As with most tightfisted landlords, I start to perspirate as my heart beats faster when a tenant calls, because they usually only make contact when there’s bad news to report, which usually results in my bank balance dwindling. That’s never any fun to watch.
RING, RING…*[insert tenant name] calling*…
As I prepare myself to embrace the whimper and uttering of bad news, I softly greet my tenant. I sound polite, but under my composed facade I’m scared and anticipating a financial blow. She’s quick, no messing around: she firmly says…
The oven’s broke, I think the elements gone
I knew it! I instantly feel my pockets getting lighter, and my winter getting colder. I don’t blame my tenant, I don’t blame anyone, I’ve just never been keen on attending repairs, because there’s often complications involved. It’s not the money, it’s the level of effort which I’ll have to exert on a problem, which frankly, felt so insignificant in my life (i.e. an instrument to heat slaughtered animals, usually).
I assure my tenant I’ll get the issue resolved rapidly, because after all, that is my duty. I’m actually quite good like that, if something needs fixing, I won’t leave my tenants waiting.
I shuffle through a pile of my unorganised business cards- I’m sure I have an oven and appliance vendor in there somewhere! BINGO…”Solo Appliances”. I call for a quote,
Hey guy, I have a Neff oven which needs a new element. How much green are we talking?
That will cost £93, which includes labour and VAT
I was waiting for the guy to break into a chuckle and confess to playing a mean joke on me. As the silence got longer, I realised this was no joke. I then got flash backs from a previous week, when I saw new Neff Ovens for sale in Currys for £200.
Something didn’t quite add up. I told the guy I’d call him confirm my decision. Of course, I already knew that he’d be lucky if he ever got to hear my angelic voice again, unless it was to inform him of how ridiculously overpriced he is (mind you, I was just speculating at this point).
Fishing for a better deal
Unsatisfied with the quote, I jumped onto Google and did my own research.
It turns out that the average Neff element costs £20 from the Element man. Consequently, the guy from Solo wanted at least £70 for labour; to fit a basic element, which I’m sure takes a few minutes to install and requires minimal skill.
While I was already on the Google train, I decided to search for alternative local oven men. I found a company called ACS Appliances, and decided to try the hustle on them. They quoted me £40 for parts and labour- less than half price than my initial quote. That was a done deal.
The engineer was sent ’round to do his thing. After the operation I was expecting a call from my tenant to confirm the process went smoothly. Unfortunately, the Gods had decided to take a dump on me that. I received the call OK, but it was only to report further bad news. Not only had the element passed it’s expire date, but so had another vital organ, which was imperative to the heating process. To cut a long story short, I needed a new oven.
The oven guy didn’t replace the element, but he did charge a £7.50 call out charge, which I thought was fair. A bit too fair actually.
That same day, straight after work, on the way home from work I popped into Currys to purchase a basic stainless steel oven, which set me back £180. There were cheaper models, but they looked too cheap and unstable.
Another overpriced deal…
The next job in this antagonising saga was to get an electrician to install the darned thing. I contacted our usual electrician (the guy my family has used for years), and I requested a quote to install a oven. Without hesitation, he pulled out the figure of £90 from somewhere. I’m not sure where he dislodged that figure from, but I could have taken a wild guess. It felt like groundhog day. Is everyone just a moron that’s trying to rip people off? Apparently so.
How can it cost £90 to simply unplug an exiting oven and replace it with a new model? Granted, I’m no oven connoisseur, but I wasn’t born yesterday either. Surely it’s a case of ‘plug-out, plug-in’. There’s a banana, go do it, monkey!
I decided to try the guy from ACs Appliances, the same chap that went to initially fit the element. He quoted me £25. That sounded much more realistic. Done deal.
It took approximately 4 days to get everything resolved.
The whole incident just reminded me how important it is to shop around, and not just stick with the cowboys that come easily and/or first. If I didn’t shop around I would have had to pay more than double the amount I did.
Do you have any similar stories to share, specifically on how you saved a pile of cash simply by shopping around for quotes?
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger; I'm not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information I share is my opinion based on my personal experiences as an active landlord, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.