A Good old Fashioned Keep Calm message
MOST tradies are honest, host Chris Hollins tells us, but a few “turn rogue”, as if they’re elite secret agents who stop following protocol.
That cloak-and-dagger theme is carried throughout the episode as Hollins ropes in Roger, an honest tradesman who agrees to carry out some of the more common tradesmen cons on people volunteered by their friends, to see if they fall for them. The presentation is absurd, but then every time I have my car serviced and the mechanic phones me to inform me of all the problems he’s found, there’s a gnawing sense of powerlessness because I have no idea whether what he says is reasonable or not. Beyond the silly hidden camera antics dragged out on shows such as this, there is some useful advice on hiring a tradesman and minimising the chances you’ll be ripped off. While some of it is obvious — get a quote before the start of the job, then get two more from other tradies — I must admit I’m guilty of not always taking these precautions. With this and other shows such as Cowboy Trap coming out of Britain, you have to wonder if they have more shonky tradies or they just like making shows about them. You’d have to pity the honest tradies who must be met with a constant sense of suspicion as a result.
These are our golden rules to help you find a tradesman that you can rely on and to help you get the job done.
If you follow these tips when choosing a tradesman you will maximise your chances of getting a quality job carried out.
1. Understand the job you want doing and have a clear brief on the work you require doing. Being clear in your requirements removes any misunderstandings. Understanding your job and having a clear brief saves lots of waisted time, including your own.
2. Obtain an appropriate number of written and detailed quotes. Generally 3 quotes is considered an acceptable number to get a broad range of prices. Check to see if the quote is prepared professionally and has all the tradesman’s contact details and so on.
3. Use our website to research the background and feedback from other customers on the tradesmen. This will allow you to see exactly how they have worked with other customers which is a very good indicator to how your job will be carried out.
4. Carry out additional due diligence on the tradesman. Are they members of any governing bodies, do they carry any client testimonials, do they have landline/email/website points of contact, do they have public liability insurance and so on. Check with your local trading standards to see if any complaints have been registered. All these items can be checked quite easily nowadays.
5. Select your tradesman based on all factors and not just price. As we tell all customers the price is only one factor and whilst important it should not be the sole deciding reason for selecting a tradesperson. Remember to let any unsuccessful people who have quoted know they have been unsuccessful also.
6. Always try and use a written contract which ensures their is no ambuiguity between tradesman and customer. This should include everything from timescales, payment terms and so on. If neccessary get the contract checked by an independant legal advisor before entering in to it. Understand your cancellation rights as a consumer also.
7. If their are any changes or extras to the work during the course of the job ensure they are put in writing and the time/payment costs incurred due to these changes are agreed by both parties.
If you are instructing a contractor to carry out work and they are not able to provide details of things you ask such as insurance documents or contracts then you should ask yourself the question why. Keeping open and easy communication always helps too when undertaking a project, if you spot something you are unhappy with you should mention it as soon as you notice it.
If you follow these useful tips when choosing a tradesman then this will minimise your chances of encountering poor workmanship.
If in doubt do not hesitate to contact us for free impartial advice.
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Local Builders | Find a local Builder | 6 Steps to Success
Tradesman4u has a network of local and recommended Builders
If you are looking for a recommended local builder, then in order to avoid contracting a cowboy you need to head to the internet to choose a tradesman with impartial reviews.
chances of finding a quality tradesperson and minimise the risk of poor workmanship. The internet allows everyone to be reviewed and gives consumers the ability to publicly rate the work any particular tradesman has carried out.
Our 6 steps to success for choosing and instructing a local builder or tradesperson are:-
1. Set a realistic budget and do some research on the nature of your project. For example checking if you need planning or change of use etc. If so, ensure they are factored into your budget. TOP TIP – Remember to be realistic with your budget also if you want a quality job doing. A shoestring budget may result in disappointment and sometimes its better to wait.
2. Once you have a budget and confirmation that you are in a position to proceed with a job you should post your job for free on our website. When posting your job be as thorough as possible in your job description to ensure the process starts as smoothly as it can.
3. Look to obtain the appropriate number of tenders/quotes for the job you are looking at doing. If you are looking at a reasonably small project then around 3 quotes is usually sufficient. If it’s a particularly large job then perhaps you may look towards 5 quotes. Remember that after 3 or 4 quotes it is unlikely you are going to shave much off the prices as you should have a good ballpark figure for what the job is. If after 3 or 4 quotes none are within budget then its realistic to think it’s probable your budget forecast was insufficient in the first place rather than keep trying to get the job done for less money. TOP TIP Remember the chances are there is always someone out there who will appear to offer you a ‘great’ price but ask yourself if you’ve set a budget of £10,000 and had 4 quotes with prices of £15,000, £15,900, £14,700 and £9,500 then its likely your budget is wrong and the quality of the work may not be what you want. Often the cheapest price can be the most expensive! Ensure also you know the situation with regards VAT on the quote.
4. Once you have spoken to the builders you have received quotes from start to filter them down. Don’t simply go off price (whilst important, a decision on your tradesman should never be based solely on price), read feedback left from our other community members to get a feel for how others have found them, check their professional qualification or that they are members of a relevant trade associations. If appropriate ask to see examples of previous work, many Builders have portfolio pictures along with testimonials on work they have completed in the past. Use your gut feeling too, someone may have been reasonable on price but if you didn’t get the right feel or rapport with them then maybe they are not the right tradesman for you. TOP TIP Use a combination of price, punctuality, ratings, experience and tummy feel to choose the contractor thats best for you.
5. Once you have selected a builder based on the above criteria, it is courteous to let the unsuccessful builders know that you have placed the order elsewhere. If you are uncomfortable in making a telephone call to them then a quick email, voicemail or even text is sufficient. Afterall the tradespeople have taken time to provide you with advice and quotations it is only courtesy to at least let them know they haven’t been successful. TOP TIP It is easier in the long run to let any unsuccessful tenders know about it as chances are they will at some poit look to chase up the quote they have given to you and this will prevent any waisted time or unwanted phonecalls.
6. Once you have everything in writing and you are happy to proceed ensure that timescales, payments schedules and possibly even contracts have all been agreed and signed off. Most builders will be able to discuss with you things such as JCT contracts and even third party payment protectors for both customer and builder benefit. Some builders may ask for payment in advance for materials, others may not and therefore the discussion and sign off process is very important. TOP TIP It is very important to protect your money and we advise as much due diligence as possible before handing over any funds but also remember that it is equally important to any reputable builder that payment terms are clear and the funds are in place to cover the full value of the contract. There are many examples of cowboy builders but there are also many examples of cowboy customers so keep everything clear and transparent in order to prevent any misunderstandings.
If you follow these steps when commissioning a local builder you should generally have a very happy experience and minimise the risk to yourself of any shoddy workmanship. If you’ve followed these steps, and have agreed an incremental payment process also then the risk to both tradesman and customer will be massively reduced.
Get connected with our network of local builders now for free.
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Find a Tradesman the fast and easy way
If you have ever needed to find a tradesman quickly and easily then we are glad to say that we can help. Tradesman4u.com is proud to introduce its innovative and user friendly website designed to make finding a tradesman easy, quick and free.
The website allows visitors to freely post details of the work they require doing in their home and then the system does the rest. If for example you were looking for a Blackpool Builder
then all you would need to do is select the appropriate options from the dropdown boxes on the homepage and tradesman4u will then instantly notify their registered members by both text and email of the details of your work.
Find a tradesman
From there all the interested builders in the Blackpool area who are available and ready to provide you with quotes will contact you based on the information you provided. They are provided with your name, telephone number and the description you input when posting the job. This makes the process much easier for the customer as the builder has all the details they need in front of them.
Once you have been contacted by the tradesmen interested the customer can sign back into their account and they will see the details of the builders and have the ability to read through previous feedback left by other customers who have used their services.
Once you have instructed your workman and the job is completely you can then return to tradesman4u.com and leave appropriate feedback for them
Why not check it out today.