Since I work for myself, you will have probably already leapt to the correct conclusion that I haven't been fired by myself. Mind you, I did have to give myself a verbal warning last week but that is another story. No, this time, I have been fired by my builders. What makes this story even worse is that I hadn't even hired them yet.
Searching for a builder is a tiresome and depressing job. You want somebody you like, somebody with sensible prices, and somebody reliable. There is a local builder who I have worked with before but I have been avoiding going to him because he can't bear working for women. He thinks we can't possibly know what we want, or understand what we are asking for, and so tends to do what he thinks is right. This generally makes me apoplectic, very red in the face, and tempted to use his tools for purposes they were not designed for. So, I searched farther afield. I asked around for recommendations and finally was put in touch with a really nice firm. Well, 'firm' may be a bit of an exaggeration. Three guys who came highly recommended.
They came to see me and I liked them enormously. They understood what I wanted to do, and why, and my hopes, like a hot air balloon in May, started to rise. Their estimate came in. It was higher than I wished, but realistic all the same. I started to soar and dream of a house that wasn't a testament to seventies nastiness. However, due to the gold plated boiler requirements, I realised I would have to slash a third of the work off the budget. To do this, I needed a breakdown of the prices.
This is where it all goes horribly wrong.
I rang and asked if they could breakdown the estimate so that I could work out what bits could be done this year, and what would have to wait. 'No need to type it all up' I assured them, 'just scribble the figures on the specs that I gave you.' Two weeks later I had heard nothing. I chased them up. Still nothing. I left a shirty message asking where it was. Monday night I had a phonecall from John, one of the builders, apologising profusely for the slowness. They had tried to get in touch with me last week, he said, but I hadn't responded. I pointed out that they had my e mail, my house address and two telephone numbers and one of those would have reached me if they had sent anything.
Not wishing it to be a big drama I suggested they send me the paperwork by e mail or post so that I could give them a decision this week. I assured them that I wanted to go ahead with the work but I just needed to decide which bits had to be put on hold for a year. They promised me a response by the next day. Tuesday came and went. Nothing. Wednesday still nothing. I left another message wondering where the estimate was. Thursday I get an e mail. I shall copy it directly for you:
apologies but we are unable 2 help with your proposed works
No 'Dear Welsh Girl', no 'yours sincerely', nothing. It could have been from anyone. Anyone at all. That is quite aside that I can't bear the laziness of typing '2' instead of 'to'. Luckily for me the e mail address hinted at it being the builders. Otherwise I wouldn't have known who was firing me with one succint sentence.
I thought there was a recession on? I thought people wanted work? Surely you don't throw away £15000 of work this year with more to come for the next few years because doing an estimate is too hard? That can't be it? I think it is though. I have been fired by the builders I wanted to hire because they couldn't be bothered to do an hour of paperwork.
I don't think it was unreasonable to want a cost breakdown, particularly as I had assured them I wanted to go ahead, but couldn't do all the work this year. No, I feel certain that this is a direct result of me being a single girl. The builders have decided that I am tiresome with my need for estimates, and that they would rather work for someone who just says 'Whatever' to the costs and goes to the pub for a pint with them.
I know I should just move on, but this whole process has wasted two months when I could have been getting other builders in to estimate. I really did think they were the ones for the job. If I was married, or had a boyfriend, I bet they would have responded and produced the wretched paperwork when my other half requested it. Perhaps I should teach the Loyal Hound to write?
This is a huge thing to be doing on my own and it is frequently overwhelming in its enormity, both financial and emotional. Being fired by the builders I wanted to hire does not make it any easier at all.
The price of health
1 day ago