Phil Spencer on How to Find Trusted Tradesmen
Getting the builders in can be a daunting prospect, especially if it’s a large project. For specialised jobs such as electrical repairs, boilers and plumbing jobs I would always advise calling in an experienced and trusted tradesman – I have seen enough bodged DIY projects to know that a specialist job requires a specialist!
There are pros and cons to hiring a tradesman. The obvious advantage is the quality of the end result; trusted tradesmen will do a quality job that looks good and lasts. They will also get the job done a lot quicker than an amateur. If – which it so often does – go wrong, trusted tradesmen will be able to trouble shoot and use their experience to rectify the problem, often finding ways to overcome problems cost effectively.
The key to having a good relationship with your tradesman often comes down to choosing the right one in the first place. I think a good recommendation is worth its weight in gold. Three is the magic number when it comes to getting quotes: provide a clear brief outlining the work that needs to be done, with an estimate of your budget. As I said, recommendations are a must, word-of-mouth is often the first point of call, but a choice of three trusted tradesmen is always a plus.
How to find tradesmen
Like most things home improvements have moved online, you can now find a tradesman at the click of a mouse. Trade recommendation sites, like RatedPeople.com, allow you to enter your job description and budget, they then match you with trusted tradesmen in your local area. Your job is sent out to local tradesmen and up to three will pay a small fee to be put in contact with you, so you know they are serious about doing your job. Each tradesman will quote for your job and you’ll be able to read recommendations and ratings based on quality, reliability and value for money from their previous customers.
Rated People conduct identity checks on their tradesmen. As well as Gas Safe accreditation checks they also ask tradesmen for Part P (electrical qualifications) and Public Liability Insurance (PLI) – these can be seen on the tradesmen’s profile pages. A word of advice, check and double check, you’re letting this person into your home! Ask to see their qualifications, if they’re a good tradesman and qualified to do the job they won’t have any qualms in showing you. PLI isn’t essential, but for larger jobs it’s required in case there are any accidents. It covers personal injury and damage to the property, typically from £1 – £5 million.
It’s not all about what other people say about them and their qualifications however, you need to feel comfortable with having this person in your home. Hire someone who not only comes with a track record and recommendations from previous customers, but also someone who you feel you can trust.
It doesn’t stop there, once you’ve hired your tradesman ensure you’ve got a written quotation with start and completion times and agreed payment terms, before work begins. Do not make payment upfront, pay on completion – which for larger projects may be done in stages. Ask the tradesman to write VAT into the agreement, some tradesmen provide quotes without VAT to make them look cheaper. By asking them to write it in you won’t have a nasty surprises when you see the final price. However, be aware that tradesmen may need money upfront for materials.