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Tough times for builders

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Contractors must not commit suicide by under-quoting

This week I thought I would write about 101 other uses for sandpaper but all the jokes are worn out by now, and to be honest I often think we are all too keen to kick a man when he is down.

So let’s not be mean and rub it in.

However, the whole saga around the cricket has made me think about our industry and one of the main reasons I had for starting the column over seven years ago.

I was standing in a golf changing-room and overheard two “gentlemen” boasting about how they were ripping off their builder because they were “cleverer” than him.

This is really a hard time of the year for builders as we have five paid public holidays virtually within a month.

This is a whole week without turnover and a week’s wages to find in a market which in all honesty is reeling from knock-out blows being delivered by the general state of the economy and the water crisis.

I have never seen the domestic market so quiet as everyone appears to be hanging on to their last cent as they do not know what is around the next corner.

It is not easy being a builder at the moment as to stay in business you can’t afford to slip up anywhere; some contractors are prepared to work at cost or even below cost to try and keep going. This is, of course, a recipe for disaster, both for contractor and client.

So an appeal to both sides of the fence this week. Clients beware of prices that are ridiculously low, because there is only going to be one loser and that is you.

And to the contractors, don’t commit suicide by under-quoting, I know how desperate the situation is, but we have all seen the results of trying to take the shine off the ball.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB:

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