Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Posts posted by zeb

  1. Thanks guys..

    Nick no probs with the size of the job, or my confidence....

    I was just asking how common kickbacks/introduction fees/whatever you want to call them are in France to small businesses.We just felt slightly uncomfortable as we know another client of his, and wondered if he's being ripped off in some way..

    LOL we did (gladly) receive a bottle of whisky once from a grateful plumber...but this is a different ballgame..

  2. We've been asked to quote for a large job, but the guy who has put our name forward is asking for a kickback.

    Seems a bit immoral to us as it means that we'd either have to bump up the facture to the (and his) client, or pay it out of our pockets ..so just wondered if it's normal with artisans in France? (We're talking about several hundred euros here)

    I know this probably happens all the time in big (or shady) business but must admit that this is a first for us and we're feeling a bit miffed about it...do we agree and bid for the work, or do we turn a potentially large job down.  Also, we have never asked/or expected anything from any of the many artisans we've introduced to any of our clients. I'm sure someone is going to tell us that it's the norm and that we're mugs....

    ...and yes, we need the work!

    I look forward to your comments.

  3. I really don't understand why you are getting a devis for the repairs when it should be rectified under the warranty.....that is what your insurance is for. OH is an artisan and, at great expense to us, has the obligatoire10 year insurance on his works. If any of his clents have a major problem with his work (and if this does happen he'd go and fix it immediately... but some don't) they would ask their own house insurance company to get the faults rectified through our assurance decenalle.

    Send letters á recommande immediately to the roofers and the architect stating this is your intention if they do not fix the problem within 2 weeks. Talk to your insurance company and tell them that this is the route you have taken, and ask them to send an expert round to assess the problem. Do not involve any other artisans otherwise the insurance will be null and void.

  4. Ladoix - we do likewise; devis and factures in French for French speakers, and usually in English for English speakers (but with main works now added in French in parentheses for the benefit of our accountant).

    Polly, everything is sent on-line to our clients if they use the internet, but hard copies are sent to the accountant.

    Dennis, I'm amazed that your builder has the cheek to ask you to do the translation!

  5. I think many folks just live the same way that they've always lived and think nothing of it, and they are very very careful with their money.

    We have some elderly farming neighbours who dress and live in a similar manner to Dave's neighbours, and work on their smallholding/take hay along the road to their two cows daily. They really appear very very poor, and, when we started using the washing machine that I'd brought here with us, I offered them the fairly new machine that had come with the house. They very politely declined it saying that their daughter took their washing, and suggested that I offer it to the locataires round the corner (which I did). However, then I heard that when they retired from farming a couple of years back they had sold the tumbledown farm and land along the road for 300K and also sold their farm land to other local farmers and various plots around the village for the newbuilds. They've bought a house in Toulouse for one daughter and another house in Dax for another (they've also bought the daughters a car each over the past couple of years). ...but they still look very poor, thin and chilly, so I sometimes take cake or home-made soup over to them...and they bring me pumpkins and eggs!

    Also, when we were house hunting for a little cheap ruin many years ago, several of the old houses the agent showed us that had absolutely no mod cons, were still inhabited. We felt very rich in comparison with our 30K to play with...and quite humble.

  6. Yeah, I also know of some great builders/interior restorers (fully registered and insured for what they do) but they are in 31.

    Edit...sorry there were meant to be a few tongue in cheek icons , but I can't find them!

  7. 2010-20 seems to have disappeared...what's going on? In response to the previous post..I can't see Biorock there..

    We've had a Bionest (from the company listed) for the past 2.5 years as we didn't want a sandfilter (we didn't have room as I wanted veggie patch and pool; we also had problems with the sandfilter system at our previous hovel). Our SPANC guy was well up to speed and gave list of companies he had worked with (he wasn't allowed to recommend but did say that any he wouldn't recommend were not on the list), we chose one, the guys met up here to discuss. We got the devis (7800 included 1200 for Netflo pump as our garden is uphill) which was cheaper than the normal fosse installation with sandfilter, and the job was done in three days ... they also leveled garden and for a bit extra did some more digging for the pool.

    We're happy with the Bionest and the occasional problems we've had (the aerator pump failed once) have been dealt with swiftly and efficiently through our 70 euros per annum contract with no extra charges. I'd have one installed again. But you have to have some sort of outlet or recuperator for the drainage (we have a ditch) which is clean and non smelly. A recuperator would be ideal for garden watering, loo flushing...but we have no room. Our electricity bills haven't risen noticably - still around 90-120 euros bi monthly for a house with all mod cons and some electric heating.

  8. Jan, whereabouts in France is your property?

    Our buyers (English) employed a translater in France (in Charente) to oversee the whole process as our/and their Notaire only spoke French. From what they said they were very happy with her; she oversaw the signing of the compromis, translated all the documents for them including the diagnostics inspections (you'll have to arrange for these to be done), went with them to the Acte de Vente signings and then sorted out getting planning permissions and artisans for the extension they wanted built.

    There are many folks who are registered to do the same sort of work all over France; it doesn't cost a fortune and will make the sale go much more smoothly for you and your buyers. Have a look in classifieds on www.angloinfo.com or, if you are in Charente or Vienne please pm me and I can provide details of translation services/hand-holders for you.
  9. Hi, it may help to know whether the houses are going to rented out long term or are you planning holiday lets; if long term they will all need separate meters I should think, then they'll have their own bills to pay.

    If holiday lets, do you intend to control the heating (if central heating) from your house? Otherwise, install woodburners (and supply wood), and put electric heaters upstairs and in bathrooms. Then, whatever method you use, you could add a heating charge for winter lets.
  10. Yes, I can understand woodburners would be hard work for some people but I love them, and I'm not particularly young:(

    We have all our logs delivered ready cut (always have had); it costs about 5 euros more per stere but well worth it. They're delivered in the summer usually so we spend a day stacking, and luckily our woodstore is under the hanger by the back door. I use an Ikea blue bag full a day so get in two days supply at a time. Our Supra has storage underneath so that's filled and the log basket is filled. Takes 5 mins and I've never ever done it on a cold wet night! The ashpan is emptied once a week ( not much ash from woodburners) and the glass cleaned occasionally.

    We have another woodburner to install in another room that has a wide fireplace, so we are having a tall metal cage constructed to store wood next to the stove (these can also be bought, but we want a taller one).

    Hopefully, at hovel3 (future) we'll have central heating installed (we have electric heating upstairs here) and will consider a pellet boiler if there is room somewhere for the large hopper and the sacks of pellets. Has the price of pellets risen much in the last few years since they've been on the market?
  11. We were so happy with the Supra Selestat we bought new years ago, that we bought virtually the same model secondhand from an advertiser on AngloInfo when we moved here to hovel2 (look on www.supra.fr). It runs 24/7 during the winter months; chucks out 13Kw of heat; is easy to keep in at night provided you have good wood, and was relatively easy to install (although we did have to build our own chimney!). Our flue runs up to the ceiling before going into the chimney, therefore providing even more heat.

    My family in the UK have owned Jotuls for years (LOL - the coffin type) and have been really happy with them, but we just couldn't afford the size we needed in France to heat the 40 cubic metre room, so bought, for us, the next best thing.

    Don't forget that you need a good chimney liner, and all the other flues pipes and elbows you need to have it installed properly - it all mounts up. If you are fiscally resident in France there are still good tax credits available if the stove fits the criteria (and most do) and if it's supplied and installed by a specialist. For an expensive stove like Jotul this is well worth the money but for a little cheapy that may not be the case.

    Our ramoneur fits woodburners - most do, and Castorama probably has a stove fitting service so it's worth checking with them.
  12. Most folks consume more electricity during the winter so would it not be easier (and EDF do it for free) to have your tariff upgraded? The standing charge is more but it saves the worry, and in your case venturing outside, of the electricty tripping out.
  13. Just to say that I'd never buy bathroom stuff from BricoDept ever again. At our previous hovel our French plumber refused to fit Mr Bricolage stuff; it all came from a plumbers merchants and was super quality (and quite pricey) and we never had any problems with any of it.

    But, this time....at hovel2...we bought two WCs from BricoDepot, the best ones we could find there, and in both cases the mechanisms broke after a couple of months. Our basin came from Ikea in Toulouse and the plug thingy mechanism broke quite soon after fitting; and our izzy whizzy shower cabin came from Mr Bricolage and was an absolute nightmare to put together and plumb in.

    So....in future I'll be trusting my plumber.
  14. If it's any help we had a bionest fosse installed, as 1) we'd had problems with a collapsing sand filter at the last property and didn't want to go down the same route again, 2) although the garden is a good size (around 750 sq mtrs) at the back of the property, we wanted space for lawn, veggie patch and a future sunken swimming pool.

    The existing holding tank obviously had to be updated when we purchased the place so we called in the SPANC guy, discussed our situation and asked if there was an alternative to the sand filter soak away. We also asked him to recommend a local installation guy which he couldn't/wouldn't but gave us a list of firms he had worked with. One of the firms came out to inspect the site and also discuss the options with the SPANC guy, and they came up with the twin bionest tanks, which we had installed (the bill was nearly 1k cheaper than the sandfilter system). The only initial problem for us is that they are meant to be eco friendly, but the air is pumped round 24/7 by a mini generator. One year on, it is functioning fine with no noticeable hike in leccy costs, and has allowed us the space to do as we please with the garden.


    Look at www.bionest.ca  : a Canadien system, available in France. 


  • Create New...