Forum: The Craic
Topic: State of the economy
started by: rms
Posted by rms on 11 Nov. 2005,23:25Talking to various paving and landscaping contractors the general consensus in the south East is that of a noticeable pick up in trade over the last couple of months. Certain trades such as fencing suppliers and erectors have been and remain very slow this year.
How's trade in other parts of the Country?
No bullshit responses please.
Posted by Nigel Walker on 12 Nov. 2005,14:47Im in Wset Cumbria North West of England
Personally I am extremley busy - booked up until April 2006 with approx. 10-12 enquiries a week coming in at the moment.
Talking to local builders merchants and suppliers there seems to be a very noticable drop in work in the area for the building trade bin general. I seem to be one of the few who area remaining busy or getting busier.
In the paving/landscape business there seems to be a lot of so called 6 monthers ie people who work from May to October and then disappear for the other 6 months.
I am constantly busy all year round even if the weather trys its hardest to disrupt my plans !!!
I will be expanding in the new year to cope with all the work.
Posted by rms on 12 Nov. 2005,20:43It's good to hear that you have plenty of work on Nigel. What would you say is the main source of new business at the moment (recommendation, yellow pages, internet?)
Posted by Nigel Walker on 13 Nov. 2005,12:55I would say that approx. 70% of my work at the moment( and future work) has come from recommendations, repeat work from previous clients or neighbours of the clients who have seen my work.
20% from Yellow Pages and the other 10% from internet, local pages, van signing, advert boards etc
I get a lot of enquiries from Yellow Pages but i tend to pick and choose and give priority to recommended clients.
The Yellow Pages advert seems to be more of an access point for contact numbers.
You can usually tell from the initial phone call whether they just want the cheapest price possible or whether they want a quality job and pay a premium. And you can certainly tell from the initial site visit !
You can tell the serious people - when you tell someone that you cant do anything for 4 months and they say thats ok I will wait - you know you have got a quality client.
I always ask people when they want the work done. The answer tends to be 'Im in no rush, just sometime in the next 2 weeks will do' They then get the hump when I tell them 4 months but still ask for a quote. Needless to say I very rarely arrange visits to these type of jobs, unless they are rcommendations
A lot of people go on about dodgy contractors and cowboy builders. There are a lot of dodgy clients out there as well.
You have to have a sixth sense to sniff out the bad apples. Touch wood. I have only had one bad client in 5 years.
Posted by Tony McC on 13 Nov. 2005,16:56Overall, many contractors are reporting that the last 3 months have been a bit on the slow side. We always see a tail-off in the number of enquiries at this time of year, but I've spoken to around 50 contractors in the past month and three-quarters of them say it's quieter than they would have expected. Most of them have enough work on the books, but are concerned that if the economy has a wobble after xmas, next summer could be difficult, especially with the scale of material price increases that are being predicted in the trade press. The general consensus seems to be that labour rates will have to remain static to help the customers come to terms with the materials prices, which is no good for any of us!
Posted by TarmacLady on 14 Nov. 2005,14:43from the supplier end -- all the major DIY sheds are down 9-10% over the last few months. Some of them have issued moratoriums on taking on new vendors or adding new product offerings until things stabilise a bit.
I see some of the builders' merchants are issuing profit warnings for 4th quarter, as well.
Sure hope *someone* starts buying soon -- I'm still looking for a vacancy!
Posted by slickboy on 14 Nov. 2005,23:44We are landscapers in Lancashire and we have noticed a definite slowdown in enquiries recently. We are not listed in the yellow pages or any directory 'till next year for reasons i won't bore you with here, plus we are only a few years old as a business so we can't rely on reccommendations too much and we are "invisible" to potential customers. We have loads of work on for next spring and summer but had a wobble recently when two projects were suddenly cancelled. I am of the belief that a drop in business due to economy etc. is a challenge to be tackled rather than a problem to be bemoaned and so we printed shedloads of leaflets, fancy ones on card, and pounded the streets posting through letterboxes. It's demoralising but the result was LOADS of enquiries- 'we just got your leaflet" etc. the work is out there. If the economy does go tits up though I don't know how badly that could hit us i'm only twenty six so I was at school during the last recession
Posted by Tony McC on 15 Nov. 2005,00:40Have you registered for the Contractors List, Slick? Once you're registered, I can amend your membership status to 'Contractor' (or 'Landscaper') rather than 'Apprentice'.
See < the application form > page.
Posted by paultaylor on 15 Nov. 2005,13:firstname.lastname@example.org
Actually I am glad somebody brought this topic up because the general impression I get from builders, other paving contractors etc, people who have had many years worth of constant work are becoming a little slow. In general i think public spending is slowing down. We are seeing in real life what happens to people who cant repay loans etc and it is having a devastating effect on the trade. But we are also seeing a steep increase in different companies appearing all over the place. Im based in Preston, Lancs and just this year from last, I look around, and the amount of competition out there is phenominal.
We are very much a junior company, just me, my brother and my dad, but we don't have masses of cash flow to throw at advertising, so we are counting on word of mouth, recommendations etc.
The good guys always win in the end, or is it the other way around???
Posted by rms on 15 Nov. 2005,21:37We found August and September very slow for new business. October and November have been much better, which is good as December to February is usually quiet. We have now booked up enough work to take us into February. All things considered the economy has slowed down this year. We are still optimistic about the future and at the end of the day, what goes around comes around.
Posted by Ian CHP on 16 Nov. 2005,21:47Most of my work now is recomendation, in the last few weeks I have received as many calls as I normally do in summer. I'm currently booked up until May 06 and by the time that arrives the year will probably be covered. My main problem is staff, I just can't find any, I have 1 lad on now who is good and a grafter and is learning quickly but on the down side has no transport, I took another lad on last week, who was supposed to be experienced...........lasted 3 days...... I put an advert in 2 local shops for a labourer and never received a call in over 2 months.
There is loads of work about, for those who don't mind getting cold and wet and are used too and able to work in such conditions.
Posted by rms on 16 Nov. 2005,22:45Hi Ian,
With such a long wait for your customers, do you lose a few jobs because of the lead time? I mean, 6 months?
You must be bloody good or bloody cheap!
Posted by Ian CHP on 17 Nov. 2005,16:55rms,
I would,nt say I'm cheap as there always seems to be someone doing it for next to nothing, I know for a fact that I have been the dearest quote on a few jobs but have won them just through being honest with the customer, showing them previous jobs and throwing ideas at them.
Why rip up a driveway of 3 x 2's to block pave it at say the cost of £3k when you can relay it stick a feature in it or round it for just over £1k, the customers happy because they can then have the patio done round the back and still have £500 left for garden furniture.
As for being "bloody good" over 15 years of ground work experience, working for some really poor companies teaches you the way things should be done rather than bodged or covered over, again I just treat customers honestly, let them have all the input they want and treat them the way I would want to be treated by someone working at my house.
I've not really lost any jobs through the lead time.
Posted by rms on 17 Nov. 2005,21:27We'll go for bloody good then!
It's helpful when customers are prepared to wait for while, but we find that an increasing number of people want it all and want it now. Believing in the idea 'You're a long time dead!'
A good friend of mine who had made a couple of million pounds just in the last 3 years (not a paving contractor!), and feeling that everything had come together, went on to develop stomach cancer and die this year at the age of 48.
Makes you think about getting the most out of life.
Posted by Ian CHP on 17 Nov. 2005,22:23I now make a point of telling any enquiries that if i do go and estimate for a job then they will, if accepted, go too the back of a very long queue,
Good, maybe, yes, bloddy good, hmm, not in the same league as perhaps Tony etc, but I've never had any complaints or had to return to jobs for anything major.
Posted by TonyMcC on 17 Nov. 2005,22:36There are different types of customer: there are those that are looking for a quality job, and if that means waiting until next June, then they're prepared to wait; and then there's those that want it done yesterday, as quickly as poss and as cheap as poss. If you can attract more of the former, it makes business planning that much easier, but a few of the "quick-as-you-can" brigade can be handy for when you've a few loose days or when some bugger cancels because the mangey dog is having pups or Auntie Edie has carped it.
It's important to explain to potential customers that quality is worth the wait. A decent driveway or patio will see them right for a couple of decades - surely it's worth waiting a couple of months to ensure they get the right job, using the right materials with the right tradesmen.
Posted by TarmacLady on 18 Nov. 2005,14:55Which of you lot want to pop over and redo my drive -- January in Florida, low bidder only!
Posted by Nigel Walker on 18 Nov. 2005,18:37Tarmac Lady
I am on holiday in Orlando at the end of February.
Although I wouldnt want to lay a drive on my hols, I would love to come and work in the nice hot sunshine ooooh sunshine.
It has been minus 4 today in the lovely Lake District
I would be more than happy to return to sunny Florida and do your driveway !!!!!!
Dream , dream dream dream
Posted by Ian CHP on 18 Nov. 2005,20:18
Which of you lot want to pop over and redo my drive -- January in Florida, low bidder only!
ME,ME, ME, ME, you pay for the flights accomodation etc I,ll do it for nowt,
however it may take quite a while
Posted by rms on 18 Nov. 2005,20:54What's the average rate for a driveway in Florida?
Florida might have a sub tropical climate but those hurricanes are a pain in the arse! I know because my Cousin recently moved there.
I think i'll stick with the UK and a holiday home in Tobago or St Lucia (when I make enough money)
Posted by rms on 03 Dec. 2005,21:50Have I offended somone?
How's December looking so far?
Posted by Tony McC on 03 Dec. 2005,22:52Offended someone? Not as far as I know!
December is slow - the number of email enquiries I receive is down to below 100 per day (thank god!) and there are definite gaps between the phone ringing. I think it's much the same for many contractors as folk can only think of Xmas.
Enjoy the respite while it lasts - we'll all soon be rushed off our feet again.
Posted by TarmacLady on 04 Dec. 2005,07:22sorry, rms, you didn't offend -- I neglected to follow the thread!
(Yes, I'm blonde.)
Don't know off-hand what the going rate is -- but you're dead right that we're right tired of dealing with the blimming hurricanes -- and *we* were lucky this year. I'll have a look round and ask at some of the Chrimbo bashes (we've several neighbours who've had their drives redone recently) -- I'll let you know what I hear, just for comparison sake.
Posted by mouldmaker on 05 Dec. 2005,13:36As a manufacturer, I can see definite downturns over the last few months. From conversations at Glee, I think Stonemarket are the only ones to have really made much headway over the last 12 months and that has as much to do with introducing new products and keeping things fresh as anything else.
Most merchants I've spoken to (who are willing to tell the truth!) report downturns of 10-15% over last year.
We've managed to remain fairly level as we cover a number of bases, and have introduced new products, and our website has proved invaluable for pulling in leads from a wider area.
Posted by Tony McC on 06 Dec. 2005,19:39Manufacturers, importers, distributors ... they're all saying they had a fairly flat year but that has to be tempered with the fact that 2004 was a real bumper year for many.
I reckon the decorative products are going to struggle for another 12 months or so, but the specification market will remain fairly bouyant.
Posted by rms on 14 Jan. 2006,22:21For January the level of enquiries we are currently receiving is much higher than usual. Looks like 2006 is going to be a great year! All the best to all you other hard working contractors up and down the Country!
Posted by mouldmaker on 16 Jan. 2006,15:392006 is looking hopeful for us too. We have had a busy January (considering we were supposed to be shut down for redevelopment) and have orders out to the end of March, and new products being launched (hopefully) March/April.
Posted by simeonronacrete on 01 Feb. 2006,23:51I feel guilty for saying we're doing OK, but then we are. Sales are about 30% up on last year, and that saw a similar increase on the year before.
How? Very hard work, a restructured sales team, gazillions on marketing, incentives to staff for doing well, and being out there in front of customers and specifiers, offering them a consistently good product, backed up by professional service. Oh, and this website, a wonderful source of interest from professionals.
Resin bonded aggregate < Ronadeck Fast Grip > has been a hot favourite since we launched it about 6 years ago, and our new Tree Pit < Ronadeck Tree Pit > system has really taken off. What seems a very specialist application can be undertaken by landscapers and builders, with training, and a professional approach.
Good luck to us all for 2006 (Chinese year of the Dog).
Posted by bobbi o on 02 Feb. 2006,19:39not sure what profit margin you guys are working to,but would be great if you could answer a couple of questions which may be of interest.
1.when working out your costings on a job,what profit margin do you add on at the end?
2.if your turnover is say 600k a year what profit on average would you make from that net?
my answers are:
Posted by Tony McC on 04 Feb. 2006,09:30Methinks you're in the wrong game, Bobbi!
You need a profit margin of at least 15% just to keep a business functioning and 2,150 quid profit on a 600K turnover is less than you could get in interest from the Building Society.
Posted by bobbi o on 04 Feb. 2006,11:54you read it wrong mr t,the net profit margin after all deductions was 15k.
which is still v.poor.the target is a net 25% margin this year,though you may be right and this is the wrong industry to acheive that in.
anyone else's thoughts?
Posted by Tony McC on 04 Feb. 2006,12:17Aaah! Punctuation! I thought that was 1 point 25 per cent, instead of Answer 1:- 25%
25% is "realistic". Not as much as some, but enough to make sure you keep your head above water.
Posted by MatthewWakeman on 10 Feb. 2006,00:46I start off in January/ February @ circa 20% by May June i like to be earning more like 30-35% Net come November December i dont have a problem with 10% just to keep things moving
Posted by bobbi o on 10 Feb. 2006,18:38nice one matt,your yearly targets are pretty similair to mine,though i havent acheived mine yet!
regarding pricing any tips?mine is so basic that i'd welcome any input to improve it:
we're talking about contracts which average 5-7k on the year,so not sure theres much requirement to introduce much science to the calculations,but any advice welcome.
Posted by MatthewWakeman on 11 Feb. 2006,00:19Alway find it siuts me to keep it as simple as possible if you have been doing this as long as i have you know exactly how long the job is going to take. Sometimes even we take on a job we know we should'nt it may be because the customer wants a different material or has been told by some other contractor it cant be done it's then when we lose a bit of money but gain experiance and the later can be alot more valuble in the long run. it just would not be fair if we made money on every job where would the excitment be in that. One thing we never do is ask the customer for more money after all we are the pro's .
Posted by rms on 02 Mar. 2006,01:342006 looking good with bookings to mid May. Not bad for the time of year!
Posted by bobbi o on 02 Mar. 2006,13:56yeah matt,the time factor is the hardest to get right,especially when theres a lot of prep work.apart from experience,do you introduce any laying bonuses etc for the men in order to increase the daily productivity?
Posted by rms on 03 Mar. 2006,01:08If a price is set for a given job this has to be the best way of obtaining high productivity. Just keep an eye on the quality!
Posted by rms on 03 Mar. 2006,01:11Sounds like you don't get your hands too dirty Bobbi!
Posted by Ross-Paving on 03 Mar. 2006,15:03I operate as a Hard Landscaper in the North of Scotland, Inverness area, mainly driveways and patios, where there is a phenominal growth in building and development. Most of the large developers provide the basics but there are plenty of clients looking for upgrades. Not forgetting the individuals who are looking to improve established properties, plenty of those going about as well. On the whole we are kept constantly employed with a months lead, this winter has been kinder than expected weather wise and as such the spring rush appears to have kicked in earlier this year. Primarily I obtain most of my business through word of mouth, I have the usual portfolio of before and afters to reassure the clients, Initially I advertised in the local paper but that proved to be a waste of time - plenty people seeing the ad and requesting quotes out of curiosity (I wish I had a pound for everyone that said "I'm surprised you came, nobody usually bothers" then when they get the quotation they never even lift the phone to say No thanks). The majority of work I pick up is replacing old tarmac drives - this powersteering is a great invention, it certainly rips up the poor tar in the turning areas. Currently looking at May when quoting on new work, generally I find people are prepared to wait when they get prompt service during the enquiry/quotation stage. My main suppliers keep me informed on new people starting up, plenty of them each year but usually just last the summer months and leave a trail of distruction behind them. Like with the earlier posts getting reliable help is a problem, there's not many around that like hard work. To summarise, business is good in Inverness/Highlands - but don't all relocate - Please!
Posted by alan ditchfield on 04 Mar. 2006,13:06We have felt a definate slow down in enquiries tailing of from december 2005 and only really picking up again now certainly from my point of view a lot slower than the last couple of years. Had to take some paving work in spain to tide me over and now im back to start a job in leeds its minus 5 and 3 inch thick in snow. I just love this country. If anybody knows an easier way to make a living let me know please.
Posted by Tony McC on 04 Mar. 2006,16:13How did you like the cement/concrete in Spain-land, Alan? Blink, and it's gone off!
Posted by rms on 05 Mar. 2006,00:34Even at 17 degrees c ?
Posted by rms on 05 Mar. 2006,00:37I think March is going to be manic for enquiries!
Posted by alan ditchfield on 05 Mar. 2006,11:25Your not wrong about the speed it goes off especially when the mixer was twice the size of my english one i have never moved so fast in my life but i think i could learn to live with it a couple of beers with your lunch and the world seems like a better place.
Posted by rms on 20 Mar. 2006,23:32Any sign of the Spring rush?
Posted by rms on 28 April 2006,22:58We are now seeing signs of more activity.
Posted by Stuarty on 29 April 2006,20:46the firm i work for definatley had a very bad spell through the winter there, had no work for a squad for 3 weeks, but we are all go again now
Posted by Tony McC on 03 May 2006,16:07Everyone is busy at the moment. There's a lot of enquiries from Scotland, for some reason....I think a lot of the Scots lads moved south to chase the work in London Village and the SE, and now their own country is on the up, there's not enough craftsmen left to cope with the demand.
Or maybe it's the midges!
Posted by Stuarty on 05 May 2006,17:53bah midges only get to the weak! I know of a few firms up here that have several all polish squads, maybe employers are just seeing the oppertunity of dirt cheap labour
Posted by Tony McC on 06 May 2006,09:36If you think there are plenty of Polish lads in the building game up in Scotland, you should see what it's like in Ireland! I was in the kingdom of Kerry a couple or three weeks ago and a news report was saying how local gangers and contract managers were having to learn Polish to communicate with their workforce. Even the local teenage lads were being taught a few basic phrases as there is plenty of what is referred to as "Polish Totty" working in the hotel trade down there.
Posted by brickstermike on 06 May 2006,14:37Loads of polish down here in the south too. There buildinig a new hospital 5 minutes from my house which is full of polish employees. They are very quick workers though.
Posted by rms on 13 May 2006,21:32Too much cheap foreign labour creates an unsustainable cycle that can only cause a degree of damage to other businesses, albeit temporary yet still uncomfortable.
Posted by rms on 11 Sep. 2006,20:55Any news on the state of the economy in your neck of the woods?
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 11 Sep. 2006,21:31as stated above the poles are here (bedfordshire) en masse,but already people are becoming disillusioned with them
we try and treat all customers fairly and honstly,and will allways rectify any mistake at our own cost (yes it happens) we are booked till aug 2007, but as i do building works as well, most of my work is 2-3 months per job.
what we are trying to do is concentrate on quality stuff and coucil work,the poles have the budget end of the market sewn up and good luck to them
i suppose if you go back 30 years its similar to when my family moved down from greenock looking for work,just people trying to improve their lot.
although it is odd when every barperson in my local is slovakian
Posted by bkdavies86 on 11 Sep. 2006,22:15I don't know if i should smile or cry after reading this thred as i've just started up on my own, doing plant and tool hire plus just introducing my own brand of diamond blades.
Personally i think the whole construction industry has slowed down over the past couple of months with plenty of work in the pipe line. I also think prices will shoot up soon because all the semi/skilled labour will be heading up town (central london) to earn serious money with all the larger projects such as cross rail, olympics etc starting.
I'm slap bang in the middle of the South East (Gatwick Airport) and many of the contractors i know have had a better year this year compaired to last and tell me the same with work in the pipe line.
So fingers crossed come 2007 there will be plenty of work for everybody
My backround is Quantity Surveying within New build housing and groundworks, whilst the company is buisness it hasn't started many new projects.
With Eastern Europeans the biggest problem is the resentment it is causing for example in Southampton general groundworkers/labours/builders wages have been slashed in half because of eastern european labour - which means the bosses of the firms are earning more.
Posted by Dave_L on 11 Sep. 2006,22:28Slightly worrying this Polish worker thing. - still if they want to do the jobs some of us Brits can't be arsed to do, then fair play to them!
Gotta say, there are some cracking 'birds' from the Eastern Bloc, working at a local veg producer! Makes the drive home from work quite nice, as none have cars , they walk everywhere!
Posted by Dave_L on 11 Sep. 2006,22:30
We're doing OK - solidly booked for the next 4 months with a constant stream of enquiries/quotes etc
We'll always get the 'Shouts for help at the 11th hour' so will always try to accomodate them!
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 11 Sep. 2006,22:53
agreed dave,but why do all the men look like serial killers??
i took my daughter over the park the other day and all the mums and dads were chatting,relaxing etc.except this 1 eastern european guy who was strutting about staring at people in a terminator sort of way
i asked him if he had 2 apples under his armpits? and he said "vhy?"
"i just wondered why your arms are at 45 degrees to youre body thats all"
the women you can spot at 20 paces by the total abscence of any body fat(except my czech cleaner who weighs 110 kg and is clearly intent on boosting her chances of making the womens shot in 2012,judging by the remanents she leaves in the biscuit tin)
Posted by bobbi o on 21 Sep. 2006,00:17have heard only good things about the polish workers.where you get em?
Posted by bkdavies86 on 21 Sep. 2006,18:36gotta agree with that comment, the development i'm currently running we've got 3 polish groundworkers and they are bloody good and not scared of graftting!
but be careful as you can get some real cowboys.
I know there where a few firms adverising polish working in construction news awhile ago apart from that try southampton as they all seem to frequent there
Posted by rms on 02 Jan. 2007,23:20How are things looking in your area for 2007?
Happy New Year!
Posted by Dave_L on 03 Jan. 2007,19:51
Bouyant and busy but mustn't get complacent!
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 04 Jan. 2007,18:38
got plenty of work for this year but with rising interest rates who knows what will happen
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 12 Oct. 2007,21:03well as I predicted january things are starting to go tits up with the economy,i keep getting calls now from out of work brickies,and the roofer i use laid off 2 of his blokes today through lack of work
things are not selling like they used to round here
lets see what 2008 has in store
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 14 Oct. 2007,13:41anyone?
Posted by James.Q on 14 Oct. 2007,15:19not getting half as many calls at the moment for private work . been on site as a subbie machine driving and ground works plus supply and lay paving has kept me going this year but great hopes for 2008 hope to be back in the domestic market again:p
Posted by DeckmanAdam on 14 Oct. 2007,16:24Work seems very sparse up here atm we are quiet as are alot of people we know...Hopefully things will pick up.
Posted by Rich H on 15 Oct. 2007,10:12Good here. Nice steady stream. Nervous about the winter though.
Posted by very simple simon on 15 Oct. 2007,11:01can't comment on domestic, but commercial stuff has been busy since summer, all of it is industrial units. ugly as f*ck tin sheds springing up all over the place , but can they sell them?
if you googl "maybrook retail park" my works did groundworks sub contract here for carillions, 9 months work, finshed sept 06, and still no takers for these units. just done 12 smaller units in ashford, good location, retail park near to town...wait and see eh?
Posted by Ted on 15 Oct. 2007,18:46< Travis Perkins reckon it is slowing... >
Posted by matt h on 16 Oct. 2007,23:36delays in contracts being passed, suggests tightening of purse strings, doesnt help when you keep getting asked for revised quotes... and then at the last minute it all falls through. Loads of small jobs keeping me on the surface, but it could be worse...
Posted by James.Q on 17 Oct. 2007,00:06its going a bit t.ts up still waiting for payment 2 months late just today been put on stop by TP ;its in the post whot im told;
Posted by matt h on 17 Oct. 2007,06:33yes, The evasive cheque in the post... someone somewhere is sitting on a fortune...:angry:
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 14 Dec. 2007,06:48house prices dropping like stones
lets see what the new year has in store for us
maybe concentrate on civic work
Posted by Pablo on 14 Dec. 2007,19:00Optomistic about 2008 might be a bit tighter but should weather it. Civils /commercial is great but takes a heavy investment and they can drop you like a stone just when you don't need it. Hopefully with people less likely to move they'll be thinking of improving on what they've got. Buy to let is where the problems have come from but never did much work for that crowd anyway because they didn't want to spend the money. Still a lot of money out there and most potential clients will be just as financially secure as they have been all along. Keep telling myself that anyway.
Posted by williams on 17 Mar. 2008,01:37sorry to drag up an old thread but curious to see how things are going.
i do domestic works and to be honest its pretty good,but am getting increasingly worried what with the cost of materials,muck away,this permeable paving thing meaning people having to get planning permission and just the general economy........i reckon we could be in for a rough ride
Posted by MatthewWakeman on 17 Mar. 2008,18:47got to say that Jan Feb were excellent we are booked untill 2nd week in May, but the amount of leads we have had over the past 3 weeks have been shockingly bad we normally get between 10-15 jobs to see a week i am currently seeing only 3-5.
I am hoping it's only a glitch
Posted by Dave_L on 17 Mar. 2008,20:23At the present time, there's not enough hours in the working week to fulfill what we need to do!
Always wary though, a local large construction firm has gone belly up since Xmas.....
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 18 Mar. 2008,01:21america is in recession and when america sneezes we generally catch a cold
dont want to be a doom monger but hardly anyone can borrow money at the moment without punitive measures
a big dip is coming domestic wise,people spending now had their money sorted out before xmas
we are still getting a lot of leads but are looking at doing the LA jobs more as its guaranteed.
think of it like this
mr A's house was bought for 100k
its now worth 150 k
so he borrows 30 k for improvements
last year yes
this year no chance
fingers crossed guys
Posted by TarmacLady on 18 Mar. 2008,15:08Scary as all hell over here, boys -- entire housing estates sit empty and half-finished, Repossession notices everywhere, and for sale signs like dandelions, just as the queues at the employment offices are getting longer by the hour.
The dollar now has no more value than a loo roll, and petrol keeps skyrocketing, which means that the grocery trolley gets more and more pricey to fill, too.
We're okay for now -- our jobs are secure, but it's not looking good for lots of other folks. Hope to God you lot don't catch this cold!
Posted by matt h on 19 Mar. 2008,02:14January was dire, but things have picked up since, and I,ve work to cover april now.. There are a lot of firms struggling, or only working half days at the moment locally..:(
Posted by Rich H on 19 Mar. 2008,21:16Busy round here. Most of summer's booked already but I think it's the thin end of the wedge. I'm still looking for new business because I'd rather have the work in and deposits paid than be scratching around later.
Posted by matt h on 20 Mar. 2008,00:53seems theres lots of small works, but nothing to get yer teeth into at the mo..;)
Posted by bobbi o on 28 May 2008,17:28anyone feeling the pinch of the credit crisis yet? seems some are some arent. the fuel prices are a bitch at the moment.heard more people are risking it on red,which i wouldnt do as i know i'd get caught!
Posted by seanandruby on 28 May 2008,21:02Wife and i have bought bikes for short journeys. great fun and we keep fit
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 29 May 2008,00:06busy as ever,am booking saturdays into september now for 1 off little jobs
however all the big site lads i know are travelling further afield.
blokes my age remember the last 1 in 90-92 and have made provision for it,its the young fellas about 30 who have just taken on big mortgages i feel for
Posted by Rich H on 29 May 2008,08:13Still got work but have noticed that the conversion rate on quotes has dropped right off. Still Ok for a couple of months but starting to get nervous about the winter already.
Posted by TarmacLady on 30 May 2008,20:32There's some flickers of light over here -- I've been talking with builders' merchants coast to coast, and they're reporting that the phone's begun to ring again, and they're starting to quote jobs.
The general consensus is that the patient is still in intensive care, but we seem to have at least managed to stop the haemmorhage!
Hope so...a lot will depend on which eedjit they put in the White House come November, I think.
Posted by matt h on 31 May 2008,01:59and you are surprised t that!?we are always subject to the powers that be... unfortunately:angry:
Posted by bobbi o on 15 Aug. 2008,23:44anyone feeling any pain yet in the credit crisis? apart from increased costs/late payers etc i havent yet noticed a downturn in the work load for this time of year. believe jan-march 09 may be a testing period but too early to tell yet.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 16 Aug. 2008,00:14still working away but haven't laid a patio this year??
discretionary spending has been hit hard.
also noticed the prices of stuff rocketing up
everyone i speak to is nervous about the economy,well apart from the dossers down the park
Posted by Dave_L on 16 Aug. 2008,06:57Still busy although the price of fuel/haulage/materials has increased. Materials I think we have had 5 rises this year to date.
Posted by seanandruby on 16 Aug. 2008,08:52
They will feel it to tho because alcohol, fags etc will go up in price. but the dole money wont rise. How will they cope?
Posted by Dave_L on 17 Aug. 2008,08:54But they'll still be able to afford gas-guzzling cars, plasma TV's and Sky!
Posted by newbuyer17 on 17 Aug. 2008,09:24DOnt wish to hijack this thread, but believe my question is relevent.
I'm curious how a recession will affect building costs (for home extensions)
We currently need a bigger house. At the moment the cost of extending = the cost of the value we will add. Now in 3 years time the value of the property could drop ~30%, so it wouldn't be worth extending if the building costs were still the same.
But I figure labour costs would be far lower in a recession. But the materials would still need to be bought, which appear to be going up from what you guys say. Probably due to fuel/inflation etc, but if there was a recession would the merchants not have to cut materials prices to get sales?
Interested in the views of those in the trade, especially those that remember the 90s. We'll not be doing anything either way for a couple of years, but starting to think moving would be more cost effective.
Posted by Rich H on 17 Aug. 2008,18:42Labour rates might go down a little but, speaking from my own perspective, there's not much to give. I don't know many trades that are minted, and there's never a lot of fat in my quotes.
Punters might find it easier to get people to quote properly and promptly, but for most of us we've still got mortgages to pay and food to put on the table, so I can't see a big shift.
Mrs H will still be asking for the same amount of money at the end of every month!
Posted by Pablo on 17 Aug. 2008,19:58No way could I drop my labour rates unless my staff took a pay cut. Maybe the builders who work on percentage cut of budget may have some room for movement. Would moving really be cheaper than extending when you add in all the additional costs like stamp/ solicitors/ estate agents Hips etc. Then when you're in you'll need to redecorate flooring/ kitchens/ bathrooms/ paint/ curtains/ shelves/ lights/ furniture/ wallpaper maybe a driveway or fix up the garden you name it. Many thousands of pounds that no-one really budgets for when housebuying. You could get lucky and find something that needs little work but it'll still be expensive. Even if an extension cost 40 grand and it added 30 to the house it's only really cost you 10 it'll cost you more than that to move. It's one to think about though I'm in the same boat and one week I'm going to do this next week I've chaned my mind. Nightmare.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 18 Aug. 2008,00:14we often do extensions where i think to myself"why didnt they just move?"
good neighbours is 1 reason to stay put
but if you want an extension to pay for its self you need to add a bedroom and revamp the kitchen and bathrooms
just getting a bigger lounge or dining room is not cost effective
Posted by bobbi o on 10 Oct. 2008,20:11word on the street from a leading financial adviser i met in the pub is:
50% up front,CASH is king
Posted by flowjoe on 11 Oct. 2008,21:52Cash is king ! Long live the king (with VAT of course)
Thats the bankers (cockney rhyming slang) sorted out then.
Lets hope that now we are shareholders in our banking system our kids will not have the opportunity to borrow/lend/lease/expect/want all that has been offered far too easily in the last decade or so.
Posted by bobbi o on 11 Oct. 2008,23:28Yes,to correct myself i of course wasnt advocating that contractors should avoid their tax liabilities,just that if they have accumulated some wealth over the years,that they should pay attention to in what form it is deposited.
we dont know how this will all pan out (i'm sure the advocates of the new world order do) but why trust others to look after our hard won gains in this current climate ?
Posted by seanandruby on 12 Oct. 2008,08:08I am lucky enough to have a wife who spends enough to keep us from having any savings. she invests heavily in....shoes, hand bags, cosmetics etc:
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 12 Oct. 2008,09:30
welcome to my world sean
i find it vaguely irritating and amusing in equal measure that the meejuh that for the last 10 year has been telling us to spend spend spend ,is now full of stuff like " how to beat the crunch" "ten easy ways to swap your house for a packet of cheese and onion crisps" and " 5 sunday dinners from roadkill and weeds"
as my mrs says "they run with the hare,but come back with the hound"
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 21 Nov. 2008,22:58no respite in sight down these parts.
a lot of good lads are signing on round here now for the first time in 17 years or ever
i still cannot fathom why we, the british public bailed the banks out,and now they are turfing people out of homes they have been paying for, for years and years
its happening to a m8 right now,18 years he has had the house but he just got knocked for 20 K. main contractor went bust
now the very same bank that we gave billions of quid to has given him 2 months to pay or he's out
summat not right here
Posted by Dave_L on 22 Nov. 2008,08:58Bloody hell, poor lad, I hope things work out for him, especially at this time of year.
Next year is going to be very tough; we suffered very badly in the early 90's, lost a damn sight more than £20k. This time round we are much smaller and should be able to ride out a storm.
There is a new housing development nearby - they've sited the sales portakabin and landscaped the surrounding area and that's it, no building or infrastructure works going on - the sales dolly sits in the office all day long with no-one going into see her and buy off-plan. Must be some long old days for her. Best thing is, she drives a shiny black Range Rover Sport! Talk about sending out the wrong signals eh??
Posted by seanandruby on 22 Nov. 2008,09:09its going to get a lot worse. when it happened to me the last time around i bought a caravan cheap moved onto an all year round site . i was there for two years paying £50 a week, saved a few quid then back on the ladder. happiest two years ever. all i had were the clothes i stood up in, a car and tools. im not saying it would be that easy for everyone but don't lose heart, keep busy, cut back on spending. dont worry about material things you can always get it again.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 22 Nov. 2008,17:25you come into the world naked and you go out the same way, i feel for this fella though he has been working on 1.5 million pound flats in central London,which wont shift,the 20 k was all his extras over 18 months work which was agreed to be paid at the end.
no doubt the developer will still be driving round in his porsche cayenne
Posted by acechadwick on 23 Nov. 2008,12:22Shortly to be taken away by men with a tow truck.....(I used to do that job!!!!
Posted by Dave_L on 23 Nov. 2008,17:55
Bet you were popular some days!!!
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 19 Feb. 2010,20:22it all seems to have ground to a juddering halt agin
we have work for a couple of months but the general consensus amongst my peers is that there is nothing happening around these parts
london seems to be the only place with work happening
and by "work" I dont mean working for £12.50 an hour for one of the multinationals
I mean work for individual clients ,people like us
how is it in your neck of the woods?
Posted by cookiewales on 19 Feb. 2010,22:01well boyos of to norfolk pasport in hand the cookie crew are on the road again long hibernation lots of good jobs coming in just nneed to win them website works well for me shows what they can have if they leave the cowboys alone
Posted by GB_Groundworks on 19 Feb. 2010,22:53few things lined up but kicking myself didn;t put board up on job on busy road because of dodgy brickwork being built on my footings, called in today and said they had had 4 enquires. guy has asked the builder to change the brickies said he's not having one of them back on site.
see what the better weather brings....
missed a job and a kinda mate got it, hes laying indjun stone on 10-1 sharp sand bed 30mm deep bed on 100mm mot for a driveway guys got a 110 county i see trouble ahead...
Posted by Pablo on 19 Feb. 2010,23:36You should tell your kinda mate that he's a sorta ar#ehole Giles. As for work I'm getting it super tight hand to mouth stuff almost although I have no debt or HP to pull me under doing allsorts of shitty work and phone is very quiet. Just need to get though the next 4-5 weeks.
Posted by Injured on 20 Feb. 2010,01:40I have around 4 to 5 weeks of work booked in and have had a few enquires in last week or two. Hopefully I will get some more and turn them into work.
Posted by Mattds on 20 Feb. 2010,11:55Well ive just started work again after 6 months laid off so things are looking up.
Just hope it lasts!
Posted by rab1 on 20 Feb. 2010,19:26paid off another couple of boys on Thursday, things ain't good.
Posted by Tony McC on 22 Feb. 2010,00:12It *is* picking up again - trust me! I can tell by the number of emails that have come in over the past week and the increased number of site visitors.
Be patient, compadres. Sunny days are just around the corner!
Posted by seanandruby on 15 May 2010,07:23Upside i'm off to terminal 2, should be 2/3 years work there for me. Downside had my rate chopped yet again. That's 3 times in a year. Beats the other option though.... redundancy.
Posted by ratty on 15 May 2010,08:46Kicked off really well once we got rid of the ice and have priced more jobs than ever before but very few of them are coming back.
A lot of people seem to have no concept of how much things are going to cost and the rogues out there certainly dont help. Priced a full back garden at £13,000 complete with full spec for all works. Customer came back and said they are getting it done for £5000!!! There words "no they havent provided a spec but we dont think the end product will be that different". Gutted to loose the job but ill be very interested to keep an eye on the job as it progresses - see if any 'fixing work comes out of it.
Only a couple of weeks work booked in at the minute which is a bit concerning this time of year.
Posted by Dave_L on 15 May 2010,10:04I hate loosing priced jobs like that, but as you say, lets see the end result.
Posted by DNgroundworks on 17 May 2010,17:57Quite busy at the minute, theres only 3 of us so its not to bad, sub-contracting to a developer since end of Jan this will be coming to an end in two weeks then got about 1.5 months of "bits n snags" lined up then back on for the developer, definatley not earning top dollar though sub-contracting.
Ive probably been out priced on more jobs than what i have won, one job i went to look at i went twice to show him different ideas scale diagrams, photos, portfolios and then picked him up from his house and showed him one of my jobs - a fifty mile round trip, and then i still didnt get it, it was only 5.8k of work he said i was way over by £££, 45 mtrs indian sandstone, 10x 0.7 mtrs high L-shaped retaining wall with posts at each end and corner built in pitched faced walling stone, steps up to a split level garden, i thought that was a reasonable quote seen as im 25 miles away from him, what do you guys think
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 17 May 2010,19:59sounds cheap to me dan
some people just try it on
if you price labour +material + small profit
then that is your price
you cant make it fit what he wants to pay
Posted by Injured on 18 May 2010,16:41I had a mad spell about 3 to 4 weeks ago priced up lots but so far only turned one of those quotes into work.
People are wanting to spend but are more bothered about price than quality at the moment or think that we can all do it for a fiver. Thats how i see it.
Posted by GB_Groundworks on 26 May 2010,22:28busy busy busy haha,
got 120 metres sawn flags to lay and 130 metre drive, not sure what yet resin bound was a no no, wanted £50/m just for resin and gravel. think we are going with block kerb, block edging, and block circle with asphalt. so prep that for our surfacing lads.
currently knocking down and large double garge 10mx12m inc slabs etc then footings for a house going on it. and to make things easier picked up a job turning an 4 acre field into 2 rugby pitches. first job is a road in, and its only 5 minute drive in dumper from garage so running all hardcore their nice link up.
then got a +/- 1 metre cut and fill on the 12,000 metres2 to form the pitches, 6000 tons of top soil to strip and pile. then about 10,000 tons of clay to move.
currently looking for a bulldozer, love new toys for jobs
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 26 May 2010,23:47very nice giles
have to say that down here for builders its as tight as a ducks
pricing loads but the constant attempts at bartering are getting me down
when you have spent 5 hours carefully pricing a 50k job,you dont need a desk jockey asking you to lose 15%
the way its going I am going to start charging for quotes that are broken down,I did one for an asian fella the other week,went past a week later and he had russian lads doing the work,stopped to speak to him and he asked could they borrow a kango and some acrows!!!!
funny enough i said no
Posted by msh paving on 27 May 2010,19:48H tony, i was talking to a guy in kings lynn yesterday telling me about lithoainains going to luton to work leave hear at 4ish am on site 7.30 ish back hear at 8ish £500 a week for the 3 off them,he is a sparky, did the electrics for em. WHAT THE flip IS GOING ON..............MSH
Posted by mickg on 27 May 2010,19:58
have you got their phone number
Posted by msh paving on 27 May 2010,20:17my street is full off em.............
Posted by rab1 on 27 May 2010,20:38works dead up here so the poles etc have all done a runner down south for better money
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 27 May 2010,20:58down south for better money .haha .evening standard ev ery week .brickys 12 pound an hour ,kerblayers 9 pound an hour chippies 10 pound an hour .london is fecked
Posted by rab1 on 27 May 2010,21:06seriously thats a lot better than whats being offered up here
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 27 May 2010,22:03i suppose if push came to shove i would work for 12 quid an hour
but it hasn't and I wont work for less than £20/hour as things are
i spoke to the gaffer and he is well busy,but as a world leader in what he does that is expected
this coalition parliment/greek/irish/italian/spanish/portugese tragedy,plus the oil spill in USA has made everyone didgy again
FFS i was getting £10 an hour in 1988
anyway on a brighter side england are 5-1 to win the world cup
Posted by rab1 on 28 May 2010,17:14just spent the afternoon trying to start a pair (fitter & mate) and strugling. either their working or the brew are paying for tickets and dont want to miss out.
Posted by bobbi o on 28 May 2010,20:51we're flat out at mo and have been for the last 10 weeks. theres a sheet load of work to be had out there right now. we could easily double the size of our operation tmrw to take advantage. the main reason i reckon for this is the people who didnt spend in the winter months, when the economy was looking grim are now opening their wallets.
however,over the grim winter months, despite cutting everyones hours,but deciding to make no redundancys, we managed to make a substantial loss in day to day operations. now back in the good times we're bashing it out trying to make back these losses .
i've decided not to substantially increase our size,mainly due to what happened last winter and the belief that winter 10/11 could be even worse. hopefully not,but its looking that way.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 29 May 2010,05:57thats good to hear bobbi,maybe things are better now for the landscape/hardscape type of things.
there are a few big jobs on the go in luton full of liffys poles etc,all on £8 and hour,trades on £11.50 an hour
but they are the sites where people get instant dismissal for a multitude of things,from talking to 1 irish lad he said its a climate of fear day in day out because they have 20 more names on the gate to replace you
we are booked up till end of july,but i much preferred it 2 years ago when we were booked up for a year,
you can plan better that way
Posted by seanandruby on 29 May 2010,07:56When the money takes a knock, it is usually the cheap labour that starts compromising safety. Even on big jobs, some of the lads will do what the foreman says, even if it is unsafe, for fear of losing their jobs. I've witnessed it time after time with inexperienced supervisors ( some who are made up by friends in high places ) putting lads to work unsafe.
Posted by henpecked on 08 June 2010,11:24Asked my mate to quote me for a garage base. 150mm conc, grab wagon for stone and spoil removal, worked it out at 3 cube, (he put 5). 3 blokes, 2 days came in at 2300.Access is good (using neighbours drive) I don't know how he came to that price at all :0 , or for that matter where the 3rd bloke appeared from?
Looks like the prices are still not dropping in Warwickshire at the moment
Posted by 47p2 on 08 June 2010,12:43
The concrete guys are a law to themselves. No matter how accurate you measure and calculate the quantity they always tell you that you have reached the 'said amount' and require more, cash only for the extra. It makes my blood boil
Posted by henpecked on 08 June 2010,15:39He said it would take 2 blokes to start with (one driver one on shovel ,i suppose).
So, it has an extra guy, plus 2 cube with is £400 (working on a ton a shift). Thats not to mention the other bits. I costed it out at just under a 1k + labour, so it looks like I will be doing it me self
Posted by GB_Groundworks on 10 June 2010,18:07started the 120 metres of 25mm sawn stone today, very porus stuff stains if you look at it.
newest memeber of the fleet arrived as we switch out the 16 ton machine, auction purchase from tuesday we have an old 3cx that we all refuse to use so finally updated it .
started to stone up and blind off the paths
proper big boys toys, on the next street from my house they are knocking the old uni down, my boy and i went for a nosey
also found out a job we did, well a product test for tony is in the travis perkins landscaping catalogue i'm famous haha lol
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 11 June 2010,04:57I tell you a mad thing giles
they are knocking down buildings in luton that i worked on
office building less than 20 years old and they are flattening them with those big 30M demolition hammers
it doesn't seem to make sense
Posted by GB_Groundworks on 11 June 2010,18:00i've knocked down a building my dad build 30 years ago was kinda nice next generation moving on etc haha
but yeah 20 years is nothing, my house is 1902 land just to expensive down saaaaarrrrttttthhhh
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 18 July 2010,16:29back on to the state of the economy
its really bad down here,we are still working but its very bitty now and its dog eat dog
a lot of really top class bloke are laid off and once the current run of school refurbs finish there will be a lot following them
I priced a job yesterday (an extension) and the guy wants to save 800 quid by not using scaffold
normally i would blow it out ,but in the current climate i will have to do it off trestles
at least i only have to go 2.4m to soffit
he is pitching and tiling it himself off ladders
apparently your neck is only worth 800 sovs these days
Posted by rab1 on 18 July 2010,16:42i`ve just been asked to take a 15% pay cut.
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 18 July 2010,16:51what you going to do then rab .do you work for a big company .we didnt get a pay rise last year and dont think we will get one this year .
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 18 July 2010,17:37did they ask or tell you rab?
they know they have you by the short and curlies,the barstewards
this winter is gonna be very bad,I can smell it
2 years in to this recession and there are no signs of recovery
what will happen when interest rates go up (as surely they will at some point)
a lot of lads earning less money than when they took out the mortgage will be in the mire
also with all the govt cutbacks ,any public employee is going to be less likely to have work done
these teachers,police,nurses etc are our bread and butter
time will tell
Posted by Mikey_C on 18 July 2010,17:40
NO apparently HIS neck is only worth £800!!
have you tried squeezing the scaffold company, tell them if they need to do it 4 £400.
get thee scaffolding installed you use and make sure you take it down before the client uses it, else you can then charge the client £400 for it.
my cousin is a roofer and when working for his previous medium sized firm was encourage to cut any corner that saved money, including a re-roof with no scaffolding!!!
Posted by Mikey_C on 18 July 2010,17:45
in a couple of years when things pick up (he says hoping!!) you'll say I off someone else has better t&c, pay etc. and your boss will say what about loyalty. you be able to say it went two years ago for about 15% of me wages!!!
Posted by Mikey_C on 18 July 2010,17:48the company I work have started a new factory £16 mill development heavy plant on site 13T up, but not a lot of use to u guys as none of you are based any where near (bournemouth).
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 18 July 2010,19:05mikey - c .the eastern europeans have already put paid to being able to pick and choose work
Posted by Dave_L on 18 July 2010,19:13The double-dip recession is yet to hit us.....
Next year is going to be a bad one.
The three worries of work......you worry about getting the work, you worry about doing the job then you have to worry about getting paid for the work.........
Posted by rab1 on 18 July 2010,20:27being honest, i realy dont know as any wage is better than none. i have been making calls all weekend and will know better on tuesday
they basically told us 15% but are looking for me to take 20%, the lads are looking at the unison sites. had to tell them that we were msf now unite.
Posted by seanandruby on 18 July 2010,20:48Had three pay cuts last year and further away from home. No cost of living rise for 3 years now. Was told last week no more boots being supplied, surely they are breaking the law. I say: they have us up against the wall and are pissing over us
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 18 July 2010,20:49im lucky the recession really doesnt affect my job .i got laid off a few years ago and luckily got in where i am now.do you work for l o' r rab
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 18 July 2010,20:51i think they are breaking the law over boots sean .we had no annual rise for two years
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 18 July 2010,21:07by law on the cards employees must be supplied with safety equipment and that includes boots
setts with all the cutbacks in spending i think you will find it is bound to affect you too mate sooner or later
I hope not
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 18 July 2010,21:32we have the fixed term maintenance contracts in westminster and kensington and chelsea lll.had them for over 25 years m8.7 year contracts now.
Posted by rab1 on 18 July 2010,22:16cht was my last employer. shower of wankers that they were in the end. ask shean lor
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 18 July 2010,22:57good for you setts
everyone i know is in the same boat right now
and the paddle has gone
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 18 July 2010,23:22one thing i have noticed in the sarf tony .i look at the building trade vacancies in the metro and evening standard .last year they were none existent .lately there has been lots of jobs for brickies in there .good sign for the economy .worst trade to be hit as you know when economy goes belly up as youknow yourself.
Posted by Mikey_C on 04 Aug. 2010,21:10Things must be going fairly well down in here in bournemouth. Having finally admitted defeat that I can't spare the time and effort to do our patio at the rate the mrs wants it finished (this summer). i have been tasked with getting someone in. i started making phone call yesterday first bloke is coming round next Wednesday to quote. second bloke I called is booked out till NOVEMBER at the earliest, more like the end of the year!! he is a marshals approved contractor and had good feedback on checkatrade, and therefore providing the chat went well and the price was ok, he was going to be my first choice.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 04 Aug. 2010,21:42better to wait for the right candidate mikey
you are half way there mate,why not finish it yourself?
how many m,metres was it?
Posted by Injured on 05 Aug. 2010,00:42At least someone is busy.
I have become Brett approved in last month but am having my worst year since starting out on my own 3 years ago.
Starting to wonder if the stress is worth it or if I should bite the bullet and work for someone else again, at least I know I would have money coming in.
This has been a very hard and stressful year so far for me.:(
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 05 Aug. 2010,06:48hopefully the brett installer thing will get you some leads
I quite like brett CBP range, especially the 60mm autumn gold
PM sent but i think things are on the turn now
Posted by mickg on 05 Aug. 2010,07:16sorry to hear that Injured, if your struggling for work give me a ring I can always use an extra pair of hands for a couple of days a week and normally longer
Posted by Mikey_C on 05 Aug. 2010,07:18LLL,
I would like to wait for this chap (but there again I have no idea how much he is going to charge) but the mrs wants it finished before the second daughters christening which is going to coincide with first daughters 3rd birthday at the end of september.
can you see where i am going here.
with two children, one of which insists on getting up at 5am every morning, I AM KNACKERED! I hoped to get it done during my paternity leave but that ended up being just that, paternity leave.
the work that is left is about 6 linear meter of flag on edge + back fill with lean mix, a bit more digging out to do, sub base needs a whack, step to build, two sleepers to concrete in, then about 45m2 of some very nice random thickness Fawn beige indian sandstone to be laid in a random pattern.
sorry to things aren't going well, keep going fella it will be worth it in the end. bournemouth has always had its own micro economy which seems to bare no resemblance to the rest of the uk, i just can't work out where the money keeps coming from!
Posted by Injured on 10 Aug. 2010,18:19Got a start on a site in liverpool tomorrow with a company I subbed for last year. So hopefully that will keep me going for a bit and since had that confirmed phone hasnt stopped ringing
Gaffer has said if needs be we can work around any jobs I get so i can leave him for a few weeks and go back to site when quiet. Hopefully best of both worlds.
Posted by irishpaving on 10 Aug. 2010,19:16Good on you mate...Both worlds would be nice
Posted by bobbi o on 01 Nov. 2010,20:09brutal out there right now,has been for the last few weeks.knew it was going to be a long winter,but its difficult to remain optimistic. we've got a couple of decent jobs which will kick in january,but its pretty much survival mode till then. if i was in the fortunate position of having 0 employees,i'd just shut the doors and come back next year.
Posted by Stuarty on 01 Nov. 2010,21:33Strangely, we cant get any busier right now. The gaffer has been pricing up work for the past few weeks non stop, and just depending what gets won, hes looking to add another van and crew on. Hes also managed to sort out the backup plan, incase this is another winter like last year. At the moment, all six of us employees across the 3 vans are flat out. Im still having to do atleast 10 hours a week overtime to stay ontop of the work at the moment
Posted by rab1 on 01 Nov. 2010,21:49we`re on a 15% pay reduction with lay offs on the cards. at least someones busy
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 01 Nov. 2010,21:53i was made redundant last friday
Posted by DNgroundworks on 01 Nov. 2010,21:54Nice to hear Stuarty, things are awful for me, went for an interview last week for a civils firm they said because i dont have my cpcs cards and all the rest im not worth squatt they offerd me £7.00 p/h 35 hours a week......i declined.
So im going to have bash on, on my own for a while got bits and bats to do, just done a large flat roof on my own - never again what an awful job!! having to go back plastering aswell, that pays ok so itl have to do for now
Posted by DNgroundworks on 01 Nov. 2010,21:57Just to add, i forgot how hard graft it is workin on your own, sorta get used to having staff and goafers to do the menial jobs!
Posted by Stuarty on 01 Nov. 2010,21:58I really dont know how we are so busy, alot of the firms we compete with seem to keep having to lay off more staff. Our private work has increased but at the same time alot of our commercial works on the house builder side has decreased.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 01 Nov. 2010,23:39
sorry to hear that mate
we have 2 definite extensions after the one we are on and a couple of drives,thats a whole lot better than last year but still not as i would like
these cuts will knock the bollocks back out of the building game
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 02 Nov. 2010,19:55yes tony times are hard .olympics are paying 11 pound an hour for laying granite setts .im doing a little job for a firm up your way tony .its only lasting a cpl of weeks .good bunch of lads .you ever come across frosts ,gardening company.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 03 Nov. 2010,02:33are frosts near bedford?
if you are coming past M1 jct10 pop in for a cuppa Chris
£11/hour sounds about right for the big boys right now,basically due to the recession they are taking the p!ss out of people
we have had to trim costs (in a reasonable fashion) but paying trades between £17-22 /hr
the young fella that used to work with us is on pricework BWK now
hes getting £380/thou, so it means him and the other brickie must lay 1000 facers a day for them to earn (with the hoddie of course) £125 before tax
nigh on impossible with modern house design
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 03 Nov. 2010,18:52they are up that way m8 .got a few garden centres as well .head office is milton keynes.im in victoria for them
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 27 Dec. 2010,07:01looking ahead to 2011, I can see problems with the imminent VAT rise,the same as a lot of things it causes a last minute rush but then everything tapers off when it comes in
no one wanted to pay VAT at 15 % show me someone who wants to pay 20% of their hard earned?
we will end up like Italy where tax evasion is de rigeur and a national sport, apparently if you pay all the tax you are supposed to in italy its not worth working
also the only way is up for interest rates
they are up to 5% in china,be a matter of time for us
I will try to get a fixed rate for 5 years ,when my renewal comes up later this year (probably Miss the boat as usual)
anyway good luck for 2011
Posted by Al Jardin on 27 Dec. 2010,19:44Hsbc & abbey have good 5 yr fixed rates. 3.99% with good LTV's. They went up from 3.6 ish a few weeks ago. Expect a rise in the next few weeks.
< Fixed rate mortgages 5 yr >
Posted by bobbi o on 27 Dec. 2010,22:28The vat even before the rise, is a killer in the driveway market,the reason being the majority of contractors we're up against dont include it in their quotes.its pretty much at the stage now where if your not willing to work for cash,you'll not get the work.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 28 Dec. 2010,01:01i concur bobbi
and al i was hoping to get on first direct but have 6 months to run with my current 5 year 6 % fixed deal
Posted by Dave_L on 28 Dec. 2010,01:05You can't mention that dirty word!!!!!
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 07 Dec. 2013,11:25well after 5 years of hard slog and negative growth i feel the greenshoots are finally budding for the building industry
I know georgie boy and his chums would have us believe that its been good for 2 years but we are finally building up a decent advance order book
Had 3 calls this week for extensions to price ,which is the record since 2007 and unusual for december
I dont want to shoot myself but lads i know on site also reckon the rates are going up on every job they do now
this is for beds,whats it like in your part of the country?
Posted by GB_Groundworks on 07 Dec. 2013,11:36We are busiest ever been work booked in till April, struggling to finish all the work I have on. Commercial clients expanding and looking to the future good for us and them.
Doing a few small domestic job on the side but to be fair they're a pain, i like this commercial vibe once you get used to 30 days payment.
But everything is done right no client pushing you to cut corners or moaning at you why it's £1000 to shore up an excavation etc and we are inside during the worst of the winter.
Posted by ilovesettsonmondays on 07 Dec. 2013,11:50Starting to see rates for groundworkers between 135 and 160 a shift in the smoke last couple of months .
Posted by Tony McC on 08 Dec. 2013,10:26Still flat in NW England. Work quantity seems to be growing slowly but the rates are stubbornly resisting any attempt to make them realistic.
Posted by Dave_L on 08 Dec. 2013,18:53Still a lot of companies out there doing work for just wages, keeping rates low but our order books are buoyant and looking good for 2014. Long may it continue.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 06 Mar. 2015,00:13update
I think I can safely say the boom is back
not that that is a good thing,because we all know what follows boom
80% of what we price now we get,historically it was around 35%
everyone I know in this area is flat out busy
because the last recession robbed the industry of 5 years of apprentices there are not enough decent tradesmen to go around
of the 12 blokes that we have used regularly for the last 15 years the average age is now around 50
sadly this supply and demand factor means that all the shysters will be crawling out of their factory jobs and taxis and back into the building game (no offence to either but in the recession a lot got out of it to do those kind of jobs)
we priced a job recently in an affuent area at 45k +VAT ,another price was 43k+VAT and some twerp from north london came in at 115k +VAT
we got the job but it gets you thinking
if the guy from london had got the job he would have made around 75K profit on a 9 week build
you only need one of those a year???
anyway whats it like in your part of the country?
Posted by lemoncurd1702 on 06 Mar. 2015,07:53Tony, did you post the above yesterday, it's showing the date as 2013 and yet it's the most recent post in the craic.
Things are well on the up in south Wales, has taken a while for the ripple effect to get here. I remember though watching the bad news years back and wondered what recession, then the next year it hit.
There were some real low points the beginning of 2010 was particularly bad.
I take part in a monthly government commissioned survey and get the reports through. Looks like there is growth in all regions particularly the south west.
May it well continue.
There are still plenty of numpties around though who are doing work for beer money.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 06 Mar. 2015,14:46mark the clue is in the date
05 Mar. 2015,22:13
I love resurrecting old threads
the recession hit here in late 2008,so we had to adapt
many did not and went pop
for me personally its hard to be doing drives and patios now that the extension and conversion side of things is back full bore
still loads round here laying slabs straight on sand on mud
Posted by lemoncurd1702 on 07 Mar. 2015,00:45It was early morning, must ave still had shit in my eyes I just saw 2013. Must stop thirsty Thursdays.
Posted by sy76uk on 07 Mar. 2015,09:31That last recession was awful. I had to stop paving because we were working on 20 year old rates and we couldn't make it pay.
I pulled in 12k gross one year, decided I'd be better off with a paper round and went off to do agency work.
The agency work paid quite well but it was hard because I didn't know if i'd be working from one week to the next.
luckily the agency's looked after me well considering the lack of work in general.
I spent a year with one of my Dad's mates roofing. He helped me get started out on my own, I learned a lot about running a small business from him. He basically encouraged me to get domestic paving jobs in and helped me out with everything I needed to get started, cheap van, borrowed kit, labour, materials and kept me working on his jobs whilst I was building up.
What more can I say apart from I owe him a lot.
In April last year after a lot of hard work the business really took off and to be honest it's dragged me along kicking and screeming.
I've always been self employed but there's a big difference between being a subby and running a business.
I'm getting the hang of it now though.
How much of it is down to my hard work, the quality of the work we have been putting out and the economy picking up I don't know but things definitely seem to be better for most which can only be a good thing. long may it continue
Edit. Because my stupidly expensive tablet has got a mind of its own.
Posted by DNgroundworks on 07 Mar. 2015,22:22Busy here,
I read a quote on here by Luton a while back that read something like "i gave up on the cheap end years ago" ive followed suit. I stick with the landscape architect/RHS judge, the developer and the equestrian place and that keeps me flat out. The architect im working for has looked and surveyed 5 jobs this week.....and got them all!
The domestic side round here is saturated with contractors working for £120 a day, no margin, running round like headless bloody chickens. There must be 50 lads/firms in my local town and surrounding area all doing the same thing
Posted by Captain Concrete on 09 Mar. 2015,10:17The Boom is back soon to be followed by the biggest crash ever due in about 2018, so make hay while the sun shines and don't waste it on flash cars.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 09 Mar. 2015,21:56like you captain I have been through the 89-92 and the recent 08-12 recession and have lost count of the amount of mates who were coining and it then went skint overnight
I had 4 calls and 3 emails about jobs at the weekend
amazing what a bit of sun does
nobody seems happy when i say booked up till august
Posted by GB_Groundworks on 11 Mar. 2015,23:33
Last year I tried to be everything to everyone 8-10 guts on 3 sites I was just driving round dealing with problems not much got done and to a lower standard,
Turned down two large £100k+ tenders already this year I'm sticking to 1 job at a time, learn from last years mistakes.
Also having to Sue a guy for £5k final payment takes the shine off it when you've gone out your way for ppl.
Think I'm airing more to the commercial side now a days doing my nebosh level 5 and moving towards to Chas accreditation hopefully.
Kinda miss nice little landscaping jobs making stuff look nice
Last year was a good learning experience no one does it like you do it
Posted by bobbi o on 12 Mar. 2015,00:17In sweaty sock land, we live in a perpetual recession, so the recent ones haven't affected me. we continue to plod on.
was in a engineering/mechanic workshop the other week, an old established business that I haven't been in for years. The guy still smokes café cremes behind the counter, as he serves you.
Was saying to him that i'd been coming to him for years to get stuff fixed and he said "Aye I've been here 35 years now, but am no any further on "
Think that's the scary thing about being in business, that time passes in a flash, yet it can feel sometimes that you haven't actually achieved very much !
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 12 Mar. 2015,02:29a very poignant piece there bobbi,
I dont know about you but I work to live, rather than live to work
no towbar on a hearse
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 28 Feb. 2018,11:13nearly 3 years on from my last post here and I feel the winds of change in the economy again
inquiries have dropped dramatically since around november
architects are returning calls
good few lads I know have no work
We have around 6-7 weeks booked then a few tenders out
dont want to be a doom and gloom merchant,but feel things might be on the turn again
or it could just be the shite winter weather?
whats it like in your part of the country ?
Posted by seanandruby on 28 Feb. 2018,17:51Seems ok down sarf so far, money picked up at last. Turned round this morning ans thought
F#!* it till Monday too cold and icy
Posted by exoticpete on 28 Feb. 2018,21:20Leads still coming in but do feel the winds of change are overdue, let's face we are due another 'correction' scary thing is this time no one has any money to prop it all up, and we cannot print anymore money.
70s here we come excellent..... disco,punk,funk 4 day week power cuts, crazy paving and spam fritters not sure how the feckless are going to deal with actually working though once the welfare tap is switched off
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 28 Feb. 2018,21:41a lot of big crowds seem to be feeling the pinch,prezzo, jamie oliver,maplins it goes on
costs are rising but wages are not and that is when people get discretionary with spending
gone through 3 "corrections" now and after the 1989 one swore i would never be skint again,or forced to work for peanuts ( as I was then at times)
lets hope it doesnt come but as soon as house prices start dropping,it will come
my wife lets houses for an agency and has had hardly any inquiries this year,a lot of east europeans are going home
we shall see,fingers crossed
Posted by Tony McC on 01 Mar. 2018,12:10No one knows what's going to happen with Brexit, least of all the clueless government, and so no-one wants to risk spending their capital.
Party politics aside, the key role of *any* govt is to provide security for the population, but with there being no stated position from govt on what we can expect from Brexit, we have no security. Big businesses won't invest; small enterprises won't raise wages becuse they don't know what the labour market will be like; homeowners won't splash out on home improvements because they may well need that few quid in the 'rainy day' account if, as some predict, the cost of living is going to spiral uncontrollably upwards.
All we get is "brexit means brexit" and "it's all Europe's fault". The nation voted to jump blindly off a cliff, into the great unknown, driven by the insatiable bigotry of the right-wing press and politicians and their red bus ful of lies, compounded by the cosy presumptions and lazy blind faith of the pro-EU lot.
We, at the very least, ought to have been told just what the alternative to the EU would entail, but no one, whether they were leavers or remainers, tory, labour, lib dem or ukipper, bothered with the detail, so we end up with 12 months to go and we still don't know what's in store for us. The nation voted for what it *didn't* want, but not for what it *did* want.
The one thing all businesses require is certainty. We need to know interest rates won't sudenly shoot up, or there'll be no access to foreign workers to do the shitty jobs none of the Brits seem keen on, or we'll be facing unregulated imports from the US at prices we can't even compete with.
So, until we get told just what is going to happen - and no two cabinet members seems to be able to agree just what that is - we all play safe with our dosh, and we're in for a rocky 12 months.
It doesn't really matter whether you're a leaver or a remainer. It's the uncertainty that is the killer. Once we know just how much shit we are in, we can all begin to plan accordingly.
Posted by lemoncurd1702 on 02 Mar. 2018,02:11There's a lot with the EU that is not great. But I would be rather in than out.
Roll on another recession
Posted by Tony McC on 04 Mar. 2018,11:35There's hell of a lot wrong with the EU, but you can't change it if you're not in it, and now we face the prospect of having to largely abide by its rules and regulation yet have buggerall say in drafting those rules and regulations, all so we can fulfill the neo-liberal dream of unfettered capitalism.
Posted by dig dug dan on 05 Mar. 2018,16:01
i hate discussing this subject, but why do we have to stick to rules from them if we are not in it? who says so??
anyway, back on subject, been slow to pick up, but things are happening here. I added a fourth crusher to the fleet, and its proved worthwhile. loads of building work going on left right and centre
Posted by Tony McC on 06 Mar. 2018,10:49If you want to trade with the EU, and somewhere around half of Britain's trade is with them, then you have to meet their requirements, or they'll get whatever it is from someone else.
When you're inside the tent, you get a say on just what those requirements might be. When you're outside, it's a simply matter of comply or bugger off!
Still, good to hear things are busy enough for you. It's been sluggish on the consultancy/design side of the trade for a few months, but as of last week, it has, as bloody usual with the onset of Spring (allegedly), gone doo-sodding-lally!
It's always feast or famine in this game - it's rarely, if ever, just the right amount of work!
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 07 Mar. 2018,01:25the EU thing is a bit odd,and this probably isnt the right place but my auld fella said that they voted to join the common market,not the EU!
As usual this has been manipulated by politicians for their own ends.
it worries me greatly that we are not and have not been self sufficient in food for over 100 years
why french milk,danish pork ,new zealand lamb and canadian wheat is cheaper than ours, makes me wonder about globalisation's benefits?
As said the sun has shown its face and got a few calls,usual craic ;-)
Posted by bobbi o on 03 Dec. 2018,17:51saw this today in construction news. what a shambles.
Kier's net debt at the end of October 2018 was £624m. The board said that rights issue was needed because the risks associated with operating with such big debts had increased since the collapse of Carillion. It said that the government would not give work to firms that look like they might go bust; banks have gone shy on the construction industry; and it can no longer get away with shafting its suppliers.
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 05 Dec. 2018,23:40I worked for Kier in the 80s ( as a subbie) not sure how the big crowds can get like this?
guess a lot of it is down to low margins on big contracts
Posted by Tony McC on 16 Dec. 2018,14:20Look at what they pay to the vultures at board level!
These are not really construction firms, they are BIG businesses, all about maximising what the shareholders and board can squeeze out of the company, and bollocks to everyone else. It's highly unlikely that anyone at board level has ever held a saw, a trowel, a pipe wrench, and definitely NOT a maul! They have no empathy or real understanding of construction: they are finance people, bean counters, fecking parasites every last one of them!
The board borrows against the alleged "strength" of the company so that they can splash out on multi-million quid pay deals for themselves and dole out super-attractive dividends for the shareholders. And the banks are complicit in this because, all too often, it is they that are the bleeding shareholders. Lending money so they can grab it back as a dividend, and then get it back again as loan repayment plus make a profit via the interest charge. This is 21st century capitalism at its most incestuous.
Meanwhile, who is it that gets screwed when the company hits the infamous "cash flow problems"? The small, independent, defenceless subbie...as it always was and always will be unless the construction trade in general, and the massive outsourcing companies in particular, are completely re-organised with effective legislation covering their responsibilities to suppliers and subbies rather than board members and shareholders.
Posted by rab1 on 17 Dec. 2018,22:41If you think Keir are doing badly look at Interserve.
Posted by Dave_L on 25 Dec. 2018,10:34Luton - so how did 2018 pan out for you?? Reading your first post on this page, it all read doom and gloom - but I bet you had a half-decent year come the end? I certainly did, best year to date, with the first quarter of 2019 full, I have hope for at least another good year ahead - but like many, I am very uncertain about what Brexit has in store for us.......
Posted by lutonlagerlout on 25 Dec. 2018,13:36it was a strange year mate, last year was busy busy busy with good jobs
this year was busy till march then went very quiet,still working every day and pricing but no jam
then on october the first 4 jobs I had priced in the spring /summer all accepted within one week
so booked up on extensions till next july August
A big problem for us right now is that good lads are being siphoned off by the big firms paying fantastic money,I know brickies that are on £1100 a week day work,and that is 8-4:30 with an hour lunch, it makes it hard to get good blokes on small domestic stuff
just want to keep focusing on quality work and see where it takes us