If you're reading this you're considering hiring one Darren Black, a Yorkshire man who does jobs all across England. I live in London and in the time he's been doing my job he's been as far and wide as Oxford and Southampton. Anyway, I'll cut a long story short - don't hire him.
He's a nice enough lad, great demeanor. He's not a typical charmer, not too smooth and that was part of the reason I hired him: he seemed trustworthy.
I hate giving negative feedback but I have to in this case as I don't want others to make the same mistake. This is what went wrong on my job: he came over and I described exactly what I needed done BUT:
1. Some things you describe to him will not be included in the quote. In my case the most obvious was the tiles, the contract stated the price of tiling would be later agreed but I read it too fast and missed that one. My fault. What he didn't mention would not be included and in the end I had to fork out extra for was:
8. Darren forgot to tell the electrician to fit the extractor fan. The building regs folk told me it's a must. I told Darren and he asked the electrician to come back to fit it. This required the wall to be "holed" and those holes, 3 of them in total, haven't been properly decorated over.
To add insult to injury, there should be 300mm between the boiler flue and the extractor fan but there are only 250mm. I don't know if building regs will catch me out on that.
9. Worst of all, Darren owes the electrician loads of money so the electrician is refusing to give me my Electric Certificate. Without that certificate my local council's building regulations department will not pass this project.
10. When the job was started on 11 June, 3 to 4 weeks was the estimated time for delivery. This is August 21 - 10 weeks have now passed.
UPDATE DECEMBER 2013
You would think that is where the problems end...you would be wrong.
11. When the rains started the roof started leaking hence the stain in the trio of pictures above.
Credit to the roofer, when he was told about the problem he came to fix it immediately.
When I posted this blog on 21 August Darren came the very next day - although he had initially claimed to be in Southampton. He asked me to take everything down and promised to correct everything that was wrong.
He found a plumber via Rated People. This second plumber was a dream; he corrected all the issues and found plenty more. EVERYTHING in the bathroom was leaking including the toilet. The plumber worked every day for 4 to 5 days and Darren said he would pay whatever it cost. The job was about £750 which was roughly £400 more than Darren owed me.
Darren never paid that balance and I forked out an extra £50 to get the electricity certificate. I considered taking Darren to small claims court but in the end I decided it was too much trouble and I have moved on. It could be worse, for that, I should be grateful.
So, there you have it. You decided whether you want to hire the man. I consider myself to be a good judge of character and even I got it very, very wrong.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I'm always thinking, debating, considering and revising my views - some of those deliberations will be shared right here.