We have had two letters, in one day, from readers regarding unscrupulous builders.
This has prompted us to urge you to make sure you know exactly who you are dealing with before you part with your hard-earned money.
In the first instance, Margie wrote to us from Kensington, Johannesburg. Margie wanted to build on a granny flat for her mum onto her home. She duly took out a bond on her house and after a series of misadventures with three different builders and shoddy workmanship and delays, she finally hired someone who had advertised on Gumtree. This fellow came to her home, faxed her a quote, the deposit was made and he has never been heard of again!
This individual lives somewhere in the Van Der Bijl park area and all attempts to contact him have failed. Apparently, a similar incident has happened to another trusting lady in the area too. I have suggested Margie lay a charge at her local police station. She has all the documentation to back up her case - let's hope the police catch him. I have asked Margie to let me know what exactly what the police are going to do about it.
If you are going to hire someone you don't know, please make sure of the following:-
1. Have a formal contract drawn up, witnessed and signed.
2. Ask for a separate materials' and a separate labour quote.
3. Go to one of the building suppliers and ask that them to check that indeed the quote for the materials is relevant to the job and that the builder is not financing his own little project with your money.
4. Do not pay a cent until the job is completed and handed over to your satisfaction.
5. If the builder does require some cash upfront, pay the materials' cost yourself to the supplier and pay the builder weekly as the job progresses.
6. If there is some aspect of the job that needs rectifying, make sure it's done before you release any money.
7. Do not have all the materials delivered at once. Get them delivered as you need them.
8. Do not release the final money until you are 100% satisfied that the job has been done to your satisfaction.