There comes a time in every homeowners life when they come face to face with a job that’s simply too big or too difficult for them to complete by themselves. We’re a nation of DIY enthusiasts, and it can be galling to have to bring in a specialist to complete a job – in fact, according to YouGov figures, 15% of unfinished DIY projects are abandoned because the homeowner found that the job was more difficult than they had originally expected.
Sometimes it’s best to just bite the bullet and call in the professionals, instead of ending up in a situation where you need to rely on your buildings insurance. Around 30% of self-employed people in the UK are skilled tradesmen, so there are a lot of them to choose from. But how can you be sure that you’re getting someone who knows what they’re doing, and not a fly-by-night cowboy?
There were more than 80,000 consumer complaints about rogue tradesmen last year – that’s a statistic that’s bound to make you pause for thought before agreeing to let someone tamper with your property. Hopefully this article will give you some guidance on how to avoid being conned and get yourself a good, reliable tradesman.
There are a number of websites which have been set up to allow people to rate tradesmen who have completed projects for them previously. While you should take any online rating system with a pinch of salt, these sites will at least give you a chance to see if any tradesmen have received unanimously critical reviews from a number of customers.
Look as close to your local area as possible – it’s always better to have someone from your area working for you, as they may be more accountable and flexible with their working hours. Talk to people you know who have recently had work completed and see if they’re willing to recommend the tradesmen who completed their job for them. If it’s possible, try and take a look at the finished job the carried out for yourself.
Pull together a shortlist of potential tradesman and do a little research into how long their company had been operating. There’s nothing wrong with new tradesmen who have just set up on your own, but if there’s no record of them at all you might do best to be steer clear, as scammers often operate under a series of names to avoid building up too bad a reputation.
Get a range of quotes from a number of tradesmen and use this process as an opportunity to sound out their personality. If you find them untrustworthy or overly pushy then don’t go with them – trust your gut instinct. Once you’ve got your quotes, remember that the price of the job being completed by a more expensive tradesman may be less than the price of having to clean up after a cowboy.
Before any work commences, check to see if your tradesman is a member of any trade bodies, and research the bodies to make sure they’re legit. Enquire about their level of liability insurance to make sure that they have adequate coverage. Don’t pay the whole quoted amount upfront; a good tradesman is unlikely to ask you to do this, and a cowboy will take your money and walk off the job with it.
Make sure that you and the tradesman you’ve chosen understand exactly what is expected at the completion of the job and get a written contract which guarantees it. Finally, once the job is completed – and if everything has gone smoothly – remember to recommend the tradesmen to your friends. Self-employed tradesmen rely on this kind of word-of-mouth advertising, and you’ll also be protecting your acquaintances from being preyed on by unscrupulous crooks.
When looking for buildings insurance check what is covered. Using a reputable provider such as The Co-operative Insurance can give you that added peace of mind.