Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pleasure / Pain

I've come to realise everythings about payoffs in this life; what you do or feel on the one hand may have implications on the other and so as the interest in finishing the boat returns my bank balance and means of replenishing it dwindle away. 

Having come to an understanding with myself regarding this projects completion motivates me now but unfortunately i will have to break off to earn some more money to keep it on track. I'm still pricing work all the time yet have none to go to as the level of dickheads.............(sorry, i mean potential customers) that cross my path seem to increase ever more. To clarify; we all get the dreamers, the wafflers and the damn-right dishonest in our work lives but a new category i discovered this week is the 'clueless expert'.

For having no background in my industry a customer told me this week that what i'd conservatively estimated as being a couple of days work could infact be done in four hours, "brilliant, how?" i asked looking them dead in the eye.

"Well you know you lot always over estimate your quotes - dont you?", no actually, i always quote based on hours required to do the work & what the job will entail - if i'm quicker i'll charge you less if something unforseen slows the job up i'll charge more - simple. So the customer eventually agrees abeit reluctantly, everythings cool to come in Monday to start after looking at it Friday night then the texts start Saturday morning, "will it include X?" no because when i asked you you didn't want that, "Will it include Y?" No because you were taking care of that from the conversation we had, "well it has to include 'everything' ".

Sure no problem, i'm thinking more work equals more money but then the text appears on my phone screen "we've had a thought and we're only prepared to go to £150", thats a days money for the extras, okay thats doable but no it turns out thats for the whole job!

So i'm expected to work for nigh on three days driving there and back everyday (45mins each way) burn out cutters and blades on the tools (its a kitchen renovation, new tops, doors etc) use a box or two of screws  and gas nails and all for £50 a day.

Now I'll do my utmost to swing a job for the sake of a few quid but increasingly this is what i deal with time after time after time - where people treat me like ebay insofar as "we're prepared to go to this figure", but what about the hours, materials, knowledge etc? No apparently you now just pluck a figure out the sky and i'm supposed to bend over and take it. I've had this all year for reasons best known to everyone but me as my day rate is shrinking as i'm aging yet still no work?

Its not much different with the housebuilders too as this austerity 'narrative' that runs through the country is nothing more than a convenient smokescreen for firms to cut everything including what was until a couple of years ago - a livable wage. 

Although i've enjoyed working on the boat recently - and i'm not bitter when i say this - i'm quite sure this project will be the last time i use my power tools in anger as i'm completely done with the world of woodworking - the numbers just don't add up anymore.

For me 2014 has been the year of the bullshitter where paid works concerned, i'm done dealing with shifty-arse builders, hormonal housewives, and idiot husbands who have not a bloody clue what they're talking about or what it takes to do my job yet seek to tell me how long it'll take and therefore what it will cost.

Still - to the boat - got both the battery and tank compartments fitted out plus spent yesterday fiddling about making a zero clearance insert for the site saw to make my kerfing more accurate, it worked too as i was able to cut and bend a piece of 12mm marine ply through 90 degrees.

The reason being as theres alot of curves still to make inside i can't face going through the foam, ply, epoxy & former nightmare so wil build a simple former to manipulate the wood over it and then using polyester resin set it to that shape. 

I say polyester resin as its 'indoors' (galley) and not structural which was always the test for its use and seeing as i have gallons of the stuff plus every additive known to man for it i may as well use it up.


riverdump said...

The story you are writing is one I have seen over and over again. I do not know the answer to this sales paradigm. Are there classes in sales. To learn the techniques of this critical aspect of
the work. Keeping it fun beyond all reason, and opening their wallets?

There is a trick there....

roger ball said...

Its a langauge i don't understand, and with this 'bid now' aspect to my job i dont want to be a part of it anymore. I've never really had to 'sell' to anyone as most of the work i do is fairly involved - i'm used to turning up telling them what they need based on what they've asked of me to do, how many hours it will take and what it will cost but these rules now no longer apply it would seem.

Who knows it might be different next year?

cheers mate

Anonymous said...

Excellent rant which mirrors exactly what my s.i.l. is saying. He is a decorator who has worked just about every day since he left school 10 years ago. He has never had to advertise or ask, it's all word of mouth or repeat business. He's that good. BUT instead of getting easier it's getting tougher. He says people have changed. They are now so used to Lidls and Pound shops they want everything cheap ... but he doesn't do cheap, he does quality. Sad world. Hope things pick up for you as this boat MUST be finished. It's going to be so amazing and so much fun hopefully you'll be able to put all the sh1t times and people behind you.

roger ball said...

Exactly right anon; nobody wants a decent job just a cheap job, pretty much all my work too is referrals from either previous customers or co-workers that know my standards.

One of the oddest objections i've had recently from a customer was he just wanted something off the price (this after giving him an itemised quote on headed paper) as he "doesn't pay sticker price on anything".
After 20 plus years of doing this sort of work i didn't know what to say so just walked off in silence.

I must of missed a meeting or memo i think!

Anonymous said...

Same here, everyone's seen DIY SOS and expects you to turn up and rebuild the house in 24h and do most of it for gratis. Most people don't realise you have to let plaster dry before painting it (how does the TV world get round this?) and getting a quality finish takes time, effort and not a little skill.

Boat is looking stunning BTW


roger ball said...

cheers Pete