Employing A Tradesperson

By: Rick Skew


The majority of tradespeople working these days are reliable, honest and hard working. Honestly! It is just the cowboys and rogue traders get a lot more publicity and this #makes it# seem #that the# majority of tradesmen are crooks. #But it# in actual fact is a small proportion. Nevertheless, there is a small number of #things you# #can do# to reduce the prospect of hiring someone who is going to do #a bad# job and/or will steal your money.

The things you should do to ensure you use an excellent tradesman are:

Get 3 quotes. If you need to #get a# job done #then you# are going to need a quotation or two. A quotation is different from an estimation. Say for instance that you want some garden landscaping done. A landscaper can provide you with a quotation for this. A quotation #is a# fixed price. Estimations mean variable pricing so you may #end up# paying more. Estimations are sometimes the only real option you have - #in the# case #of a# boiler repair for example, as it is difficult #for a# gas engineer #to be# exact when giving you a price #on the# cost #of a# repair because one fault could lead to many problems which are difficult to pin-point.

Now, for whatever large project you're looking to get done - house painting, a property rewire, a loft conversion, refurbishment, a new boiler installation etc. Always get 3 quotes. #This will# give #you enough# to compare. Any #more than# 3 quotes #and your# wasting everyone's time #and your# own - #you do# #want to# #get the# work done, don't you? #At the# other end #of the# scale - #don't get# sweet talked into going with #the first# man #you see# #for the# job. Wait #for the# 3 quotes and #this is# #a good# amount #to be# able #to compare# the tradespeople effectively.

Get everything confirmed in writing. It is vital #at this# stage to dot the i's and cross the t's. Spend some time telling the tradesman exactly what #you want# and get it listed #on the# quotation. If it isn't on there then it is #going to# be hard #to blame# anyone except yourself when it isn't done - even #if you# specifically agreed to it. Get it written down and signed by both parties.

Get some references #and check# some of their previous work. Check #the company# or tradesperson that #you are# thinking about employing online. Do not be over concerned #about a# few bad reviews, but they should have some good one's as well. If #they are# all bad - well! that maybe should tell you something.

Tradesman review - have a good look on a website like Right Trader to see if #they are# on there. If it is a big project - like a home extension, then ask the builder #to take# you around his current job. If he has not got one, well it is a #warning sign# isn't it?

Building regulations compliance certificates. Remember, before you start work on a structural project you will need to inform the council using a 'Building Notice' and you might need to supply them with plans and calculations from your surveyor. There is a fee #for this# of course. #Before you# select your builder be certain that they know #that you# have done this and #that you# will be required to contact the council again after the project is complete to obtain a building regulations compliance certificate. Your builder now knows that you are going to do everything legitimately - this may smoke out a cowboy builder.

Check #to see# #that they# have insurance. Every contractor, builder or tradesperson needs #to carry# public liability insurance. Check #to see# if #they have# it!

Things not #to do# when selecting a tradesman:
Never #use a# business who can only give a #mobile phone# number. If they have no physical address on their quotes, letterheads or business cards - walk away. Never employ a tradesperson unless you are clear #on the# work that #they will# be #carrying out# for you and what the price is. Never employ #a dirty# tradesman. If #he has# come #to your# house to provide you with a quote then they ought to be presentable. Never employ anyone who smells of alcohol. It means that they will probably drink #on the# job.

Do not always go #for the# lowest quote. Set a budget for the project, and stick to it:
This is going to be determined by what #you can# afford, of course. But it may #also be# influenced #by the# quotes you have received. Now, don't always go #with the# lowest quote. Make your decision on other factors. #Do you# trust the tradesperson - use your common sense. Are they #part of# a large company? This is often safer - #they are# less #likely to# steal your money or go bust. This is a very important consideration when large sums of cash are involved. Call their land line number. #How do# they answer #the telephone#? Are they professional? Anyone who answers their telephone with 'Yes' #is probably# hiding from someone. Do not employ them!

As soon as #you have# chosen the builder or tradesperson for the project, do not hammer them down on price. This seems strange advice but hear me out. #A good# deal is where both parties are happy with it. Tradespeople and builders are feeling the squeeze #at the# moment because #of the# recession. #They will# be very tempted to accept #a low# offer just #to keep# themselves or their companies working. But this doesn't mean you can take advantage. And #not just# #for the# moral reasons! #When a# builder or tradesman #is not# making any money #from a# project they get despondent. An unhappy tradesman may start to cut some corners #on your# job. If #they are# losing money #on the# job, they might be very tempted #to run# off with the deposit or payment. #In most# cases they didn't start with this intention but sometimes #they can#'t afford #to carry# on. Be mindful of these points. #Talk to# your builder or tradesman #on a# regular basis. Especially, if it is a big project.

Take a #look at# their credentials.

Never accept #that they# are a member #of a# professional organization without seeing their ID or confirming #with the# registration body. #This is# #especially true# for gas. #Have a# #look at# their GAs Safe card.

#Don't be# a lettuce.

#If you# do not understand something, #ask for# it #to be# explained again in plain English. Do not be fobbed off and don't be gentle.

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If I ever have a large project in mind, the first thing I do is to check the company or tradesperson out by using a website like Right Trader. It doesn't cost anything to check them out.

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