The homeowner checklist

Before you choose a tradesperson, have a look through these tips. It’s full of support and guidance about what to look for, what qualifications to check, and how best to make a contract. For specific questions, you can also ask a question to our community of tradespeople.

Certificates and accreditations

  • Gas Safe – By law, all tradespeople must be Gas Safe registered to carry out gas work. Registered tradespeople carry a personal ID card, so check their licence number and expiry date. When tradespeople join us, a Gas Safe certification is one of the things we check. Only Gas Safe registered tradespeople are able to purchase these types of job.
  • Part P – Most electrical work in your property requires a tradesperson to have a Part P qualification. Ask to see proof of your tradesperson’s Part P credentials. If you need to, you can also contact your local building authority to check if someone is certified. In Scotland and Northern Ireland the Part P certificate isn’t a requirement but it’s definitely something to look out for if you want someone who sets themselves apart from the rest.
  • SafeContractor – The SafeContractor blue seal of approval means that a tradesperson’s procedures, policies, training and insurances have been rigorously audited by our partner SafeContractor. Tradespeople approved by SafeContractor have demonstrated a history of working to high levels of health and safety, giving you additional confidence when selecting a tradesperson.
  • TrustMark – TrustMark is the only government endorsed scheme for the trades industry and acts as a quality stamp for tradespeople who have this logo on their profile. TrustMark-accredited tradespeople have been through a vetting process and meet high standards in trading practices, customer service and technical competence.

Reputation

  • Ratings – You’ll find the tradesperson’s ratings on their profile page, which we email you once a tradesperson wants to quote for your job. Check their ratings to find out what experiences other homeowners have had. Tradespeople are rated on quality, reliability and value, meaning you can make a more informed decision on who to hire. Read more about how our ratings work.
  • Previous work – Everyone makes decisions slightly differently but using previous work is a useful way of judging if someone is right for your job. For larger jobs, we recommend you ask to view the tradesperson’s portfolio, speak to previous customers and if possible, visit previous jobs.

The contract

  • The quote – Be clear on the difference between an estimate and a quote. An estimate is a rough price and is not binding. It’s a useful starting point. However, before work starts, ask for a quotation for the work as discussed or agreed. The quote should include a detailed job specification, price, conditions of work and a payment schedule.
  • VAT – It’s a good idea to check if the quote you receive includes VAT. If it doesn’t include VAT, you’ll be paying 20% on top. Any good tradesperson will make this clear, but it’s something to keep in mind.
  • Deposit – A deposit should always be documented with a detailed invoice. As a guide, a deposit should be less than 20% of the overall job price but enough to cover the tradesperson’s tools, materials and travel costs.
  • Payment schedule – A quote should outline the payment schedule the tradesperson can expect during the job. This helps to avoid any misunderstanding later on. Each stage of the payment schedule should be documented with an invoice, and should only cover work that has clearly been completed. Never pay the full cost of the job up front.
  • Subcontractors – Not all tradespeople who do the quote carry out the work themselves. They may work alongside other subcontractors, or hire subcontractors to complete the entire job. While this is perfectly normal, it’s good to clarify this up front.
  • Guarantees – A tradesperson will guarantee their workmanship for a period of time. Make sure you have clarified what this period is and that you have the relevant paperwork if you need to make a claim at a later stage.

Tips from Phil Spencer

Our brand ambassador and Channel 4’s property guru, Phil Spencer, put this blog post together for us which includes even more handy info about choosing the right tradesperson.

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