Carpenters, just like tailors, hardly tell the truth in Uganda. Visit a carpenter, place an order for something and agree on the time to pick the item.
When you go back to pick your item, you will most likely find that they have not even started on your order.
Herbert Kalema a resident of Matugga in Lwadda A Wakiso says he had an ordeal with residential carpenters who were recommended by a friend.
“I hired the carpenter to change the fabric of his house seats and make them firmer because there was a depression each time someone sat in them” he says.
According to Kalema when the work was done, the depressions looked like they were dealt with, but half of the wood of his chairs was broken because of mishandling.
In a period of three weeks, the depression in the chairs was back and he wondered why he parted with sh450,000 to buy the fabric and hire the carpenters.
Kalema says he can no longer trust carpenters most especially those who are friends and would rather buy his furniture from a workshop than hire a carpenter.
“I made an order with a carpenter in Kawanda to make for me a sideboard in December. Up to now, they have not worked on my order,” he narrates.
For Jimmy Kirunda from Kisaasi, he decided to have his living room sofa sets customised. As opposed to just walking to furniture showroom to buy already made sets.
“It happened to me when I was still single, so this time I wanted to get something better and durable because sometimes when you buy finished sofa sets, you don’t know what material they might have used to make the furniture you are buying. I thought having customised seats where I can dictate on the kind of timber and cloth to use is better”, he explains.
Kalema thinks that buying all required materials like cushions, cloth, timber and the nails and all a carpenter needs and carry them home is better because he can keep an eye on a carpenter.
“I don’t trust any carpenter so I called him in my home with his tools and he did everything from there. Whenever he needed anything to ease his work, I could just go and get it for him. It took him two weeks to complete all the work. I also shared with him the design and shape I wanted, that’s how I managed the carpenter though it was expensive work, I got what I wanted”, he says.
Most carpenters require that their customers check on them all the time if they are to deliver their orders.
Fred Mpalanyi a carpenter for over ten years attributes the delay to churning out his customers’ orders to electricity shortage. He says for some of his work, he has to rely on electricity, which is not always steady and it greatly slows him down.
“Our work not only depends on electricity, but also sunshine and the machines which we use to make the designs for our clients. Our clients have to know that, when I am done with crafting an item, I varnish it and I wait for the sun to dry the varnish, but when it is a rainy season, the items take long to dry, hence a delay in delivery of people’s orders,” Mpalanyi explains.
“However, some customers are not patient with us. Most especially when he or she has given you a deposit, some even don’t pay yet they put us under pressure”, complains Mpalanyi.
However, Denis Walakira of LP Furniture Enterprises in Kawempe disagrees with the carpenters’ excuses, saying a deadline should be respected, irrespective of other factors.
“One should value deadlines because it is the bond with customers. Do whatever it takes, even if it means using a generator the whole day to complete a customer’s order. Why should you tell your customer to a pick an item on any day of the week, when you cannot make it?” Walakira asks.
He also says, it is imperative to ensure that customers’ orders are finished on time, because they are the reason business thrives.