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what's a fair quote for doing a bathroom?

Posted by Paul Carmel-190537 - Created: 16 years ago
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10 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 10)

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Posted by Paul Carmel-190537 - 16 years ago

Thank you everyone for your posts. I must put an end to this thread as the builder has now been chosen, and oddly enough his 80% upfront became "whatever whenever" after a pastis or two!


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Posted by jonboy-191946 - 16 years ago

I could go further into the minutiae of this and answer line by line.  However, my final comments are as follows:

I appreciate that there are scammers on both sides.  As a consumer I am free to accept or reject conditions.   I take steps to protect my position.  The artisan is also free to accept or reject conditions and protect his position.  My scarce resources have been hard one, and life experiences have taught me valuable lessons.  There is a saying that "the fool and his money is easily parted".  I endeavour wherever possible not to be foolish.

If I were ever to be in a position where an up front payment was unavoidable then as I intimated previously I would employ artisans on recommendation and reference and utilise any other protection available.

As I also intimated previously I respect others decisions on this matter.

The petrol analogy is not particularly apposite.  Using another analogy, do you always pay for meals in restaurants before you eat them?  Analogies are not all that appropriate as you can usually find one for any argument.

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Posted by Aroncb - 16 years ago

I have a fair few friends in the trades down here and they do the 40% 40% 20% for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, its question of expenses.  They have these funny french social charges to pay, which are not too caring as to whether you have been paid or not. 

Secondly, How large should a job get before you would feel comfortable paying up front and have the builder financing materials.  How about building a house?  An extension?  Painting a house?  Builders are not sat there with unlimited means waiting to pour them into your house and then may or may not get paid.  I consulted to a large construction firm in London.  They used exaclty this kind of deal structure for the city office blocks worth millions.  Why should a 2000€ job be any different?  Same industry, same principles.   

Thirdly, the 40 40 20 rule affords protection on both sides.  40% Will get the builder off and running.  40%  half way through and you can see the job is progressing.  20% at the end is your protection in effect.   

In terms of getting ripped off by scammers, Check references. Its your responsibility no matter how trustworthy a trader may seem.

I know a builder who was doing a 3 month job in remodeling a swimming pool and other out buildings.  First payment for 15,000€ came promptly -- The second payment due one month later when the work was half completed did not come.  The first 15,000€ had been spent on materials for the whole job.  It took one month for the second payment to come through.  In that time the builder had to lay off his staff and sub contractors and he LOST 1/12 of his years revenue through losing a month.   Yes maybe he should have had more working capital. But still hardly seems too fair does it.

Jonboy, as for deciding whether the work is up to scratch.  This exposes the builder to the really finicky people in this world who will demand the whole job redone on the smallest of complaints. They exist in their millions.  Indepentent arbitration would surely be the way to go in terms of contractual fairness.


Do you only pay for petrol after it has taken you 100km satisfactorily? 

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Posted by dublinmike-182617 - 16 years ago

Might I just propose a look from the other side because I deal with a lot of tradesmen. The problem is with the customer, because it's notoriously difficult to get paid unless there's work outstanding.

The guys I deal with would prefer to lose a customer by asking for a deposit he won't give than working for 2 weeks for nothing.

In my experience, the workmen are much more honest than the customers. Here are a very few of the pay day excuses I've heard from the lads:

-Oh the ATM only gives out xxx pounds, can you come back tomorrow?
-My mother just died, have to catch a plane, can you come back in 3 weeks?
-I'm really sorry, my husband never signed the cheque.
-There's a mix up at the bank - sorry.

And so on. More women than you'd think too.

None of these guys are well off. Manual labour doesn't pay that well when the guys pay their tax and feed their families. So if the guy does your bathroom and spends two weeks on it, and then you mess around on paying him, that really stuffs him up.

While everyone talks about the tradesman's references, how does he check that you are going to pay him? He can't and the customers will try every trick in the book not to.

Back to you.


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Posted by jonboy-191946 - 16 years ago

On the contrary, I consider that your approach has the potential to expose me to both scam artists and poor or unfinished workmanship.  I remain in control and I decide whether agreed work is up to the appropriate standard.  I have used this strategy in Fance with no problems and will continue to do so.  I politely recommend others to do likewise.  If they choose to follow your line so be it, that is their choice,and potential risk.




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Posted by mike-179830 - 16 years ago

quote:However, I choose not to pay up front.

Similarly I would/have chosen not to, in France

Why not check your assumptions at the door? If you choose not to pay up front in France you are, essentially, saying that you will not work with pretty much all the best artisans. It is standard practice here; anyone who doesn't demand an up-front payment, it is pretty fair to assume, doesn't have the reputation that lets them do so. Why?

In the UK market, artisans often compete with one another; in France (to somewhat oversimplify) they regard their "competitors" as colleagues, and regard "keen" pricing or terms less as a way of creating competitive advantage than of undermining the revenue base of the market which they all share. And since most, good registered artisanal businesses are booked up for many months, creating competitive advantage through price elasticity isn't exactly a priority.

In short, serious pre-payment is standard among all professionals; choose to bypass that standard and you could well end up with sub-standard work. 



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Posted by yjme-181229 - 16 years ago

Agree, always best to get recommended workers. Sure there are cowboys in every country. There are also genuine people out there too.

However, what happens to the honest, tax paying, URSAAF paying, humble worker who does a great job, often spending his own money up front and then his clients refuse to pay him? Or find some excuse not to pay him what he asked for? 

Hmm. If you need something done by a professional, skilled person because you can't do it yourself, I think you have to be prepared to put some money up front.

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Posted by jonboy-191946 - 16 years ago

Permitted to is not the same as compelled to! 

Plumbers are permitted to request advance payment up front in the UK. 

However, I choose not to pay up front.

Similarly I would/have chosen not to, in France, as I have not left my brains on the other side of the Manche.

I return to my original point.  You leave yourself wide open to exploitation if you pay up front.  Many have done so both in the UK and in France, to their deep regret.

There are many scam artists out there, preying on the vulnerable and gullible. 

If you must pay up front go by recommendation or ask for details of previous clients.

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Posted by yjme-181229 - 16 years ago


I didn't actually say they were compelled by law if you read my post. I said that by law he could ask for any amount for the deposit if he so wishes. It is also negotiable between him and his client. There are also plumbers and builders who do the job and then receive payment, but on something that would presumably take longer than a day, it is normal to ask for a deposit. If he 'books' you in and then you decide not to employ him he may have lost work elsewhere. Logical really. Everybody has to make a living.  I am not referring to rip off merchants of course, but decent, correct workmen.

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Posted by NadiaG-192314 - 16 years ago

Hi, Just to return to the price issue. 2000 or 3000 euros is not bad at all.

Anyone I know who's had their bathroom done in London had to pay around five grand, I don't know why one should expect it to be almost free here!!

A lot of us have "fled" the UK partly because of the cost of living, but one has to remember that this is the Riviera, and not some sort of third world country, therefore you should still expect to fork out a substantial amount of money to have professional work done.

It's already quite good that one can afford a villa here for the same amount of money as a one bed flat in Chiswick, but everything cannot be almost free! (I'm not saying properties are around here either!!!)

Anyway, I think the price is right, the only thing you have to check is whether they can provide quality work.

Good luck!