Archive for August, 2009

Update on costs

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Ordered a few thousand more seeds from Austrahort Seed Merchants – $54.45

Saw the lovely girls at the local Officeworks and had them run off the required paper copies of the plans plus 2 tubes to safely transport them in – $27.40

Total spend now stands at $220 168.40

Paper work for the applications

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Holy cow. I think we’ve just killed and printed out a tree. 15 sheets of A2 paper is what was needed to satisfy the councils requirements for copies of our plans.

All forms are now filled, duplicates made and sorted awaiting an appointment with the council planning officer so we may get our planning application made and approved.

Fingers crossed :D

Update on costs

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

It’s been rather quiet since our Ebay flurry :) Doesn’t mean we haven’t been spending wads of cash though.

Professional fees this week came to a healthy – $1260

Total spend to date is now $220141.00

The concrete vibrator

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I was contacted by the seller less than 30 minutes after sending the nasty email I had crafted for them. The replacement parts for the concrete vibrator arrived via overnight courier this morning and I finally had a chance to assemble and run the unit. It is cheap, it feels cheap but I think it will last the 8 weeks we’re going to need it to survive.

It had an horrendous fuel leak, did not want to idle and needed so many adjustments to get it running properly it really is a joke it is advertised as a quality machine. What I’m really ticked off about though is I had to threaten the retailer to get them to act on the problem.

It goes to show though if you know your rights and are prepared to stand up for them things will work themselves out far more quickly than if you pussy foot around the issue.

Enquiries made to council

Monday, August 24th, 2009

I shot off an email to the Mid Murray Council development and planning officer we have been conversing with over the past few months. I listed what we had so far to seek the planning approval and he responded back with the OK on what we have, plus all the forms we would need to complete before lodging our application.

This experience is very different from the suburban council we spent the last 7 years living in. The response to every enquiry there always seemed as if we were creating work for them. How dare we pay rates and expect service I guess.

On a bum note, the concrete vibrator arrived Monday, was broken, looked decidedly second hand and was certainly a far inferior quality then the “best quality tool, don’t pay $1500 elsewhere” advertised on the Ebay listing. The seller has ignored me for 24 hours so far, another 24 hours and I will make their name absolute mud and leave no one searching Google for details about them in any doubt that this retailer will rip your off.

I’m also posting them the link to this post, because this is where I will shame them.

Word to the wise AG#$^%^.I’m a webmaster who controls somewhere near 1000 domains and has around 500 more under management. I could easily backlink several posts about your sham operation from tens of thousands more by contacting a few friends in the business.

I’ve contacted the NSW department of fair trading about lodging a complaint and the person I spoke to was concerned with your warranty conditions and other aspects of your business (implied trading name, fraudulent product description and so on) not complying with statutory requirements. Resolve this quickly or I will lodge a formal complaint.

Provisional house plans are in!

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Darren delivered the finished provisional plans late on Friday. We now have all the details required to put the application for planning permission before council. This will give us permission to build the intended development, but not permission to commence with the development.

Once that is accepted we’ll get on with getting the properly specified and engineered versions completed so we are able to apply for building consent. This will then give us permission to commence the development as specified by engineers and certifiers.

A big thanks to Darren for happily taking on all the numerous small changes we made to his (and our own) ideas along the way. He has been a very easy person to deal with, happy to listen when needed and happy to advise when requested. His wealth of knowledge on all things design and construction made our decision making process much simpler than it may have been.

I need to seek his permission to display the designs, I will post them to the site once I have that.

You can contact Darren by heading over to his website, Wise Drafting.

Now for the dreaded next step – approaching council for planning permission.

Some of the new toys have arrived

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

The generator made it overnight from Melbourne which I found quite remarkable considering some of the other purchases that weigh far less and were bought days earlier are still not here despite the freight being 2-3 times that of the generator. My panel lift also made it here, just after the generator.

The 4.2Kva “Silent Inverter Generator”
We bought the generator from this Ebay seller and would recommend anyone looking for similar to keep an eye on the auctions this seller has. His items do sell for a little more than through other Ebay stores, but his freight is so cheap I recommend you weigh up the freight from each seller before you settle on your bid.

First impressions on the generator are excellent. Solid packaging and the quality of the unit far surpasses my expectations. Nicely finished, details paid attention to and a manual with a better grasp of English than most, like, you know, teenagers. Filled the sump as instructed and exact volume stated was required, 1.1L of oil.

Connected battery as instructed, splashed some fuel and used the remote starter to fire it up. This is one nifty feature and the manual states up to 50 metres effective range and I got about 20 through solid brick wall so I was happy with that. It’s not “silent” but you could happily hold a conversation without having to yell over the top of the noise.

Being new I didn’t want to stress it too much but it did fire up the Makita circular saw (1800W) without any real increase in revs. With voltage control regulators, it should be able to power any of the tools I have now without raising a sweat and without using a hell of a lot of fuel.

The “I-force Panel Lifter”
Purchased this item new from this Ebay seller.

Again, I was very surprised at the quality of the item fearing it may have been a cheaper version than those available in the store despite being very much an identical product. It folds down to something you could store under a bed, not that you would, but now you know how little space it needs.

This item also has a well written manual with useful instructions and I had it out of the box and together in under 5 minutes. Just as important, I had it disassembled and back in the box in the same time frame.

Update on costs

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Yep, another one as quick as the other one.

A nice bargain with some scaffolding, $300 cheaper than retail and this one has a few added bits and pieces such as work shelves with it as well.

Miniskaff 918 never used off Ebay – $600
Sprint Auto Parts for 16 litres of cheap Castrol oil for use as concrete mold release – $48.70

Tally now stands at $218 881.00

Update on costs

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Our Ebay spree has come to a handy little total. Price below are including freight.
Concrete vibrator, whipper snipper style – $305
Panel lifter (for plasterboard sheeting) – $236.90
4.2kVa (3kw output) sine wave generator – $755.25

There are another couple of items we’re waiting to come to a close before bidding on and I’ll update those and give a brief first impression of the items when they land here.

Total spend is now at $218 232.30

Ebay and buying “stuff”

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Having spent most of yesterday with hire companies looking at what stuff costs to hire for the period of time we are likely to need it (which means doubling the estimated time), last night I turned to Ebay to check out some prices.

A word of warning – most of the cheap tools on Ebay are no name and cheap Chinese imports, but if some of these things can last us for the build before they fall apart, that will do us just fine. Last night we picked up a brand new whipper-snipper styled concrete vibrator with 1 years warranty for less than it would cost for 1 weeks hire. We had figured on needing one of these for 8 weeks, so this was a bargain. If it makes it out the other side of the build we can flog it via ebay with any recoup on the original price a nice bonus.

I’ve got some bids in on 3kW sine wave inverter generators right now, again cheap Chinese imports but again with a 12 month warranty. These have been selling for 20% of the price of brand name generators, and I can’t find a bad word about them in google other than “they are Chinese imports”.

A panel lift for ceiling plasterboard is going for less than half of the price I can buy one for locally, and this is an IDENTICAL item. It’s actually less than the cost of hiring one for 48 hours, so again we’ll use it then flog it and any money back is a nice bonus.

Finally some words of wisdom when purchasing anything via Ebay:

1. Know what the product is worth, and how much it is worth to you.

2. Understand how much postage will cost you.

3. Set your price limit taking into account cost + postage vs buying the product from a local shop.

4. Check the seller’s reputation and if there are any negative comments read why and decide if you are prepared to risk the same issue yourself.

5. Enter your set price limit as your MAXIMUM automatic bid. For those not aware of how the automatic bids work lets take a simple example.

The tool you want you are prepared to pay $100 for. You enter $100. Your first bid appears as the minimum required for you to lead the bidding, lets say it was the first bid and it is set at $0.99 (as many auctions start). 3 days later with 3 minutes to go and 15 bids made in total you are leading with a bid of $42.50

Along comes Joe Schmuk who waits until the last minute to enter a bid. He enters $50 and your auto bid counters with $52.50. Joe can play the game right up to $100 and not beat your auto bid, so you secure the tool as the earliest maximum bid will win the auction if there is a tie. If he gives up at $72.50 the tool is yours for only $75.

To explain how there would be a “tie” – unlikely yes, but lets say you both enter a max bid of $100 but are beaten by a bid of $105 that is later retracted. You would win since you placed the first maximum bid of $100.

I have learnt to always enter what I would be prepared to pay. The auto bid system is there to help you win the item at the lowest price without giving away what you are prepared to pay.

6. Pay promptly after winning the auction, and use Paypal where possible as it offers you some security with buyer protection.

7. Don’t forget to leave feedback about your experience. If the experience sucked, rate it poorly and explain why to warn other buyers. If it was good, likewise let your fellow consumer know why you were happy.

If you are completely new to Ebay then I recommend you watch the closing few minutes of some auctions as this is when all the action really starts to happen.  Refresh the screen often and you’ll see the bids begin to mount up as time runs out.

When you are experienced with it, you’ll find you can drop your bid in the closing few seconds, and providing it is realistic, win that item in many cases for less than your maximum bid.