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Artisans wanted Agen area


Emma C
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Erm..If I had dodgy or dangerous electrics Kathie I know for a fact I could have somebody out here tommorow. I wouldn't have to fly out a Brit to do the job for me.

I'm afraid that the attitude that you and Chief display are not very understanding of life here, we personally have gone to alot of time and effort to make ourselves known, we simply don't have a problem with getting anything sorted, we have the contacts and we have the language. You clearly have problems Kathie...go figgure? (forgive me that one Dick!)

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But I'm not french and don't live in France - so why do I have to behave 'french'.  I have the 'contacts' - the electrician we are waiting for lives in the village but (like the other local trades people) he doesn't want to do the work for another six months - which is no use to me.  In any case we're all in the EU now so no barriers to trade / movement and no reason why I can't emply a non french tradesman - the local french artisans had first option and couldn't deliver - so tough.

Kathie

As an aside it's my french neighbour (who has lived in the village all her life) who has been chasing on our behalf with no joy - oh and I also speak french...

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It all becomes a bit clearer Kathie....without a doubt the Artisans in your area are just too stacked out to bother about a second home owner who is trying to call the shots from afar. They couldn't give a stuff how loud you shout or how fat your chequebook is...are you getting the picture by now?

>In any case we're all in the EU now so no barriers to trade / movement and no reason why I can't emply a non french tradesman - the local french artisans had first option and couldn't deliver - so tough.<

Further demonstration of your ignorance on the subject Kathie, I'm hoping Val2 might feel the need to kick in here?

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[quote user="hastobe"][quote user="Chris Head"]

They couldn't give a stuff how loud you shout or how fat your chequebook is...are you getting the picture by now?

[/quote]

That you are rude and ignorant? - yes load and clear.

Kathie
[/quote]

No Kathie, just too many years experience of the customer who calls the shots. It's nice to be in the position where I can walk away from folk like you now[:D]

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[quote user="Meg and Mog"]It is definitely a different culture out here, not just with artisans, you can't just expect things to happen just because you have the money to wave about.

The customer is not always right!

[/quote]

Why is there an immediate change in attitude as soon as someone mentions its a second home?  A presumption of 'must be loaded', second class 'citizen', only a second home owner??  It's not a case of whether the customer is right or wrong - I need the work doing within a reasonably prompt timescale for perfectly legitimate reasons and the local french artisans clearly don't want the work.  I have very well qualified friends in the trade who have said they are more than happy to do it for bed and board.... so what is the problem??? 

The point chief raises (and I have endorsed) is a valid one - if you need to work to a tight timescale in France then you will be very, very lucky if you can get French artisans to oblige.  So the choice is simple - either wait or get someone else to do it (i.e. not a local french artisan).  We are choosing the latter option.  Fortunately we have a local (ex -Brit) builder doing the bulk of the work (and he has been pretty good with timing so far) so it has only been the electrics / external paintwork where we have had issues.  Ironically the local (ex-Brit builder) had quoted for the electrical work but we chose not to go with him because we wanted to employ the local french artisans who lived in our commune!!!!

Kathie

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Hastobe, my comments were being general and nothing to do with the fact it's your second home! It works the same for everyone out here, i was just stating the difference in culture. Chill!!

As far as tradesmen are concerned i always get recommendations from our neighbour and haven't been disappointed.

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[quote user="Russethouse"]I'm not sure the case is always so simple, I just think its human nature to put off the job from the folk that are not actually present and do the job of the person who is there and keeps nagging you.[/quote]

Suitably diplomatic but not everyday practice Gay!

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Having just read bits and pieces of this thread, its very boring by the way and don't all shout at me at once, I think you Chris and Hastobe are generalising French artisans.  Unless you both have huge experiance in using the local artisans, versus English one's then how can you have formed such strong opinions.  I'm confidant everyone is different, and I get fed up with folk being pigeon holed. 

Dotty

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Generalising again, but what many people are describing with French artisans mirrors my experience with UK builders (except for having to wait months/years). Over the past 20 years and in 4 different areas I've found that perhaps 50% of enquiries lead to people coming round to quote and of those, maybe a third bother to send an estimate. So if you ring up 6 people, you're likely to get 1 quote, 2 if you're lucky. All this is on top of people not answering phone calls, not replying to messages, turning up on the wrong day and leaving a job unfinished to move on to other work.

Perhaps I've been unlucky and I apologise to all you organised, punctual and reliable builders out there. I just think that builders are a law unto themselves in whichever country!

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For me, one consideration regarding bringing over UK based electricians is how well they know how things are done in France (not talking about the 2 year delay before starting, etc.). Rather that UK and French electrics are quite different. If safety, resale value, liability, insurance cover, etc. is your important it is important that the UK electrician knows the French wiring regs and uses only French materials (or NF marked, French approved, etc. materials).

If one has somebody in the UK who "fancies a break in France", there is a risk that his/her attitude might be "electricity is electricity so it cannot be difficult".

I cannot speak about specific UK based people as I have no experience of them. Clearly, how successful it would be bringing over a UK electrician would depend on who it is and the risk depending on how well you know the person and their capabilities.

I'm sure there are UK based electricians who have worked in France before and know the regs inside out (or at least the regs as of when they last worked in France). I'm sure there are electricians who are aware enough of the differences to investigate and learn. I am also sure there are electricians who believe that, as we are in the EU, square pin 13A sockets are fine and electrics is electrics and voltages are the same (ish), etc.

(I'm ignoring 10 year guarantee issues here)

Ian

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You've written exactly what I was thinking. Surely only electricians registered in France can know the regulations from the consuel, and you'll need a cert of conformity surely if your house has been rewired...and the 10 year guarantee thing is very interesting for all those who are thinking of using non french registered workers and black workers too in any trade! Nice post Ian, Lisa
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I may have misunderstood this so feel free to correct me but I didn't think Kathie specifically said she was importing British labour, just that the person doing the work was British ?

Isn't the house insurance an issue when it comes to things like electrics, surely you still have to have it checked by the right authorities ?

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I was thinking in general terms re: my comments about bringing in people from the UK. From one perspective, I would have thought most local artisans who have a decent reputation would be pretty well booked up. Of course there will be exceptions (e.g. people who have recently moved to the area and are still establishing themselves and their reputations). I would not expect nationality to have a massive impact other than British being more likely to be in the "recent movers" category and still be establishing their reputation - no British artisans around me. It is something some people do (bring over builders from the UK). I know of one person who did and I remember some time ago there was one of these "living and moving to France programs where the presenter had this Brit builder who came over for the summer to renovate some outbuilding (I saw some of the programs but not that many).

I have always put the delays down to the "nature of the game". The fact that it is difficult to start a business and expensive to run one and employ people tends to discourage people from setting-up or expanding even though there may be the work available. Where things are urgent then artisans seem to arrive very promptly and sort things out - which is bound to have a knock-on effect with schedules for other works. For example, in the UK I believe that blocked drains are normally dealt with by specialist call-out companies. However, around me it is plumbers who sort them out. Thus when a plumber recently spent an unscheduled afternoon unblocking a drain for me (having been called at lunchtime), of course that unscheduled afternoon will have a knock-on impact on his other work. I think that margins are low enough that to build in slippage to allow for the possibility of unknown emergencies would be expensive.

However, it was just my thoughts as I'm not an artisan so I am just trying to see things from the perspective of one.

Ian

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Hugh

If you are referring to your own order book I would like to know why after a number of emails sent to you via your website, you have not answered my request for a devis???  I gave up after the last one was ignored in which I wrote should I assume that your lack or response indicates a lack of interest in my project?? 

Any one else interested in an extension project on the Dordogne/Charente border please pm me, again I want someone to start in March/April 2007 if possible.

 

 

 

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Superb post Robin...I agree 110%.

I listen alot, and I mean alot, to people older than myself who have more experience of life than I do.

To cut a long story very short....I've had many varied and in depth conversations with retired people...I've consistently heard the same message from them, 'I wish I had done what you are doing when I had the chance to do it'. I'm doing it now because I want to do what I want to do and work for who I want to, that's not being arrogant it's just forcing oneself forward and finding folk who want the same passion put into their project as I want to give. The risks involved with that mindset and having to earn a living are more than many would take, the alternative is to be banging out stuff that doesn't matter for people who are too stressed to care about the work one puts in.

We appear to have the same workshop schedules Robin! What's the point in working if you don't want to? That's being untruthful to oneself and to the client, much better to work naturally and be effective 100% of the time than work too juch and be effective 50% of the time!

You've alluded to what I want to talk about Robin...but it was more about the content of what we do and how business has changed having changed one's mindset.

I'll get around to it!

Good post Robin.

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A builders lot is not a happy one. In France the high operating costs mean than builders have to have a number of contracts on the go at the same time, into the mix you throw a few English clients who all have different expectations of their chosen builder, some think the work should take very little time and that the more they are paying the quicker it should be done, some are absent clients, some are breathing down your neck, some are good payers, some are bad, some change their minds every other day. At the end of the day, they all expect their job to be number one priority. Chris Head puts a brave face on it and says that the Artisan just needs to be in control of his business but with all the variables listed above this is virtually impossible. Arguing the toss on here is like banging your head against a brick wall as there is a strong lobby in favour of the clients and the buillders just sound like a bunch of whinging ninnies. I think the builders should just put up and shut up for the sake of their own sanity. As for me, well I got so fed up with it all, I just gave up.
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Heath, I'm really sorry to hear that, I completely understand the frustrations you must have dealt with.

It's not a brave face Heath, I'm in this life to live my life, I've had the stress and done all that crap and now I won't have it. I work to live nowadays, but profesionally I am still very thirsty and ambititious. Life is really very exciting now Heath and not a burden, I value my clients and the work they've entrusted me with, I haven't felt this way for more than a decade....but like I say, we took the risk.

I really hope you've found something that is less hassle for you Heath, I'm not a builder but I can imagine the frustrations that might be involved...the builders I come across tend to be rather stressed out, perhaps fate dealt you a good hand?

Good luck Heath.

 

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Oh you must be so proud of your son Robin, I hope he goes far...so he's got the taste of how a sharp chisel slices through wood eh? It's all downhill for him  from now on!

My sister-in-law studied fine art for seven years and came out with a first in carving and guilding...her work is just breathtaking, does she earn great money? Nope! My father-in-law finished his education aged 35, having gained degrees from Oxford and Cambridge in history and philosophy and then decided to become an architect...he's also a wonderful artist, between the two of them I've learned enormous amounts.

Do the public think we're stupid Robin? Yeah probably, but the one in a thousand that we connect with get our best...the rest go to Bricodepot and Ikea and shout from the hilltops about the quality of their 'original' renovation project...oh the ruination I've seen whilst still trying to be polite and keep a straight face!

I'm not joining anyone, my head is very firmly down and charging forward...ain't life great!

 

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