We were in the office on Friday afternoon and my colleague Paul remarked in passing that he had had an email from a group called Rated People instructing him to declutter his house. Decluttering is, of course, always a fine thing to do. But I had never heard of Rated People and wasn't sure why they were sending out instructions to Paul by email.
It turns out that Rated People is a website where you can put in details of household jobs that you want done and a small number of tradespeople will contact you and give you quotes for the work. It looked a reasonable site, Paul has used it himself and the reviews I could find on the internet seemed ok. And we have a number of things that we want done and in some cases have absolutely no idea how much it would cost.
I decided to give it a go, starting with something quite small but which really did need doing before the winter sets in. The guttering had come adrift from the fascia board and whenever it rained water would cascade down our beautifully re-painted front wall. This was making the paint look quite dirty but it was also making the front wall quite damp.
So I put my job in, stressing that we were only at the planning and budgeting stage. About fifteen minutes later my phone rang and it was a cheery bloke saying that he could come around on Saturday morning and give us a quote.
Excellent. I withdrew my job from Rated People. The tradespeople have to pay to see the full details of the job and I didn't want people paying unnecessarily, because if the quote was good and the people looked OK, we would give the work to them. When we had saved up.
So at 8:45 on Saturday morning in lobbed two general tradespeople and an apprentice roofer. They shimmied up and down their ladders. About £250. This didn't seem like a lot to us, so we told them to go ahead.
Alas. Once they had taken off the guttering and the perished fascia board it became clear that we were missing the drip trays that channel the water from the roof into the guttering. And they were very, very unhappy about the rendering on our chimney, which was pulling away. We knew that the render was going to fall off one day, but it's been like that for a year or two so we weren't expecting it to drop on our heads immediately. But the tradies were unhappy.
£530 and 3 hours later we had no render on the chimney, we did have drip trays in the roof, we had a lovely new plastic fascia board and we had guttering attached to it.
It rained yesterday - and no water cascaded down the front of the house! We might now be completely out of money but I do think it was money well spent. And I suppose we didn't really want the render to fall off the chimney and take out the postman!
We went into Sheffield on Sunday to meet Taffa, Gaz, Cally and some of their friends for lunch in The Rutland. Very, very fortunately, it was Tabitha and Gareth's turn to pay. If it had been our turn it would have been chip butties and tap water all round :D As it was we all had roast beef and wine or beer, except for Cally who had a fish finger sandwich, chips and juice!!!
We've been pondering the de-rendered chimney and have decided to call the cheery tradies back in the spring. We thought we might have it opened up again (someone has capped it so it can't be used for anything at all) and re-rendered. Then we thought we might have the fireplace opened up again. We might even put a pretty faux-Victorian fire place in it. And now that we have found Rated People we thought we might have the side of the house painted as well, so it looks as pretty as the front of the house.
After, of course, we have done some hard saving up. Not something that we are especially good at :-D