If you are investing money into improving your home, it’s natural to want to feel confident that you are using a trusted tradesman to do the job well.
When you are planning on having work done in your house, it can be difficult to know where to start when choosing who to carry out the work, so we’ve put together some tips below on how to find a trusted tradesman.
How to find a trusted tradesman
When starting your search for a trader, there are a few things you can look out for which will help to indicate how reputable they are.
STARTING YOUR SEARCH
You can easily start your search for a trusted tradesman online using a few different websites, including:
Checkatrade Review Site
Check a trade is a great place to start when looking for a reputable tradesperson in your area.
Simply type in the trade you require and you postcode to begin. Checkatrade will provide you with a list of suggested trades to choose from.
After entering these details, you will be swiftly presented with a list of suitable traders in your area. These results can be refined by a more specific area of that trade, to find the most suitable trader. You can also type more details about your project and Checkatrade will send these to 3 specialists to get in touch with you directly.
Each trader in the results list will have a short introduction to their business, along with their contact details. A rating is also shown that has been calculated using feedback from previous customers and projects.
If you click into a particular trader, you will see a further description and breakdown of the rating. For example, how well the trader scored in terms of reliability, courtesy, tidiness and workmanship. You can also find photos of previous work, without having to ask for examples and wait for a response; they are readily available for your convenience.
From here, you can save specific traders to shortlist, or contact and speak with them directly about your project via a message on the site or using their contact details presented on their profile.
Checkatrade covers all of the important factors that people would like to know about before choosing someone to work with. It has never been easier to find the best quality and most reliable tradespeople.
Local Council Website
Start off by finding your local council website. You should be able to search ‘approved traders’ or ‘Trading Standards’. The Trading Standards department is responsible for ensuring companies aren’t breaking the law when selling to customers. You may be able to find a list of traders that your local council has approved, or a link to another website to find local traders that you can trust.
If you are still struggling to find a trader, you can check if there is a trade association for the type of trader that you require for your project. Trade associations will normally set standards for companies to be allowed to join them, so it should give you confidence that the traders listed are reliable.
A first signal of the level of service that a trader provides can be seen from the initial contact. Make sure you can easily find their full contact details; trusted traders want to be contacted.
If they respond quickly and clearly, then this is a good start to a strong working relationship.
REVIEWS & RECOMMENDATIONS
Asking for recommendations from family, friends or other local residents can be a great way to find trustworthy traders in your area.
The websites mentioned above are also a good way to do this if you don’t personally know anyone who has recently used a reliable trader.
If you find a trader that you think you may like to work with, ask for recent project pictures or references to give you an idea of the quality of their work.
DISCUSS A CLEAR BRIEF
Once you have found a trader who seems reliable, who you are considering using in your project, discussing your requirements is the next logical step.
Explain what you need as thoroughly as possible, with clear guidelines of what you will require.
At this point, you should be given advice on any planning permissions that may be required, if additional contractors are needed, or if you are expected to supply anything for the job at hand. Think about any potential grey areas, like who will be supplying the materials, how the job will be finished and who is responsible for the clean up task once the project is complete.
TIP: if the trader is reluctant to put anything in writing, this could be a red flag!
Checking the credibility of the trader you are interested in working with is essential before any formal agreements are drawn up.
Check for insurance, credentials and a trade licence. You should also check that they are registered, particularly for anything involving gas or electrical to ensure they are properly trained and safe to work with.
Once you have discussed the work you require, get a formal quote from the trader. For a fixed price and a fixed outcome, you should obtain a quote, rather than an estimate, as an estimate could fluctuate.
If you are going ahead with any work, ensure you have a written and signed contract, detailing all of the work and responsibilities.
TIP: don’t make any advanced payments. If money is asked for up front for anything other than materials required for the job, this could be a red flag.
If you experience problems
Unfortunately, not all home renovations go smoothly and sometimes there can be issues with the work or project, even if you are using a recommended or reliable trader. If this happens, we have some advice below to help you sort out the problem.
WHERE TO START
If there have been problems and you feel the trader is at fault, there are a few things you can do to resolve or attempt to get your money back. The best places to start would be:
- keep all relevant paperwork and receipts
- take photos of the work throughout the project
- make notes detailing the problem at hand, including specific dates and times of events
HOW TO PROCEED
In the first instance, contact the trader to discuss the issue and attempt to resolve as soon as you notice a problem. They may need to stop doing any further work when it has been brought to their attention.
If the job is complete and cannot be rectified, you should firstly request a refund for the part of work which is not completed to a good standard. Alternatively, agree a deadline for the work to be rectified by, or create an action plan with the trader for how they can adjust the work to resolve the issue.
If the trader does not provide a resolution, or is unhelpful in generating ways to fix the issue, find out if they are a member of any governing bodies that have a dispute resolution process that you can utilise.
If after all of the above the issue has not been resolved, you may need to look into taking legal action and seek further advice.
We hope that you found this article useful in starting your search for a trusted tradesman. If you sense any red flags, we recommend to either keep researching, or find someone else to work with. We look forward to seeing your completed home renovation projects!
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