lifestyle

Flatpack expert makes a living charging people to assemble their Ikea furniture after losing his job


Waz has been making ends meet by getting made doing a job most of us hate. (Picture: PA Real Life)

We all know that the worst part of buying flatpack furniture is putting the damn thing together.

No matter how ‘easy’ it professes to be, it normally takes you the best part of a day, and the stress of it likely knocks a year or two of your life.

So, when a DIY expert lost his job because of the pandemic, he decided to make a living out of assembling people’s Ikea furniture for them. Now that is a service we would pay for.

Waz Mahmood, 31, from Redbridge, London, has been making ends meet since being made redundant by putting people’s cupboards, cabinets, and anything else, together – so they don’t have to.

But this lucrative hobby started before the pandemic. He was actually paid to assemble his first Ikea item back in 2018, but without a job it became his full-time gig. So far, he has put together 500 pieces, even driving 160 miles to erect a wardrobe.

Waz was made redundant from his position as a trainee construction site manager in September 2020 after being furloughed, so, he picked up flatpack furniture jobs on the mobile app Airtasker.

‘I love the challenge of building something from boxes, then seeing the final product,’ he says. ‘I think, ”yeah, I made that!”‘

Thankfully, Waz started work at another construction job last month, but he is still assembling Ikea items as a hobby.

Waz and his wife Nuhi putting up a wardrobe together. (Picture: PA Real Life)

Waz first signed up to the Airtasker app in July 2018, as part of a last-ditch plan to get spending money for a lads’ holiday to Ibiza the following month.

He explains: ‘I was enjoying doing nothing, but when my lads’ holiday got closer, I realised I needed to make some money, fast.

‘My mates were nagging me to get it sorted, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go.

‘I didn’t want to be that guy who goes to Ibiza and stays in the hotel while his friends have the time of their lives.’

He soon found Airtasker – which lets users post tasks they want doing while other members ‘bid’ to secure the job, with each worker getting an Uber-style rating from their customers – was a lucrative source of extra money for him.

With his Ibizan flights and hotel already paid for by credit card, he needed at least £500 in cash for his five-day blow-out trip, so he took on every job he could find.

Waz started his side hustle to pay for a lads’ holiday. (Picture: PA Real Life)

He cleaned swanky Airbnb properties in Mayfair and Earl’s Court, and by the end of July, he had enough cash to ‘make it rain’ in Ibiza.

‘I didn’t tell my mates how I made the money – I was worried they’d take the Mickey, to be honest,’ he admits.

In August 2018, he spotted a job alert to put up a flatpack desk, day bed and chest of drawers for £100 and, despite admitting he ‘had no idea what he was doing,’ he decided to give it a go.

‘The bed worried me, so the night before I watched YouTube tutorials on how to do it and trawled through the Ikea website for instructions. I didn’t want to get there and embarrass myself,’ he says.

‘The woman was really nice. I spent about eight hours at her house in total, taking it slow and making sure I got it done properly. Plus, she had a really nice cat.’

Waz became obsessed with erecting furniture – making hundreds of pounds a week at his peak.

‘I would finish work at 4.30 pm and go for a job at 6 pm, which might not finish until 9 pm. I’d do that a few times a week.’ he says. ‘I tried to work fast enough so that each job worked out to at least £20 an hour.

‘Now, of course, I’m a well-known name on Airtasker. I’ve been in the game for a while, so when I bid on a job everyone recognises me.’

When he started out, Waz accepted jobs as far away as Southampton, which involved a five-hour, 160-mile round trip.

Waz has assembled 500 bits of furniture – what a pro. (Picture: PA Real Life)

‘I’m not very good with geography, so I only thought the house was about an hour away – but my wife told me it was much further,’ he says.

‘I set out at 8 am and got home at 1 am the following day. I was there for so long I had a takeaway with the customers – it was madness.’

But, despite his many successes, there was one notable catastrophe.

‘I had just built a wardrobe with my nephew and was packing up when he tripped over and fell into it, busting a big hole in the back panel,’ he says.

‘At first, you could hear a pin drop. But then I was like, “Tell me you didn’t just do that!” I couldn’t believe it.

‘Thankfully, the customer saw the funny side and it was covered by a shelf, so they didn’t mind too much.’

Waz, who landed a new job last month as an assistant construction site manager, adds: ‘I’m too busy now to respond to the job alerts quickly enough, but I enjoy putting flatpack furniture together so much that I do still take on the odd job here and there.

‘I’d like to think after all that time doing it that I still have some clout, too.’

Airtasker is a trusted community marketplace that connects people who need work done with people who want to work. To sign up for Airtasker visit their website.

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.

Get in touch: metrolifestyleteam@metro.co.uk.


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