Whether you need a good plasterer, builder or gas engineer, finding one that you can trust to do a good job can be a minefield – the amount of primetime television that is dedicated to real life disaster stories is testament to this. However, a little homework and simple common sense should mean that you can avoid the cowboys and choose someone who will prove to be reliable.
You can’t beat personal recommendation but it’s a good idea to carry out checks on any tradesmen you are considering using.
- No matter what the size of job it’s always best to approach at least three people/companies.
- Contractors should be prepared to visit your property to see exactly what needs to be done. If it’s relevant, share with them any building plans that will help them provide accurate quotes.
- Quotes should be supplied in writing. Never agree to anything quoted verbally on the spot.
- Offers to carry out works based on payment in cash or VAT-free should be treated with suspicion.
- Ask to see customer references and, if possible, go and visit a previous customer so that you can see the quality of work carried out.
Online tradesman checkers
There are also several very good online resources where you can find reputable contractors or check out ones you’ve already contacted.
TrustMark is a Government-backed initiative provided by the Trading Standards Institute. Using the online search facility you can quickly find local tradespeople who have been carefully and independently vetted for quality of work, customer satisfaction, trading practices and financial status. Importantly, they will also offer insurance-backed guarantees.
Which? Trusted Traders is another good resource. To be included on this list tradespeople have to first be assessed in a similar way to the TrustMark scheme.
And there is also the ever popular Checkatrade.