Finding a reliable, trustworthy tradesman is one of the most important – and sometimes difficult! – parts of undertaking home improvements. The number of complaints about unsatisfactory home maintenance and improvements to the Office of Fair Trading is rising, leaving consumers in despair. Whether you need to rebuild your home from the ground up, renovate a living room or just a quick repair on a leaky sink, it’s important that you make sure you’ve found someone who you can trust to do the job. Here are a few tips to find the perfect tradesman that won’t leave you high and dry.
Ask to see their qualifications
Most tradesmen are required by law to carry a licence that verifies their credentials. If they’re an electrician or gas fitter, then they’ll also be required to register their details on a government database. Their licence can be revoked if they’ve breached building regulations, so it must be current. Many tradesmen will list their licence details on their website or business card, so do your due diligence and chase this up. If they haven’t provided any details, then be sure to enquire. If they’re uneasy about providing a licence number or give you an excuse (i.e. it’s still being processed, or they don’t have it to hand), then this is a huge red flag.
Agree to a quote
Some of the most contentious disputes between a tradesman and a dissatisfied customer come down to a misunderstanding about costs. Before a tradesman begins work, make sure you have both agreed to a written quote. Once it has been set down in writing and agreed to, then your tradesman by law cannot increase the cost. Some customers confuse a quote, which is legally binding, with an estimate, which has no protections. An estimate is what the tradesman thinks the job will cost and doesn’t account for unrealized expenses. Make sure you are clear when talking with your tradesman that you want a quote for the job rather than an estimate, and if he’s uncertain to provide a quote for a simple job, such as installing a fitting or retiling a bathroom, then consider taking your business elsewhere. If a tradesman is unreliable, or adds unexpected costs, report them.
Verify their past work
A tradesman might provide excellent testimonials they’ve collected themselves, but it can be difficult to verify these. If you’re looking to undertake an extensive job, then ask your tradesman to provide contact details for former customers who have provided positive reviews. You can also do some research yourself. There are many review sites online you can check, and many newspapers and government databases have online archives, so you can search to see if they’ve had previous trouble with regulations or the law. There is a lot of information to be gleaned from a Google search, so get typing!
When it comes to hiring a tradesman, there are numerous pitfalls that could leave you and your family out of pocket. If you’re struggling to find the right person for the job through traditional outlets, then you can find a tradesmen online through a service like Plentific, which ensures all tradesmen are certified to perform work and will also guarantee their services for added peace of mind.