So you've hired a 'Mason Baas'. No doubt you are very relieved that your project will now be completed and you can get on with the rest of your life.
Us Sri Lankans are familiar with the worries that come with hiring a Mason Baas.
While generalisations don’t err on the side of fair play, it IS fair to say that for the most part, your Mason Baas will need to be watched like a hawk and handled with extreme care.
Here are our 5 top tips for managing your Mason:
1. Supervision, supervision, supervision: Yup, we can’t say it enough, you should definitely not just leave him to ‘get on’ with the work. Show right from the start that you are savvy when it comes to the work he is about to do and the price of the items he needs to buy (educate yourself beforehand or fake it!). Then follow up with him every step of the way. Make sure you get weekly if not daily updates.
2. Safe and sound: Keep a really close eye on the number of items you purchase for the job and inquire into how and where they have been used. Give him a copy of a detailed inventory of your purchases so that he knows that you know exactly what you are talking about. If work is being done in a house you live in or in a fully furnished house, make it very clear that you have a good idea of what you own, and that your policy is one of no second chances if an act of dishonesty is discovered.
3. Hold on to the purse strings: Never hand over more money than you have to at any one time. Ask for a clear account of what the money is needed for and then double check that everything mentioned has been obtained. Always save the final 15% of the payment until after the job has been completed and you have satisfied yourself that it has been done thoroughly and correctly.
4. Do the unexpected: Keep life interesting for your Mason Baas by dropping in on him when he least expects it. If you have a partner who can be roped in to do the same then all the better. The idea is to keep him on his toes and ever conscious of his deadlines.
5. Kindness but not weakness: People are likely to work hard for and be honest with, someone they like and respect. Be kind and generous with creature comforts, like ensuring that he always has cups of tea to drink and that lunch is provided. As much as you have to keep him on a relatively tight leash, always respect the work he does and listen to his professional opinion on matters about which you very likely know nothing.
Text by Pia Hatch
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