Avoiding cowboy tradesmen

Avoiding cowboy tradesmen

Finding a good tradesman is not always an easy task. Many have posed as the best and when the job has been done, the finished work will leave a lot to be desired and cost you double as the work had to be done again.

It is therefore crucial to get a reputable tradesman with a proven track record if you have any building work that needs doing.

You will be using your money, therefore it is best to get excellent value for your money and this is what you will get from a tradesman that comes with excellent references.

1. Get referrals and recommendations:

It is important that you get referrals from friends, family and colleagues for any tradesman you consider. Their account and testimonials can be used as a starting point. Their information will at least give you an idea on where to start with looking for a good man.

If friends, family or colleagues cannot help you out on this one, you can also contact your local Builder’s register where possible. This register will have a list of all plumbers, builders and tradesman who are properly qualified and carry the necessary insurance.

Local newspapers and online directories are also a good source of information. As you look around, take note of experience and the previous work done by the tradesman, this will give you an idea of what they can do for you.

Also keep an eye out online for websites that name and shame dodgy builders.

2. Deal with established firms:

Another way to safeguard yourself and ensure that you are dealing with a reputable operator is through making sure that in looking for one, you deal only with established firms, not fly by nights or individual tradesman with no record of their work.

To this end, you can ensure that the firm has a physical address, offices, telephone numbers where you can contact them and that they correspond through headed paper. This is all-important as it shows that the tradesmen are established and can be trusted to do the job.

You must also check if the tradesman or the firm is a member of a reputable trade association and if they have a VAT number.

3. Be clear about what you want done:

Have estimates and specifications of what work you are looking to have done. Certainly get more than one estimate, as this will help you compare one builder against the other.

Agree with your tradesman on payments and how payments will be scheduled before the work starts. Make sure that you have a clear plan of what you want before the job starts as changing your mind midway can be costly for you and can also result in delays.

4. Have a checklist of what questions to ask:

As you go about choosing a reputable tradesman, have a ready checklist on what to look for and what to avoid. Avoid those who pressurise you and call themselves specialists. Do not sign anything even under pressure when you do not understand it. Avoid tradesman who ask for advance payments, especially at the beginning of the job. Also avoid those who demand cash payments.


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