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Phil Spencer on Working with Builders

When it’s time to do up your property, you have a choice between using a qualified builder or attempting a spot of DIY. While DIY is seen as the cheaper route, I’ve seen many failed attempts that don’t just look bad, but put people in danger. If you’re not skilled to carry out the jobs yourself, consider using a tradesman to keep you and your family safe. It’ll be worth the £100 a day minimum for basic work and even the £200 upwards for more detailed, skilled work.

working with builders

Image Source: Home Adore

Inviting a tradesman into your home can be daunting. When you’re unsure about what to expect, you’re more likely to turn to DIY or fall into what I call the ‘leave well alone’ group. If it’s not you, chances are you have a friend who is a member of the ‘leave well alone’ clan – complaining that his or her house needs improvement but making no attempt to kickstart the process.

When working with builders one thing to remember is that knowledge is power. If you do your research beforehand, you won’t be as afraid to ask questions and your builder will appreciate you taking the time to understand what you want from the project.

Your home is your most important asset, so you’re well in your right to be protective of it. But, keep in mind that while builders might not always be right, they have experience under their belts and they’re likely to know what will work in your home. In a sense, they will know your home better than you do –at least structurally!

find a builder

Image Source: Home Adore

I’ve heard of small hurdles popping up in even the most organised projects. While your builder will handle the tough job for you, you will still need to make lots of decisions yourself to ensure that the finished work is as you expected. It might be choosing a toilet seat, taps, sockets, colour schemes or perhaps a sink for the bathroom. Whatever it is, give yourself plenty of time and don’t panic. Last minute decisions are a recipe for disaster and home improvements aren’t always black and white. With that in mind, remember that if you do delay making decisions, then there can be delays in waiting for the materials to arrive. It’s not your builder’s fault if the project takes a little longer because of this.

Often, you’ll need to do a bit of digging (or your builder will) to uncover problems beneath the surface. Walls and floorboards are prime locations for this. Because of this and unforeseen delays with materials, you shouldn’t be too hard on your builder in expecting a job to finish exactly on time. You can find that it takes a third longer than expected to complete a project but if it gets the desired results and your builder is forthcoming with information, I don’t think it’s worth rushing.

hire a builder

Image Source: Home Adore

To give you peace of mind, make sure to ask if the tradesman has public liability insurance and ask to see a copy. PLI covers the tradesman and usually everyone else on the property, from a personal injury claim and damage to your property. The amount varies from £1 million to £5 million depending on how much has been paid for. It’s a must for challenging projects with higher risks and you’ll feel more at ease knowing that if the tradesman has an accident in your home or causes damage, it’ll be the insurance company paying out to cover it.

Go in prepared and you’ll find that your building project will run smoothly!


Looking for tradesmen you can trust? Post your job on Rated People and up to three tradesmen will get in touch to quote on your job. You’ll be able to view their individual profiles, complete with previous customer recommendations, to help you decide who to hire.

Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer doesn’t need much of an introduction, he’s TV’s most well-known property presenter, having co-presented Location, Location, Location and Relocation, Relocation for over 10 years. Phil'ls blog posts focus on adding value and advice/ tips for when you're buying or selling your house.

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  1. I have an existing four bed house and adding a two bedroom side extension with kitchen extended into garden by 4m. A builder has quoted me £85K…for this he will complete the whole house. He’s left me books and said choose whatever you want… should I write a contract to assure that he delivers exactly what I want once he starts work?

  2. I had a firm from your sight, come to do work in my, they were a disaster, ref were submitted online, a Polish company came along, nobody could speak English, the man designated to do the work, resigned after two days, a man a cousin, was bought in from Poland. Replacing a membrane was a total disaster, it was thin, and weeds grew through it, almost as soon as it was down, because they spoke no English, I could not instruct them, the fencing was not good quality work, this business about coming to your sight and getting good quality workmanship is rubbish, or in my case it was. I could have picked some firm from the telephone directory and got a better job done

  3. Well the builder who replied to my job didn’t even have the curtesy to ring me which has seriously delayed the job being started, it was only for a small gully so hardly difficult.
    Not impressed at all. Don’t think I would use this site again tbh.

  4. Submitted job to this page and was told 170 tradepersons looking at the job but not one person had the decency to reply

  5. You advised unsatisfied customers to contact your customer service but it would be helpful if you had given information on any redress to dissatisfied customers.

  6. I have what seems like a good fella to price my job.which i am happy can I check he’s insured for anything that could go wrong.i have just placed it on people’s rated.wich I assume are rated and come with insurance .I am not too worried if something goes wrong it does happen.i just need to know the builder takes responsibility through insurance .Do this make sence

    1. Hi Linda,

      I would ask your tradesperson whether he has public liability insurance and ask for proof of this (a certification). Keep in mind that tradespeople aren’t legally required to have insurance but many will, to cover against accidental damage and injury. If you have any other questions, our customer care team can help. You can reach them through [email protected].


  7. Disappointed with I was lead to believe by advertising my job I would be contacted with companies where I could read clients reviews. I have been approached by 2 companies, neither of which have any reviews on this site. I may as well have pluck two names out of the telephone directory. A waste of mine time and theirs.

    1. Hi Mandy,

      I’m sorry to hear you’re disappointed. We operate a closed-loop rating system which basically means that only homeowners who have posted a job through us can leave a rating for a tradesperson. When a tradesperson’s new to our service, they need to build up their ratings. If anything, these tradespeople are even more keen to do a great job in order to get that first rating and start building them up as they know it’ll allow them to get more work from homeowners like yourself. I’d recommend asking to see previous work (they might have their own websites with reviews from past customers and photos of jobs that they’ve sourced elsewhere). I’d also encourage you to follow all the advice in our homeowner checklist at

      I hope this helps and you find a great tradesperson for your job.


  8. I am really worried as I posted my job yesterday before I saw all the negative comments listed in your comments section. Reviews and recommendations are of important when selecting a trade’s person but you give the impression in your replies that this is not a concern in your eyes. How do you rate the people on your site and what criteria do you use.

    1. Hi Richard,

      The ratings on a tradesperson’s profile come from homeowners like yourself that have posted a job through our site. As a homeowner, you’re able to leave feedback at any point once a tradesperson shows an interest in your posting. This helps ensure all ratings are non-biased – both negative and positive feedback can be left. If a tradesperson doesn’t have ratings, this doesn’t reflect on their ability to do a good job. It may be that they’re new to our site so will be wanting to work hard to get that first rating. In that instance, we recommend that you follow the advice in our homeowner checklist (, particularly around asking to see a portfolio of previous work and speaking with previous customers. If you need any further help, please email [email protected] and our customer care team will be happy to have a chat with you. I hope it all goes well.

  9. Guys
    I’m a little disappointed seeing so much negative feedback on ‘Rated People’. I live in a ‘poor’ part of Glasgow and tried several ‘recommended’ tradespeople over three months without success: coming next week, promises of estimates and patiently I waited over two months for any response and any interest in helping me.

    Exasperated I approached Rated People and honestly wasnt expecting much: seriously low expectations! BUT quick response, quick delivery of quote and quick delivery of service.

    So, please note my own very positive feedback on (so far) two contractors: one plumbing and one joinery I’m now approaching RP for a builder and I’m hoping/ expecting that my new expectations will be satisfied

  10. You say homeowners post reviews after they have posted a job. Do you make sure a job has taken place before a review can be posted? I have heard of ‘tradesmen’ and family/friends posting their own reviews.

    1. Hi Maggie, we have a closed-loop rating system which is unique to our site. A homeowner can post a review once a tradesperson has bought their job. This is so that a homeowner can rate a tradesperson on the quality of their workmanship, their experience of the quoting stage and the price of the job. A homeowner may wish to rate a tradesperson at the quoting stage once they’ve spoken to them over the phone or had them round to look at the work, regardless of whether they decide to hire them.

  11. Hi
    I have just posted my job on rated people and is waiting for a response from a tradesperson. I am very concerned now after reading all those negative feedbacks. You always read/hear about tradespeople ripping you off especially someone on their own. I am just hoping for a positive outcome when I eventually is contacted by a tradesperson.

    1. Hi Martha, over 1,000,000 jobs are posted through our site every year and the vast majority happen without any issues. If you experience any problems at all with a tradesperson you hire, please do get in touch with our customer service team. They’ll be more than happy to have a chat with you and offer advice. You can reach them at:

  12. Hi I’m just wondering before I post my job. Builder have to pay for my details to price my work. Does this give me a obligation to use one of your contractors or can I still use a outside company if I’m not happy ?

    1. Hi Scott, you’re under no obligation to accept a quote from the tradespeople on our site. However, we would ask that you cancel/withdraw your job if you’re no longer looking for a tradesperson and had less than the maximum of 3 quotes at the time. If this were to happen and a tradesperson let us know that they couldn’t quote, we’d email you asking you to confirm that they didn’t give you a quote for the job. I hope this helps.

  13. Hi! My usual handyman was unexpectedly off work. I used RP for the paint job ready to go. Three painters contacted me in 3 hours. By the middle of the day the job was started by a competent guy. He asked for and revived good money. He also did a few extras politely and left the place clean. I would use RP again.

    1. Hi Julia, when you post a job through our site, the details get put in front of tradespeople who cover your area and are a match to the trade and skill you need. After that, up to 3 tradespeople pay a small fee for the chance to give you a quote on the work (an average of 1-2). It’s then up to you to choose who to hire based on the info in their profile pages which we email you a link to, and additional checks which we advise in our homeowner checklist. I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, our team will be happy to help. You can contact them through [email protected].

  14. Hi,
    I used Rated People to source an Electrician to fit some lights in my property. Pete quoted for the job, arrived on time, was very friendly and knowledgeable, carried out the work efficiently, and to a good standard. will definitely use Rated People again


  15. Hi. I have had such difficulties in choosing the right off white paint for the exterior of our building. Can you give me an alternative masonry paint colour to replicate K rend Polar white similar to the modern kitchen open plan extension at the top of this page. Many thanks.

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