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Thread: What Is It Like Getting Builders/Tradesmen These Days?

  1. #1

    What Is It Like Getting Builders/Tradesmen These Days?

    We did an extension before Covid when, looking back it was a great time to do it as labour and materials rates were relatively reasonable compared with Covid times.

    I have put off a few jobs around the house post Covid as the whole building game went mental not just on price, but also availability.

    I have been hearing recent anecdotals that builders and trades in general are a lot quieter given high interest rates and less people moving.

    Anyone have any very recent experience or is it still as mental as Covid times?

    Maybe now is a better time to undertake some building/refurbishment work?

  2. #2
    Iíve found that getting tradesmen in is easier; Iíve not had any issue with having structural work done - architect, builder, plumbing, electrics, external landscaping etc. But material prices are still high from what Iíve seen.

    Overall the extension we wanted to do last year was at least twice as expensive than the extension we did 7 years ago. More like 3 times, although it was more complicated so that would have affected the price.

    Iíve put out messages on NextDoor recently as we need some more work done and Iíve had plenty of responses with people available quite quickly.


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  3. #3

    What Is It Like Getting Builders/Tradesmen These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeJSmith View Post
    Iíve found that getting tradesmen in is easier; Iíve not had any issue with having structural work done - architect, builder, plumbing, electrics, external landscaping etc. But material prices are still high from what Iíve seen.

    Overall the extension we wanted to do last year was at least twice as expensive than the extension we did 7 years ago. More like 3 times, although it was more complicated so that would have affected the price.

    Iíve put out messages on NextDoor recently as we need some more work done and Iíve had plenty of responses with people available quite quickly.


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    Where about are you, or is that experience?

    I am NE Surrey / SW London and it feels like the SE is slowing down.

    There was a video on instagram or Tik Tok that went viral recently, where a guy on the south coast said the phones of his plastering company have gone completely dead, and no enquiries for any work. This being in contrast to 15 years of being run of their feet and previously more work than they could ever handle.

  4. #4

    What Is It Like Getting Builders/Tradesmen These Days?

    Thatís my experience of having an extension priced up last year and then deciding to not do and do internal structural work instead. Versus doing an extension 7 years (ish) ago.

    And then again my experience in the last couple of weeks trying to get plumbers, electricians and general handyman type work for some things we are doing round the house. Iím in Buckinghamshire.

    Iíve definitely had no issue getting contractors available to do some work around the house over the last couple of months.

    I donít know about the trade in general, not something I know anything about really; just my experience of getting stuff done around our house.


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  5. #5
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    Weíre looking to install a raised patio/decking in our rear garden (once planning permission approved) and prices seem relatively high for what seems to be required.

    We ideally want composite decking and a treated timber subframe.
    I presume the price of timber is still fairly high as quotes are coming back quite similar.

    I do strongly believe that the labour cost is high seeing that I do have an approximate idea of what the materials cost.

    Weíve had other work done internally and from looking at quotes, the labour costs represent a fairly large proportion.

    Availability of contractors varies between 4 weeks to 12 weeks depending on size of the job.

    I am asked in Dorset if that makes any difference.


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  6. #6
    We are currently working in London sw,it still seems as busy as ever .


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  7. #7
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    We are still picking and choosing or work to best suit ourselves,time,effort,return etc. Materials are astonishingly expensive although some stuff-carcassing and plaster products seem to have softened a fraction. Frequently pricing and then asking for a revision before starting due to prices of materials and subbies shifting.

    Its bonkers, all the 50k transit customs parked outside jobs. Price work on sites is a mixed bag atm but sliding back slowly.

  8. #8
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    Due to the downturn in housing there are a glut of tradesmen wanting work. Just do a due diligence search and you should find what you want..

  9. #9
    Craftsman boris9's Avatar
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    The above is not my experience at all. Any decent tradesman is still booked out until at least April/May in my area.
    Do your research and get in early.


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  10. #10
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    Definitely a down turn but the quality tradesmen are still busy.

  11. #11
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    No downturn around here. Downturn in housing! Every where you look around here there's a housing estate going up.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprite1275 View Post
    No downturn around here. Downturn in housing! Every where you look around here there's a housing estate going up.
    At a national level there is a massive slow down. Loads of articles if you Google



    https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/...in-new-figures

  13. #13
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Depends on the pocket youíre in. In our section of streets builders are fighting for parking and all the jobs theyíre doing are big projects, not just extensions.

    Weíre still chasing a quote from summer from the guy who replaced the felt roof on the extension downstairs. Asked the other builder we know and he told us heís too busy for a job of that size and to find other things to add on or leave it until next year. This to try spend £12-15k.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by hilly10 View Post
    Due to the downturn in housing there are a glut of tradesmen wanting work. Just do a due diligence search and you should find what you want..
    The downturn on new housing doesnít leave loads of tradesmen out of work.
    50% of workers on new sites have only been doing the job 10 minutes and are hopeless.
    Iíve seen it all before,ex van drivers going BQ and buying tools ,this is when they get found out ,decent lads will always be busy .


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  15. #15
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    A friend of mine recently wanted a car port taken down and replaced with a brick built garage, after getting quotes around the £120,000 mark for a pretty much standard job, he decided not to bother and I donít blame him!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mk1974 View Post
    The downturn on new housing doesnít leave loads of tradesmen out of work.
    50% of workers on new sites have only been doing the job 10 minutes and are hopeless.
    Iíve seen it all before,ex van drivers going BQ and buying tools ,this is when they get found out ,decent lads will always be busy .


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    I was in the building industry for 51 years ran my own business for 35 of those, the general outlook after chatting to many of my friends in the trade many of whom still own businesses is work is starting to downturn. Plumbers Brickies all report sharp downturns on the work front. There have been so many Small civil engineering firms gone to the wall in the last six months itís worrying. Some of that Labour as found work in the Infrastructure and Commerce sectors but the outlook is far from buoyant. My plumber who as always looked after my work and is a top class tradesman, he said to me on Friday I have a free day next week, never had that before.

  17. #17
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    As ever, it depends.

    I've got a builder in at the moment - demolition of a horrible old extension, building a utility room, underfloor heating, new kitchen - in all, about £125k of work. I had to wait 6 months, but then I wanted THIS builder, who I know and trust. He's now got a 9-month backlog, but other, less-established builders are definitely available - you'd be able to get someone in next week and might be pleasantly surprised at the price. Whether they're any good is another question; it's usually the less-good ones who fail first or are prepared to make suicidally low bids on work.

  18. #18
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    Mate of mine is looking to get some landscaping done, bit of fencing, patio and a couple of walls built. Not really a big area, was quoted £47k. Was telling the wife this, who is the office manager for a kitchen manufacturer and she told me their plasterer was on £450 a day. Flabbergasted.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedyexplorer View Post
    Mate of mine is looking to get some landscaping done, bit of fencing, patio and a couple of walls built. Not really a big area, was quoted £47k. Was telling the wife this, who is the office manager for a kitchen manufacturer and she told me their plasterer was on £450 a day. Flabbergasted.
    FFS
    47K !
    I read it as 4K and thought not too bad lol
    If plasterers are £450 a day thatís something else Iíll need to learn for retirement.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedyexplorer View Post
    Mate of mine is looking to get some landscaping done, bit of fencing, patio and a couple of walls built. Not really a big area, was quoted £47k. Was telling the wife this, who is the office manager for a kitchen manufacturer and she told me their plasterer was on £450 a day. Flabbergasted.
    If they are paying that for a single operative they need their heads looking at.

  21. #21
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    Currently going through the process of getting an office and some storage built into one of our rooms. Thought we had it all sorted with a guy who has now let us down thanks to him ďbending the truthĒ re a few things meaning weíve been forced into stepping away. Now have the miserable job of trying to find someone else. I absolutely hate dealing with stuff like this - I can tell you now I am NEVER having any major building works done, I just canít face dealing with it all. I know there are good guys out there, but finding them just seems to be such a load of arseache

  22. #22
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    Nightmare finding someone decent Mrs friend up the road needed some work doing new porch/garage extension took 3 months to find someone finally used a builder that was recommended by her neighbour garage extension is awfull terrible pointing and leaks after job was done he couldn't care less she finally got him back and he just coverd the crap pointing with bitumen she's thinking about taking him to court, she also had problems when she had the house re wired and the sparks left all the wiring proud of the plaster and couldn't get them back glad I don't have to deal with cowboy tradesmen

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by hilly10 View Post
    If they are paying that for a single operative they need their heads looking at.
    £100k per year plasterers. Harry Enfield is back. Bish bosh.

    It makes me feel more sympathy for the train drivers

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    £100k per year plasterers. Harry Enfield is back. Bish bosh.

    It makes me feel more sympathy for the train drivers
    Thatís what I said to the Mrs, £100k for a plasterer, she was sure thatís what they paid and being the office manager I suppose she should know.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hood View Post
    FFS
    47K !
    I read it as 4K and thought not too bad lol
    If plasterers are £450 a day thatís something else Iíll need to learn for retirement.
    Done his homework and thought he was looking between £20k and £25k.
    Guy that gave him the quote got back to him and suggested they see if they could trim the quote a bit, mate told him heíd need to trim it in half if he wanted the job. Lol

  26. #26

  27. #27

    What Is It Like Getting Builders/Tradesmen These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedyexplorer View Post
    Done his homework and thought he was looking between £20k and £25k.
    Guy that gave him the quote got back to him and suggested they see if they could trim the quote a bit, mate told him heíd need to trim it in half if he wanted the job. Lol
    When we did our extension back in 2018 we asked the builder to carry on a landscape the garden to my wifeís design.

    It included taking a 65x20ft garden back to bare earth (everything you see in the photo) and then we got this done for £6k labour only. And a quality job too. Builder worked below VAT limit back then and guy he knew came in self employed.

    Included a 6x5m patio with small retaining wall and steps at the front of the house and a 6x2.5m at the rear, plus path. Less than £10k all in. SW London too.

    That was probably 20-25 man days at £200 per day tops (labourer would have been on lot less) plus the builders profit.

    For £47k Iíd be looking for a swimming pool, lol.


    Last edited by noTAGlove; 12th February 2024 at 15:25.

  28. #28
    Grand Master jwg663's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    £100k per year plasterers. Harry Enfield is back. Bish bosh...
    Loadsamoney was based on a chap called 'Superhod', Max Quarterman.
    ______

    ​Jim.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    £100k per year plasterers. Harry Enfield is back. Bish bosh.

    It makes me feel more sympathy for the train drivers
    These figures are happening due to it being a mucky job,try and find an 18 year old whoís willing to get mucky.
    Try and find an 18 year old who will do a trade when you can pray about on TikTok .


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  30. #30
    Master Chewitt13's Avatar
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    Just getting some ground work done. All came the same day to look at the scope ;-

    Contractor 1 : £1500
    Contractor 2: £1790
    Contractor 3 : £8100

    Contractor 3 turned up in a brand new Jag........

  31. #31
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    100K a year assumes he's working 5 days a week for 48 weeks a year (not including Bank Holidays), with no sickness or days without work, and does all admin (invoicing, accounting, finding work etc.) in his 'spare' time. 100K does sound a lot, but how much should a skilled tradesman be earning?

    Anyway, aren't plasterers paid on a room rate, rather than day rate?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chewitt13 View Post
    Just getting some ground work done. All came the same day to look at the scope ;-

    Contractor 1 : £1500
    Contractor 2: £1790
    Contractor 3 : £8100

    Contractor 3 turned up in a brand new Jag........
    Contractor 3 is busy and not bothered.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by mk1974 View Post
    These figures are happening due to it being a mucky job,try and find an 18 year old whoís willing to get mucky.
    Try and find an 18 year old who will do a trade when you can pray about on TikTok .


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Been a DIY sparky, chippy, labourer and plumber in my time.

    One thing I never turned my hand to in DIY is plastering. A black art.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    When we did our extension back in 2018 we asked the builder to carry on a landscape the garden to my wifeís design.


    Fake grass ... and crocs ...

  35. #35
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    Trades and builders will become easier to find because the costs / numbers don't work any more ...

    If you have essential works then you have to grin and bare it but discretionary projects don't make any financial sense and can only really be done if you have the money and plan to stay a while in the property.

    4 years ago you could do a decent kitchen / diner extension for £100k and add £120k to the value of your house and so you could bankroll such a project.

    Now that project will cost £180k and maybe you'd add £100k to the house ... I know 2 people who have abandoned such projects recently on the financial side. These types of project are the staple for small builders and I can see this type of work drying up.

    House bashers on new build estates are already looking for work ...

    I don't know how this situation will resolve itself but right now small building projects are just too expensive, maybe materials and labour prices will fall but overlay that with a flat property market and I can see these trades will be scratching for work this year and next ...

  36. #36

    What Is It Like Getting Builders/Tradesmen These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    Fake grass ... and crocs ...
    Easterly (formerly) very muddy garden made worse by shading of trees. Love my plastic grass.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    Trades and builders will become easier to find because the costs / numbers don't work any more ...

    If you have essential works then you have to grin and bare it but discretionary projects don't make any financial sense and can only really be done if you have the money and plan to stay a while in the property.

    4 years ago you could do a decent kitchen / diner extension for £100k and add £120k to the value of your house and so you could bankroll such a project.

    Now that project will cost £180k and maybe you'd add £100k to the house ... I know 2 people who have abandoned such projects recently on the financial side. These types of project are the staple for small builders and I can see this type of work drying up.

    House bashers on new build estates are already looking for work ...

    I don't know how this situation will resolve itself but right now small building projects are just too expensive, maybe materials and labour prices will fall but overlay that with a flat property market and I can see these trades will be scratching for work this year and next ...
    That's the climate we find ourselves in at the moment. Either the Gov makes good on their promise to build millions of new homes, enabling the big developers to crack on a get building on sites that are in limbo due to planning restrictions. That'll keep lots of trades busy for a while.

    Or a put stamp duty back to pandemic levels, to get people moving again. When the housing market is buoyant, the building trade is too.

    Due to inflation, tradies can't afford to take a pay cut, and materials aren't getting any cheaper. The building regs update last year also is a contributing factor in making home improvements more expensive than a few years ago.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    Trades and builders will become easier to find because the costs / numbers don't work any more ...

    If you have essential works then you have to grin and bare it but discretionary projects don't make any financial sense and can only really be done if you have the money and plan to stay a while in the property.

    4 years ago you could do a decent kitchen / diner extension for £100k and add £120k to the value of your house and so you could bankroll such a project.

    Now that project will cost £180k and maybe you'd add £100k to the house ... I know 2 people who have abandoned such projects recently on the financial side. These types of project are the staple for small builders and I can see this type of work drying up.

    House bashers on new build estates are already looking for work ...

    I don't know how this situation will resolve itself but right now small building projects are just too expensive, maybe materials and labour prices will fall but overlay that with a flat property market and I can see these trades will be scratching for work this year and next ...
    This is spot on.

    Extensions seem to be twice the price they where 5+ years ago.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogthrob View Post
    100K a year assumes he's working 5 days a week for 48 weeks a year (not including Bank Holidays), with no sickness or days without work, and does all admin (invoicing, accounting, finding work etc.) in his 'spare' time. 100K does sound a lot, but how much should a skilled tradesman be earning?

    Anyway, aren't plasterers paid on a room rate, rather than day rate?
    Plasters that I have worked with cost on ďper wallĒ or as you say per room. Easy to make £350- £400 a day . Itís a hard job and takes itís tole on the shoulders , neck and back. The price of plaster has approx doubled in the last 5 years too along with edge beads , Skyrim tape etc. Easy to see where the costs add up now.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stilgoe1972 View Post
    Plasters that I have worked with cost on ďper wallĒ or as you say per room. Easy to make £350- £400 a day . Itís a hard job and takes its tole on the shoulders , neck and back. The price of plaster has approx doubled in the last 5 years too along with edge beads , Skyrim tape etc. Easy to see where the costs add up now.
    Materials are pretty inexpensive but as has been said itís a killer
    Iíve done a bit and it hard work (as a job) thatís why I get my brother to do mine 😂

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by lewie View Post
    Materials are pretty inexpensive but as has been said itís a killer
    Iíve done a bit and it hard work (as a job) thatís why I get my brother to do mine ūüėā
    The whole tradesman things feels like a young persons game. Must be tough on the body whatever the trade when you get into your 50s, or even before that.

    I can see the benefit of becoming a foreman or running your own company and employing staff to do the hard graft.

    Full respect to trades people from this desk jockey.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisparker View Post
    ... the Gov makes good on their promise to build millions of new homes, enabling the big developers to crack on a get building on sites that are in limbo due to planning restrictions. That'll keep lots of trades busy for a while.
    This is exactly what needs to happen for a whole range of reasons ... but wont ....

  43. #43
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    Intriguing comments on the money here, what do people think that tradies should charge,gross,no holiday pay,sick,van,tools,bad weather, no pension days off,overhead,bad debt, margin etc etc?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montello View Post
    Fake grass ... and crocs ...
    Awful isnít it.

    Crocs for popping out, could forgive but the grass, no chance.

  45. #45

    What Is It Like Getting Builders/Tradesmen These Days?

    Quote Originally Posted by MCFastybloke View Post
    Intriguing comments on the money here, what do people think that tradies should charge,gross,no holiday pay,sick,van,tools,bad weather, no pension days off,overhead,bad debt, margin etc etc?
    What would a brickie/chippy/sparky etc. be paid if the were a salaried employee with a maintenance company, house builder etc.? That sets the salary in a competitive market.

    It would seem fair to start with that and add minimum of 50% extra (or more) for all the risks you mention.

    Obviously they will get what the customer is willing to pay given the competitiveness of the market.
    Last edited by noTAGlove; 12th February 2024 at 19:32.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCFastybloke View Post
    Intriguing comments on the money here, what do people think that tradies should charge,gross,no holiday pay,sick,van,tools,bad weather, no pension days off,overhead,bad debt, margin etc etc?
    I had a specific skill, was business related vs trade. Was in demand, charging about 50% more a day but never had anyone cringe at my pricing. You pay to get what you want / need, or fail to hit targets.

    I hated the moments between contracts, it hurts - am back as PAYE but get a close friend to paint things more often than need doing when I know heís hitting a dry patch. Heís like family to me and has gone from 4 months out booking wise to 3 weeks. Thereís only a certain number of walls I can scuff to have the same colour applied.

    Plastering and other trades are very hard to get right and of a quality. When I did my kitchen and garden room, I had no qualms in paying £500 a day for a local expert to deliver my vision vs Bob the Builder giving his best efforts.

    I have employed 3 teams in the last 2 years to travel over an hour to me & get the best quality vs paying jumped up commuter belt pricing.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    What would a brickie/chippy/sparky etc. be paid if the were a salaried employee with a maintenance company, house builder etc.? That sets the salary in a competitive market.

    It would seem fair to start with that and add minimum of 50% extra (or more) for all the risks you mention.

    Obviously they will get what the customer is willing to pay given the competitiveness of the market.
    You seem rather upset people who are less educated than you can earn a good wage, Dave.

    You define FAIR on your preconceptions of what you seem is just. Based I guess on someone always on the corporate tit who canít charge what he wants.

    Why not rejoice in the fact anyone can enjoy the trappings of success?

    There are many trade folk on here, and business owners. Ask them about what they see as FAIR.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    The whole tradesman things feels like a young persons game. Must be tough on the body whatever the trade when you get into your 50s, or even before that.

    I can see the benefit of becoming a foreman or running your own company and employing staff to do the hard graft.

    Full respect to trades people from this desk jockey.
    I started as a carpenter/Handyman just over a year ago. Must admit I feel battered most of the time. I'm still wondering whether to carry on or sack it off for something easier.

  49. #49
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    Im 55 nearly 56 and its taking its toll, i have had to learn to sleep on my other side cos bad hip, both knees are a bit creaky one is worse because of a historical media lateral injury, i can make a good fist with either hand,thats toe wear and tear, i have scars from stitches all over, a pinky thats frozen from a fall, there are other stuff thats not 100 percent but i can still do my money 8.30 till 4 for my working pattern and still have 2 standard and two 5 day weekends every months.4 years to go and im done.

    I have gone further than a lot in my industry but its at a cost.

    1984 left school, left home,started on a pound and hour hod carrying for a gang and today i work 40 weeks a year to keep me in cars holidays and watches.

  50. #50
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    All well and good to look at a day rate and calculate it but with physical jobs you have to look at career/lifetime earnings. Plenty of 60 year olds in offices typing away but canít remember the last time I saw one up a ladder.

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