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Working out artisan's costs for work


Tony F Dordogne
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Really directed towards Val 2 and other people in the building trade I think.

We've just had a piece of work done where we had the devis etc and when we spoke to the guy concerned he said 4/5 days work, 'a week', indicating there was at least four, probably five days work involved.

It actually took three days, work done is first class but I'm not sure whether we paid for 5 days work or for the job.

It's not the first time this has happened, we had something similar last year when we had some trees felled, again a great job, supposed to take a week but only took three days.

I don't mind paying for a good job but I do mind paying over the odds, especially when it's not cheap having the work done.  What's the usual way of costing jobs in France, by the job or by the hour?  I suppose different people do it different ways, I'm just trying to get an idea of what's what.

Although it's probably not pertinent, both artisans were Brits.

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If they were Brit and you are Brit you both should have come to the agreement whether you pay the price for the job or day work.  I would go for the price of the job.   Too much tea drinking, hot cross bun eating (ooops sorry about that) and nattering goes on with day work for my liking
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What's the usual way of costing jobs in France, by the job or by the hour? 

Pricing is by agreement with the customer, if its a small job then an hourly rate might be appropriate. But to be honest most people want to know how much the job will be in advance so most work is priced for the job, and more especially if it is a big job an hourly rate doesnt work well for either party.

In your case, if the builder quoted a daily rate and said it would be 4 or 5 days and it only took 3 then I guess he should have billed 3 days, if the devis just gives a price for the job, then thats the price.

 

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I reckon you paid for the job. If something had not gone quite so quickly and it had taken longer, then I think that your bill would have been exactly the same. Also, a job is more than just the work done, there are the materials to order and collect  etc etc and sometimes, well with the odd thing we have had done, some preparation has been done prior to getting on site.

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Depends on the size of the job involved. Most of our work is large and quite often ongoing after the original devis and has to be priced to include materials and labour together as you cannot say how long a particular job like roofing is going to take especially in the winter and again there are so many factors like deliveries to site,waiting time for ordered items and special menuiserie to arrive at the merchants etc which can in fact, lay you off that particular site for a while. What I can say is that nine times out of ten we usually lose out somewhere along the line due to the nature of the beast but for a simple job we can usually give an hourly rate per worker. A lot of people don't realise that in France you have further to go to source your materials especially when working in the sticks,we are bound by working hours and in general materials and labour charges are more expensive than the UK because the social charges have to also be factored into the devis as well. The guideline currently for a properly registered artisan is a minimum hourly rate of 30€ HT and upwards from that to take charges into account. Labourers are a bit less, around the 22-25€/hour mark.

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something wrong with this forum as I posted a reply to this thread earlier and its not on here now.Found the same thing in another section and when I replied again,the original was there....just testing really to see what happens!
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Val, Thanks for your considered reply about how the system works and what employment costs are involved, much appreciated, now I understand better which was the object of the question.

Katie, I'm not penny pinching at all, far from it - you don't know me so perhaps you should refrain from making comments about me.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, as others have pointed out if you were happy with the price and the work done then it doesn't matter whether it took 5 days or 3. Quite often with building work you never know what you are going to encounter so it's best to over evaluate the time. We work on a combination of hourly paid and overall price for the job, obviously our devis are based on time taken so we work out the initial pricing on how much time for each job, sometimes it'll take less, sometimes more .. sometimes the client gains and occassionaly it works in our favour. I reckon building has got to be one of the hardest jobs to price, there are so many external, unknown factors to take into account and as Val said just because the builder isn't on site it doesn't mean he or she isn't working .. chasing suppliers, collecting materials, mountains of paperwork....!

Steph

www.pwb53.com

 

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To me it is a choice :

If I want a fixed price then I know the tradesman must build in an amout of time or money for things that go wrong when he or she opens up the job.

If I pay a day rate the if it goes wrong it is my problem.

For me I prefer the second

Worked on both sides of the Channel with the same deal. Shake hands pay when you promise and do what you promise. People who did are loft conversion were amazed that I had cleared the rubbish and gave me the money back that they had budgetted for clearing it.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am an artisan in 66 and i get fed up with the english constantly moaning about how much it costs to get work done.

Why dont you 2nd home holiday makers live here full time and try to make a living?

I think you would be in for a rude awakening.

If you are not happy with the price on the devis, dont get the work done.

Do it yourself....

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Hold on, Mr Chopper.

I'm a holiday-homer, and I've had lots of work done by English and French - I don't quibble and I don't make a fuss over payment, but I expect to pay a reasonable price. I assume that if I can't afford this game (and it isn't cheap) I shouldn't be playing it. If I'm unhappy we talk, and I've never not found a solution, especially if we try to meet half-way. Please don't tar us all with the same brush.

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[quote user="Dick Smith"]I've had lots of work done by English and French - I don't quibble and I don't make a fuss over payment, but I expect to pay a reasonable price.
[/quote]

All depends on what you consider to be a reasonable price. A lot of new property owners are initially shocked by the cost of building works in France. For some reason they seem to assume that building rates should be in proportion to the cost of the property but taking into account the generally poor state of French houses and the additional costs sometimes incurred due to stone construction complete renovations can often come to 2/3 times the purchase price. Reactions to estimates vary - some people have to moan about the cost of everything. I have little sympathy with second home owners who ask for a cheap price on the grounds that they had to mortgage their home in the UK to buy the place - as Dick says, if you can't afford to play.......!

We seem to be coming across a lot of properties that have been superficially renovated by their previous English owners - lots of pine cladding, Brico depot kitchens and bathrooms etc. that need completely re-doing - new plumbing, electrics, insulation, heating, septic tank etc. A wise puchaser would avoid these places as these are often the most expensive to put right.

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I mean that I don't expect to get a new roof for tuppence! The balance is about how much you want it and how much you can afford and if it seems - well, reasonable.

I've never assumed that work will be cheaper in France, although it usually is. The compromise is that I do the decorating and some of the finishing, and pay someone else to do the work that I can't do (because I don't have the skills or because I don't have the time).

The one time that work went wrong (an oak beam flexed due to a fault) it was all settled amicably, at the builder's insistence.

Treat people with respect and you get good results, it seems to me. Not paying on time or quibbling about devis once you have accepted them is guaranteed to get up their noses.

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The rant was aimed at nobody in particular, apologies for it coming across that way, but i am constantly faced with the English wanting something done for nothing.

Basically, the chambre de metiers advised me on how much my hourly rate should be. If all us artisans are on a level playing field with regards to costs, then you win jobs by your standard of work. Too many of the (sorry to use the term but) "2nd home holidayers" love the cheap patch things up workers, but these repairs only last a few months and it ends up as false economy. If i do a job, it is guaranteed for 10 years, but people have to pay the price. My insurance isnt cheap and neither are the stupidly high cotisation charges that the government have in place. (They are trying to put us all out of business and make us work for companies)

But we need a bit of straight talk here. If you are not happy with a quote/devis, go and get another one, and another until you are happy with the price.

The problem also is that many artisans, both french and english have too much work on, so they can afford to over quote on devis, because one in ten people will just say yes to a high priced job to get the work done.

 

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[quote user="dixiechopper"]

But we need a bit of straight talk here. If you are not happy with a quote/devis, go and get another one, and another until you are happy with the price.

[/quote]

Totally agree. Problem is that if you're the first to quote the spec. is best of everything, next bloke comes along and the spec. gets reduced a bit and so on. Also, as you say, overheads are very high and there are too many people on the black. For us, unless it is exactly our type of work, and the client understands that there will be a waiting time we have to tell them look for someone else to quote.

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An interesting topic. I hope my reply specifically answers the original question.

I have a wide range of skills and services and price accordingly.

If I am asked for a specific product, a door, table, wardrobe, bed etc then I will give a fixed quotation which does not change. If it takes me longer than I thought then I don't earn as much, a little less then I earn more than I had priced at. I price at around 40 euros per hour for labour and build in transport and materials cost. If I'm unsure then I'll discuss it with the client, I don't want any bad feeling anymore than the client does.

If the project is a service, mostly on site chainsaw carving, or tree felling then I price at 450 euros a day for carving and 250 a day for felling.... plus all extraneous expenses.

Hope this helps, Chris 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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