They say we will all remember where we were when Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States. Well, I was in deepest darkest Essex, getting my tyre replaced which, while not quite as historic or glamorous, was still satisfying from a frugal point of view.
It’s foolish, but I’ve always had a deep-seated fear of mechanics and other skilled tradespeople. I believe that they can see into my mind and know that every word they say is translated into Martian as soon as it enters my ears. It goes against the grain as a feminist, but I accepted long ago that I have absolutely no talent for cars, DIY or fixing things whatsoever.
As I have always experienced good service at my local Kwik Fit, despite entreaties from my neighbours to visit pastures new, when we got a puncture I was sorely tempted just to visit Mark there because he always takes care of me. He just smiles and gets on with things and doesn’t ask me complicated questions about carburettors I can’t answer.
But this time I decided I must at least investigate an alternative outlet that came highly recommended. It did involve a little bit of extra work on my account. Well, I mean, all I actually had to do was look at my tyres and find a serial number on the side, feeling pretty silly as I was obviously so stupid I had to ring them back twice until I got it right. Unlike Kwik Fit, they didn’t automatically know which tyres I needed. But instead of just offering expensive Goodyear tyres, they had a range of options to suit different budgets including budget tyres, part worn and mid range ones. Previously we’ve paid over £100 for a new tyre and fitting. Hardly ideal when we seem to average about two punctures a year. However, this time we plumped for a mid range tyre and paid £64, including VAT and fitting. I was impressed. The tyre down, the washing machine repairman still to go…
It’s surprisingly that with all our technology, finding a decent workman who isn’t Basildon’s answer to Jesse James is still very much down to word of mouth or luck. Reaching for the Yellow Pages to find somebody always fills me with a sinking feeling. Sometimes they turn out ok, but often in my experience either they show up late, charge the earth, make a mess, don’t do a decent job unless you stand over them, or if you’re really unlucky, all four. I’m sure there are plenty of good workmen out there, I just don’t always seem to have the luck in finding them!
So it’s easy to see why DIY can be an attractive option if you are talented in that direction, as DJ is when it comes to decorating, laying laminate floor etc.. Not only do you save money, but you also save on the aggravation factor.
I’ve stumbled across a few interesting websites this week – one helping people find trustworthy workmen through customer review called Rated People and another teaching you how to fix things yourself, if you’re able, called How to Mend It. Both great ideas. But I have to say, I’d always feel more comfortable asking a neighbour or friend for a recommendation rather than someone on the web, but maybe you disagree?
How do you find good workmen? Would you hire somebody through a recommendation on a website? Do you have a formula for keeping repair costs down?
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