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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3695
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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Dear Sir/Maddam, I am a sole trader and have done several jobs

Resolved Question:

Dear Sir/Maddam, I am a sole trader and have done several jobs on different properties for one customer who is also acting for a couple who are solicitors and also Landlords, this specific job is under dispute, and not sure what to do! Simply I was instructed to repair joints in old cast iron gutters on an elevation which was on a hill and virtually on a busy narrow road, so time is required to level the ladder never mind carry out the work. Normally when there is a leaky joint the length is taken down cleaned etc to go back up again, but as there were several leaks most of the gutter/rhone lengths were taken down only to discover the extent of the damage, some had hairline cracks and were badly eaten away with rust due to years of neglect, at this point I called my contact who lived next door as assumed he was at work but no answer, then he comes out 3 hours later to see how we were doing, at this point I thought I was doing right by renewing 4 lengths, the job total ended up being £400 materials and labour included, I was sent an unsigned cheque offering to pay me £250 for my efforts because I had went ahead with unauthorised work. not sure what I should do as they won't budge, so I either take the £250 or go to the Small Claims Court, but is it worth it? Sorry if this is wasting your time.

Kind Regards

Kevin Shepherd
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will assist you.

If you had only done the work you were contracted to do how much would this have cost?

Do you have any terms or conditions or did you ever make them aware of an hourly rate?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I suppose it depends on how cheap and nasty the owners were expecting, but I tend to do the work to the best of my ability and certainly not cheap and nasty but the cost would have been around £250 as the labour would have been much the same, it is the materials which are costly but still passed on most of my trade discount to the customer!!! They retail at £53.28 but I charged £34.00 per length including my time pre painting as keep a stock in my store, there were a couple of other fittings but the main cast iron costs were £145.00


 


Kind regards


 


Kevin

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

For the sake of £150 it is probably not worth bringing a county court claim to conclusion as if you lose you may face costs.

That said in this circumstance it may be worth putting them on notice that you will bring a claim if they do not revise their offer.

The problem is while you may have given them value for money you do not have any evidence to show that you at least made them aware of the hourly rate or additional material and this could be a defense to any claim.

Have you demanded an increased sum in writing?

Kind regards

AJ
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

That is probably true enough, but on a normal 8 hour day I charge £180 when not working in my own town, £170 if local so don't think I am over the top for my fees?!! But you are correct that I will just accept the loss, but their loss is I won't work for them again, as my contact struggled to get someone before me. Thanks for your honest answer, I kind of know before you told me but just wanted to hear it from an independent.


 


Kind regards


 


Kevin

Expert:  Alex J. replied 3 years ago.
Hi,

Thank you.

A tactic solicitors sometimes use is to draft the proceedings send them but not actually issue them. You may be able to get an extra £50 out of them, but it is not worth the time or cost taking court proceedings.

Just may be remember next time that as customers they wont appear on any kind of favoured price list.

I would also consider drafting some basic term and conditions which are worded to include your hourly rate so that in future you can exercise some discretion on these matters and still get paid.

Do you have any form of collective or union or body that regulates your profession, they may be able to assist with this?

Kind regards

AJ
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