STAGE 1 – GETTING A QUOTE
Which would you rather use, an English/French/German builder or a Portuguese? There’s a danger that we lapse into using stereotypes when making this choice, but is there any difference between nationalities?
I ask because we are waiting to have an extension built, along with other work. Having used builders in UK on different properties and having a background in the building industry I’ve found it an interesting process seeking quotes in Portugal. One expat blog advocated using Portuguese builders, seemingly based on a negative experience with a British builder and a positive experience with Portuguese company. Their advice to go with the Portuguese builder was reinforced when the UK builder wanted to leave a comment. According to the blogger “I couldn’t post his comment because the attitude and language was appalling”.
I wonder whether Google’s search suggestions are a contributory factor on stereotypical views of builders and sway peoples views…
There is clearly a big gap between client expectations and tradesman’s ability to deliver. Why? Could it be the language? Not English, nor Portuguese, but ‘Tradespeak’ – Tradesmen’s language, with a dash of tradesmen psychology. You have to be in the know to decipher the actual meaning.
Prepare to go through the whole gamut of emotions if you want a quote. This begins right from the start. “Tomorrow ok?” invokes the response: ‘Wow, they are on the ball, how professional. We’ll have it done in no time!’
However, as everyone knows, or should know, tomorrow never comes! And, quite often, neither does the tradesman.
You are disappointed, but make allowances – ‘it must be because they are busy and in demand’ or ‘they are probably dealing with an emergency’.
After a few days you start to wonder whether they are as professional as you first thought. So you ring them again, but have to leave a message. Irritating, but you excuse this because it probably confirms how ‘busy and in demand they are’.
So you wait another week before you ring again, but get the same result.
Another wait, another call, but the same result. By this time you have reached the limit of your patience – “useless _______ (insert your own expletive)” .
Time to start looking for a new quote. Perceived wisdom suggests that you get at least three quotes. So you have to go through that process three times, at least!
Occasionally though, you obtain a quote. Well done, you picked a good one! But beware! It could be the tradesman didn’t really want to do the work. Did you notice he was going to charge a fortune. Why? To either put you off, or make a packet out of your deparate plight.
Next post,.. Stage 2 –Getting them to do the work.
I’d love to hear your views – please leave a comment below.