little bit

James : So they can build the company.

James : Can you give our listeners like to tips if they wanted to save money?

Rob the Builder:  The first tip would be to shop around, it’s always good to look around for bargains online. Do your research on the product to buy and so if it’s got brand name or a particular product, do a bit of looking and checking the reviews, so if you was buying something from eBay, you can look for that product online from another merchant and then look for some reviews on it. You know, you’re buying a quality product, but if you’re getting a cheaper price on eBay or Gumtree or one of these other companies, then yeah, it’s always good to shop around. There’s always some bargains out there.

Rob the Builder:  The other thing is obtaining quotes from a few builders rather than going for the first quote you come across, just obtain a few quotes for the same job from various contractors and then weigh it up, you know, I think gut instincts, always a good thing to go on. You know, if you meet someone and they give you a good feeling, you get a good vibe from him and that’s always a good key point. Obviously money talks, but generally speaking, when you get great prices, you’ll get one really cheap one, you get one really expensive one, you might get a few in the middle somewhere. So it’s always good to go sort of mid road. If they’re very expensive quotes and they’re very expensive for a reason. The companies I’ve got too many overheads or they don’t know what they are quoting for, or they don’t want the job and they are overpricing it and if they get the job, they’re covered anyway because they’re going to whatever they do with it.

James : Do you think it’s always worth, if a homeowner quote and thinks there’s a bit too high, but they really do want to go with that builder out over the other two that they’ve looked that. What do you think the best way is to approach something like that?

Rob the Builder: If a customer approached me and said, you’re quotes  high, but we would like to go for your, um, you know, I’ll kind of be very honest with them and say, well look, I’ll break down a quote from this is this is why it’s so high, you know, this is, this is what we charge for this, this is what we charge for that, get them to break it down now if the builder as a problem breaking the quote down for you, and he doesn’t want you to see what the prices are for each individual job as such, then, you know, that would ring alarm bells, you know, they don’t want you to see those pricings for a good reason. So yeah definitely approach the company and speak to them, you know, I mean, I have been the highest quote on a few jobs in my time, sometimes it’s a bit shocking because I try and really stay competitive with my pricing and I’ll tend to find that I am mid road but I also tend to be one of the lowest ones. I’m not a giant company, I’ve got massive overhead so I can stay really competitive so yeah, if I’ve been in the highest quote, I have still won the job and they’ve not really asked me why, they have just said they liked the way I present myself, they like all the good reviews, you know, or if they’ve had a recommendation, or have seen other work I’ve done or I’ve seen pictures of my work.

Rob the Builder: In the same respect, I’ve had people that have not even bothered going for other quotes there and just say, look, you know, whatever your pricing is, basically we’re going for you. I wouldn’t advise customers to tell their builder that they’re going to going for them whatever the quote is because your basically sort of giving them a blank cheque, and some builders might take that and run with it, I’ll still price a job as I would normally, regardless of, you know, given me the information. But it’s nice to know to, you know, whatever I’m doing can work. And it seems to be grabbing people’s attention and people feel comfortable. And safe going through my company. So I mean on your first tip about like I’m getting bargains on materials and stuff like that.

James : Sometimes it’s, it’s worth just letting the builder by the product?

Rob the Builder: Yes definitely, when you shop around for stuff online, you’ve got to make sure I get all the parts of there, you’ve also got to remember that to return the products may be a bit more difficult than buying them from a shop or from a merchant. So that’s, that’s the only down side of things, you know, you are saving money one respect. If it doesn’t work out well you’re going to pay for your nose for it. So I’m happy for my customers to buy their own bathroom suites and tiles, we generally, when we quote for jobs, a lot of times the customer is not a hundred percent sure on what they’re going to get, but they still want the quote but we can’t quite for the materials if they don’t know what they want.

Rob the Builder: So we tend to leave things are coloured paints out, tiles, we leave bathroom suites out until they have chosen it and then sometimes they’ll come back to me and say, this is the kind of thing we’re looking for, can you get a price for us and let us know how much that’ll be?, and we’re glad to do that. 9 times out of 10 though, they’ll see something online they will order it or they’ll go to the tiling merchants and they will order the tiles there and then, they see what I like, we give them meterage that I need and yeah, they go for it there. You’ve got some pitfalls I suppose if you’re getting a bargain on something, unless it’s sort of ex stock and is surplus materials, that kind of thing. I suppose if you’re buying one of a kind or something that’s a ex stock and it’s not available anymore, you might not be able to replace it for a light for like, you know.

James : Yeah. I mean just keeping along with the tile idea. You know, like I think some home owners might just think that tiling is tiling then that’s it, and that it’s going to be a cost no matter what that material is, but I mean, you know, I know that there is a big difference in the type of titles that people choose and the costs there for.

Rob the Builder: Yeah obviously different tiles, different types of tiles, some harder to cut, some harder to drill through that add extra labour costs on. Also different adhesives for certain types of tiles that kind of thing. So it can vary. We get a general idea of what they’re looking for as far as size-wise, mosaics for example, so we give them the quote before we start work, that they let us know what they’re going for and they know ahead of time that it may affect the price slightly, but he’s never going to be a great deal. The bill is never going to jump up to high. We are never going stick them with an extra bill at the end of it. Everything’s sort of done up front, I think that’s something we kind of learned over time. Even with the bathroom suites and stuff I’ve quoted before when I was first starting out, I quoted for a bathroom suite and they just went, yeah we’re just going to get a bath and a shower, you know, all standard stuff and I didn’t really check into it, this was many years ago and then when I turn up to do the job, it was all singing, all dancing, pipes buried in the wall, valves buried in the wall and mosaic tiles as well and go in all sorts of things. Me being me at the time as well, I just kind of grinned a bared it and sort of, you know, just cracked on, and I got it done.

Rob the Builder: It took me to dinner as much out of it and it took me a bit longer, but I’ll come away learning a valuable lessons and that’s kind of kind of how, you know, everything, everything has a negative or con and turn it into a positive. So anything that goes really wrong or even slightly wrong, I kind of feel like, you know, what, I’ve learned something very valuable for that you pay for.

James : If someone is thinking about starting working in the building train or set themselves up with a company or being self-employed, is there any advice that you’d give them to get started?

Rob the Builder: know what your sort of limits are and what you can do, if you specify in a certain trade but your quite handy, you’re doing multiple trades it’s not always a good idea to jump straight in and advertise as a builder, if you’re a plumber. Go out there as a plumber, build up your customers as a plumber and if you start progressing and learning more things or you feel more confident to take on slightly bigger jobs, you can go from a plumber that may just install bathroom suites or do the pre plums to a plumber can do the full bathroom, which includes a tiling and whatever else, which is what I used to do originally. So yeah, knowing what your limits are, don’t try and take on too much from the get go, build up your customer base, take care of your customers, um, because you’ll repeat customers, word of mouth can either make or break you here.

James : Thank you very much. Last question, I ask everyone this, that comes on. Coming on the podcast and giving your advice, we created this back in June last year. So, what do you think of the podcast? What’s your opinion in what we’re trying to do?

Rob the Builder: I think it’s a really good idea. I wish I had come across it a lot sooner. It’s definitely going to help property developers, builders and customers alike, so being able to come on here myself and give my own device, it’s a good outlet for me to be out to do that. I’m sure it’s going to be a good outlet for other trades and people working in different areas that are in building trade. It’s definitely a positive move forward, kind of moving forward with the trend of how people are finding work, how people are looking for builders and whatever else as far as these feedback websites like such as the one I’m on, people are coming more aware of the Internet, they’re becoming more aware of this kind of thing and it’s not a shot in the dark anymore, it’s not pulling out a paper, a who does a bit of this and a bit kind of finding yourself sort of high and dry. This kind of show is doing exactly the same kind of thing that checkatrade and other things are doing, um, it’s given people the advice they need and the guidance they need.

James : Very well put. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for coming on the podcast I have really enjoyed this interview, so thanks so much. Have a great week. Yeah, enjoy the rest of your week and I’ll have you. I’ll speak to you again soon. Cheers. Cheers James. Bye.

Abi Bacon