Top Ten Best Paid Builders' Jobs

Top 10 Best Paying Jobs From a Builder’s Point of View

diy problems

What we take into account – remember, I’m a builder – is a ranking system that a builder knows innately, a way of pricing that is as opportunistic as it is calculated. These jobs need to fulfill the following criteria:
A.    You can’t do them yourself – not even in your wildest DIY dreams with a guest appearance from Barry Bucknall.

B.    Even if you could do them, you wouldn’t want to because; you are scared of heights, heavy lifting, explosions and irate wives who hate you even more than usual when you make a monstrous DIY mess up of the job she’s wanted doing since Len Fairclough was in Corrie, you don’t like getting messy, you earn so much dosh that your wife organizes the job and you’ll never know it’s been done (or needed doing in the first place).

C.   You want it doing immediately – it’s mid January and you’ve got no hot water and heating is a good reason to accept spending wads of cash on a plumber’s services.

D.   The Builder really doesn’t want the job because he’d rather go to his villa in Menorca, so he puts in a ludicrously high price – which you accept because he was the only one who could be bothered to send a quote in.


Top Ten Most Profitable Building Jobs

1. Roofing.

And I mean any kind of roofing! A re-roof, or just popping a slate back in at eaves level: it’s all dangerous, and this means that nobody will ever see what really needs doing, or how they do it – if at all they actually do anything!

Tip - ask for photos. Before and after. Everyone’s got a camera on their phone nowadays, so get some indication of what needs doing without defying the Laws of Gravity.


2. Plumbing/Gas fitters Jobs

gas fitters and plumbing
These jobs include everything from a new tap washer to the Boiler Change. These plumbers have done courses – or so you believe. Well here’s a point.

YOU NEED NO QUALIFICATION WHATSOEVER TO BE A PLUMBER! It’s only Gas Fitters who need to be Gas Safe registered (formerly CORGI) or OFTEC for oil fired boilers. Plumbers
do charge an arm and a leg because you need the work doing there and then in most cases. But if it can wait:

Tip - always get a second and third opinion on larger jobs. INSIST on seeing Gas Safe registration for gas work and always get the relevant certification when the job is completed.

3. Window replacement

window replacement
Replacing windows is just so easy it’s ridiculous. Get a labourer on £50 a day. Get him to rip the old window out. Stick the new one in (4-6 screws and some silicone) and, hey presto – lots of cash!

Tip - try to source the windows yourself and employ a builder/carpenter on a day rate.

4. Electrics

Well, where do I start? Electric shocks, scare stories? Believe it or not THEY ARE ALL TRUE! Apart from gas fitting, this is the one area your really shouldn’t mess with.

It’s not just the fact that you’ll potentially get a whack from the mains that will make Joe Frazier’s left hook feel like a tickle from Ken Dodd’s feather duster, but you are more than likely to mess up and leave Joe Frazier’s left hook (and then some) waiting for the next unfortunate soul (or child) who was at the back of the queue when God was dishing out good fortune.

No, leave well alone and get a professional in. Consider the money well spent.

Tip – Love your family and love your life and don’t look at your bank balance unless absolutely necessary!


5. MDF cupboards!

mdf unit
Most chippie’s think they can charge extra because the customer uses the term MDF, like they might use VSOP when ordering a posh brandy, and, in both cases, you always pay extra when you are au fait with the truncated capitalization of a product – without knowing what you’re really talking about. Look at the EEC or the IMF.

Working with MDF is easy for a chippie it is a very cheap material - £18.00 for a huge sheet (but they won’t tell you that). Usually you want cupboards either side of a fireplace, which immediately makes this work “bespoke” – but only to you! He does them week-in-week-out, EXACTLY the same.

The design rarely changes (base unit with doors to hide the Freeview box you’ll tell the chippie you never watch, and a shelving arrangement for your Camus, Nietsche and Soldier-something-a nit-skin that you say you read in the original.

He’ll add £200 to the total merely based solely on your choice of reading material you intend to display on the shelves!

Tip - It is simple work (to a good carpenter) and you would be best advised to pay a chippie on a decent day rate and to pay for the materials as he buys them.

Flaunt a few Jilly Cooper novels for a decent discount. Nothing wrong with Jilly Cooper, by the way.


6. New Kitchens

The price of fitting pales into comparison when compared to the actual price of the kitchen itself. You’ve just spent Saturday afternoon at “Posh ‘n’ Rip Off Kitchens” while young Marcus is at rugby and Rowena is mastering her canter at the stables. The kitchen salesman, who is attired like a dressed-down Conservative MP, thinks you won’t baulk at the £20,000 price tag for a new kitchen, because he gave you some Douwe and Egberts filter coffee and some chocolate Hob Nobs.

Bear this in mind before you run the Amex through the machine: the units he sold you are more than likely the same as the ones in B&Wickesbase, as are the taps and sinks. Yet the B&Wickesbase salesman is on 35p over minimum wage and will still be polite to you as well as planning the kitchen! No coffee though. There's a vending machine near the lifts.

Tip – Get a trusted builder/carpenter in to consider buying cheap base and wall units (carcasses) and add posh doors, fittings and worktops (that you source on the internet) for over HALF the price of the expensive kitchen shop.

7. Guttering

Would you get up there and do it? At ground level, it’s about as easy as clipping young Marcus’s Hornby train tracks together. But now try doing it off a springy ladder,15 feet up, reaching blindly above your head (you can’t rest the latter on the gutter you are removing/replacing, can you?), while recovering from a monstrous hangover from last night’s pub darts match. Well would you? Thought not.

That's why he charges a lot. He doesn't want to either, but the money forces him to do it. I'm a builder, get me out of here!

Tip – Get the lot replaced in on go so that the company has to offer a guarantee (nobody can give a guarantee for a repair) and keep the guarantee certificate under one of the legs of your exercise bike as it’s unlikely to be disturbed for YET ANOTHER 10 years.


8. Plastering

Well it is the modern day equivalent of witchcraft, isn’t it? A bag of dusty stuff, becomes pink sloppy stuff in a bucket which is then transmogrified into a smooth glass-like finish on your walls in under two hours – it’s nigh on mystical!

But to save face, don’t ask the plasterer if you can leave it unpainted and just varnish it – you will, you know once you’ve run your hand up and down the Teflon-like finish. You’ll come over all unecessary! He’s heard it all before (like every day).

Tip - Check out our Plastering guide, get the price right and then pay up the second he’s slammed his van door shut for the day. It’ll make you happy.


9 Fencing

Fencing, easy, fast, no risk, nothing to ruin (except for your prize azaleas and that young Rowan tree you’ve been cultivating for the past nine years that they’ll chop down because it’s in their way) no potential leaks, no potential electric shocks. In culinary terms, it’s about as difficult as preparing cold baked beans.

The thing is that fencers can get away with it. All dirty, flat bed lorries and muddy boots; they are to finesse what a flying hammer is to subtlety. Their sole aim is to invade the garden en masse in an effort to get in and out as fast as possible, thus maximizing their earning potential. And who can blame them!

Tip – The etiquette is to put the fence up “good side out” ie your neighbour gets the best side of the fence (this is Britain after all – we’re so polite it almost hurts), so don’t tell the fencer otherwise. DON’T ask them to break with decorum and do the job the other way round.

The next thing they’ll know, you’ll be asking them not to ruin your hallway carpet without a by-you-leave. Whatever next!


10. Change a WC seat in a student house

dirty toilet seat
Changing a WC. Unpleasant, demeaning, this task makes you want to “do a Reggie Perrin” and walk naked into the sea. I’ve known blokes charge £250.00 for ten minutes work and he wasn’t a divorce lawyer.

The reason for this is multifold - the landlord is paying (he's too busy with his girlfriend at his holiday villa in Cyprus); the students sure as heck won't do it – (they'll be too busy making a hideous mess in the kitchen as they attempt to satiate their laziness driven hunger); Paul Daniels is just and act: this means things won’t just happen by magic.

There's another simple reason why the price will go up. A working man likes a cuppa; yet if the receptical involved in that process has: (a) Only been washed once by a student properly in the past eight months (b) the inside of the cup contains enough tannin to warrant  a cold chisel to remove it - the man doing the job will have to go without. And he won’t like that. Cue an extra £50. Or maybe a ton. That, plus the call out, plus having to listen to a lanky-haired youth call him ‘dude’ incessantly makes the £150.00 seem quite reasonable.

Tip: Don’t bother fixing it. Wait for the students all to pass their degrees and leave, (virtually overnight they’ll go from good-for-nothing wastrels to trainee bank managers and executives at a stroke, with about as much rebellion in their bodies as sheep with confidence issues). The landlord will move to Cyprus with the girlfriend and then sell the house in its current state for about tuppence. It’ll probably all work out cheaper – apart from the divorce lawyer costs when his wife finds out.

Good luck
The Building Sheriff.

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A-Z of Job Pricing

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