We’ve all been there – the oven breaks just before you’re due to have friends round for dinner, and you decide to put your DIY skills to the test. An hour later, with little to show for your efforts – and no sign of dinner – your significant other says, “We should probably call an expert”. You sulk off, reluctantly admitting defeat…
Sometimes we all need a helping hand, and it’s important to know the job is being taken care of by someone trustworthy, who will provide the best service possible. Which is why we’ve compiled a list of key things to look out for to ensure you don’t fall victim to a dodgy trader, and aren’t left disappointed or out of pocket.
Spotting the ‘Cowboys’
Where there is good there is bad, and even downright ugly. Over time, you’ve probably heard many stories of unhappy customers falling for the lure of an unbelievably cheap quote, and being left with a less than satisfactory job, as a ‘cowboy builder’ rides off with his ill-earned cash.
Quality not quantity
It’s never a great sign when your trader is keen to get the job done as quickly as possible. Of course, you don’t want the job to take longer than necessary, but a trustworthy trader’s top priority should be quality – not doing a rushed job to make some quick cash.
If the tradesperson insists on being paid in cash for the whole job upfront, then you should be questioning their credibility – and skills. Whilst it is normal to pay for the costs of materials, you should only have to pay in full when you’ve seen the quality of the work and finished result – and ensured it is of the agreed standard.
Get it in writing
The trader should provide you with a written estimate of the final costs for the brief you have given – this way there won’t be any disputes on what was agreed when it comes to payment at the end. This also gives you the opportunity to compare quotes with other tradespeople. A trustworthy trader should also be able to provide the necessary details and proof of insurance.
Always listen to word-of-mouth references from people whose opinion you trust and value. Your friends or family will have a good understanding of your expectations – and you’ll be able to find out what their experience with the trader was like. Not to mention you’ll be able to see the tradesperson’s finished work first-hand.
Finding the One
To point you in the right direction of some trusty traders, we’ve picked three of our top places to look when you’re searching for the best possible people for the job…
Statistically, Checkatrade have been the first choice for customers since 1998 when it comes to finding a trader – and it’s not hard to see why. Through the site, you can search for a tradesperson based on your location and what field of work you require, as well as view millions of reviews from other customers. Checkatrade pride themselves on honesty and efficiency, and aim to respond to all customers within 24 hours. They’re meticulous in ensuring their tradespeople have the right credentials too – traders have to undergo professional interviews, I.D. checks, trading history research, as well as providing proof of public liability insurance.
Trust A Trader
Another website that puts you in control is Trust A Trader, with a directory of thousands of local traders, all with company profiles and reviews from previous customers to help solidify your decision. They largely rely on personal recommendations, and ensure all their tradespeople are members of relevant trade associations with at least two years’ experience – making them one of the most trusted online directories for traders. Their directory includes tradespeople from a vast array of trades and trade associations, and they even have an easily accessible app to make the process quick and simple, as well as reliable.
Endorsed by the government, TrustMark are a public-sector company with the largest online database in the country for accredited tradespeople. Their rigorous standard codes are also reassuring. They require all firms to offer an insurance backed warranty – meaning you are able to make a claim if something goes wrong, even if the firm has ceased trading. TrustMark’s search engine puts you in control of finding a tradesperson, and they even provide a user–friendly step-by-step guide on how to resolve any disputes. You can also download their free App, which will prompt you to ask all the right questions when it comes to choosing a trader.
We firmly believe that finding the right trader shouldn’t be a laborious task for anyone – and with these handy tips and recommendations we hope it won’t be!