What do all these words have in common?

I’ll tell you: they make the sellers bump up the price of items and services unnecessarily!

I’ve seen it this week in the local shopping centre.

We’re a few days before Christmas and shoppers were falling over themselves to buy, in short, utter tat. Christmas presents items such as soap sets, make up, aftershaves, tacky toys, novelty gifts etc.

It’s always baffled me why the price of these goods massively increases just because the manufacturers have boxed them up in jazzy snazzy festive boxes aimed for the Christmas market.

Look at the actual products inside people: you’re telling me it’s worth the bumped-up value just because it’s in a nice glittery box?!

Ditto New Year’s Eve – where many pubs, free for 364 days of the year, now sell you tickets on the door just to let you in to buy their beverages – what’s all that about?!

And as for the word ‘wedding’ – ooof, it’s a free reign licence to sting you!

But my gripe today is when contractors bump up the price of a job just because they hear the word LANDLORD.

There is some bizarre assumption by the world as a whole that most landlords are super rich, greedy money-grabbing fatcats.

I am not most landlords.

And although I acknowledge that there are some people in property world exactly like that, in my experience, most of the property landlords I know locally are just hard working people doing their best to provide a service, and they’re not super-wealthy.

Even though we’d like to be!!

But sadly, this urban myth remains prevalent amongst contractors, who persist in giving you ridiculous prices for services, just because they know you’re a landlord.

I have this running joke, when my friends and other people say “Oh, you must be rich, you’ve got all these houses!”

To which I reply “I’m not rich, BECAUSE I’ve got all these houses!”

Boilers don’t fix themselves you know! All maintenance and repairs works must be paid for – and sadly the Maintenance Monster rears its head in rental properties way too often for my liking!

Now when I talk about fair prices or fleecing, this is not about me being super tight, or mean, or pennypinching (oh ok, I am a bit, I’m Yorkshire, but we all are up here!)

I’m not saying that contractors aren’t worth their price.

Some definitely are – and they’ll know I appreciate their good work and fair fees because I’m loyal; if they look after me, I’ll use their services again and again.

Several times recently I have had discussions with contractors, where they were nice guys, I liked them and wanted to give them the business – but then they went and gave me a stupid quote.

And then things get awkward when you have to tell them: ‘OWWWW MUCH?!?! That’s double what I’ve ever paid before, sorry, but you’re not getting the job.

I know people still need to make a profit, and they’ve got their own business to run and their own families to feed.

I get that.

But I also know what things are worth, because of my experience and prices I’ve paid for things before.

Yes, I might be a landlord, but I’m not a gullible moron who wants to set fire to my money just because you’re greedy.

So yes, sadly, I do find it difficult to undergo any refurbishment work from fair people for a fair price.

Add into the mix that I’m female and the amount of piss-taking pricing and patronising doubles.

(Don’t believe me? Ask any other female property investor!)

I just want a good job done by good guys in a decent timescale for a fair price – without being ripped off – is that too much to ask?!!

It’s sheep that follow someone blindly, and end up getting fleeced – so you need a fair price, not a fleecing.

Here’s a couple of tips when looking for contractors to do work:

  1. Find some local firms who provide the service you need. Meeting them in person is good, such as at networking meetings, or ask for referrals from people you know who have used their services.
  2. Check them out online, look at their social media, examples of work, testimonials.
  3. Arrange for each of your shortlisted contractors to come and do a site visit. Not all at the same time though!

Ps – some of these contractors won’t even turn up.

I’m not joking…

If they don’t even ring you to explain with a genuine excuse for their absence, remove them from your list

4.Bear in mind their attitude, personality and demeanour on the site visit.

If you hate them automatically, your gut instinct is giving you a stark warning to avoid avoid avoid!

Like the recent patronising guy who kept calling me ‘flower’… Imagine the drama I’d have had getting him to do what I needed without a load of hassle and fuss?!

5. Await quotes. This can be anything from 2 hours to never.

Yes really. Some people you will never hear from again.

I’m still waiting for a quote from a guy 18 months ago who spent two hours travelling and pricing up a job!

(Makes interesting fun seeing him dance about to avoid me when he attends the same networking meeting…

…hey, maybe he just decided he hates me, and that’s ok too!)

6. Assess all the quotes for the best. This might not necessarily be the cheapest.

Stupid quotes can also be removed at this point.

In my head, that’s basically the contractor saying: “I don’t like you, I don’t want to work with you, so I’m going to rip you off”. So that’s those guys doing you a favour, they’ve heard the word LANDLORD and those pounds signs start flashing in their eyes. Not today, and not with me, my friend!

7. Pick your favourite contractor with their fair quote.

Book them in for the job. Ideally, it’s someone you know, like and trust.

8. Let them do the job!

Oversee their work, address any queries that arise, but no need to micromanage. They’re competent experts, not schoolkid apprentices.

9. I’m going to add this in, as it seems to be a rising problem for contractors…

Once they’ve done their job to a great standard – pay them!!! There’s been a horrendous rise lately in service providers not being paid for the work they’ve done, or people withholding their payment for ages – and that’s simply not fair.

If they’ve done you a great job, delivered what you asked, why would you not pay them immediately?

And if you can’t afford to do that, then you shouldn’t be booking them in for work until you can.


10. Appreciate their efforts. Make sure they know you’re thankful for their super work. Leave them online testimonials. Refer them to other people you know. Use their services over and over again.

So there we have it… we all love a fair price, but we hate a fleecing!

And yes, for the record, I am a Libra starsign – the sign of the justice scales, of fairness and equality – so woe betide anyone who tries to upset that balance!

Have a super Christmas and a very happy new year.

Kellyann x x x

Remember: if you behave like a sheep, you’ll get fleeced!

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