Your home is your castle and you need to protect it. If you’re looking to find a tradesman, we’ve got some top tips to share.
Whether you’re about to embark on a big project or just need some small jobs done, follow this step by step guide to find yourself a reputable tradesperson and cut down the chances of hiring a cowboy by mistake.
1. Ask for recommendations
Your friends and neighbours might be able to recommend someone who has recently completed a project in their property. They might also be able to tell you who to avoid, which can be equally useful.
If you are looking for someone to do a conversion or extension, make sure they have plenty of experience. If you have a period property or live in a Conservation Area, you want to be confident that the tradesperson you employ has worked in similar types of property/area before.
2. Check that they’re qualified
They might talk a good talk, but you need to make sure that they’re up to the job. You want any electrician or tradesperson your hire to be a member of TrustMark, a government licenced organisation. This should ensure that they’re suitably qualified.
3. Request to see references
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask the tradesperson you’re considering hiring to provide a couple of references. If they don’t want to do this, you might be better off choosing someone else.
4. Search for them online
A quick Google search can reveal a lot. Check out their business Facebook page, if they have one, and see what comments and reviews they’ve had.
5. Use a trade referral website
If you want to compare quotes from different tradespeople, you can use a trade referral website like RatedPeople.com or Trustatrader.com. You can read reviews and pay your trader via the websites too.
6. Ask for estimates in writing
Insist that any tradesperson quoting writes the estimate down for you, ideally on headed paper. You want to know their business address and contact details. Local tradespeople might be preferred, as they won’t need to factor in travel costs when quoting.
7. Compare quotes
Ensure that you’re being quoted a fair price by getting at least three quotes for the work you want doing. You can also use the QuotationCheck website to see if you’re being overcharged. If someone offers you a discount if you pay in cash, be wary.
8. Don’t pay before the work has started
You should never pay for the work upfront; you should only hand over all of the money once the job has been completed to your satisfaction. If you do hand over the money early, you could find that the job takes longer than expected or you could struggle to get the contractor to finish.
9. Agree on timescales
You need start and finish dates in writing, so that you can have an idea of when the job will be completed by.
10. Make sure that you’re insured
Before any work starts, you must check your home insurance policy documents to see if you’re covered. If you’re not, and something goes wrong, you could be left with an expensive repair bill.
If you don’t currently have buildings and contents cover, or your policy is due to expire soon, why not get a few quotes?