Everything You Need To Know To Hire Professional, Trustworthy Contractors

It can be a daunting prospect letting tradespeople into your home. You’re trusting them to work on what is likely to be your largest asset and your main refuge from the world. The place you feel safe, secure, and happy.

It’s vital you know what you’re getting when you hire someone to work on or in your property. A poor job can be stress inducing, costly to put right, and potentially dangerous. So, what can you do to make sure the tradespeople you’re hiring know what they’re doing and are trustworthy, reputable professionals?

At Property Gene we have a process, and this helps safeguard against rogue tradesmen and cowboy builders. We’ve all heard the horror stories. Make sure yours isn’t one of them by taking these steps to find the right, quality tradespeople for your project.

1. Work out exactly what you want before you start

Knowing what your project involves before you start looking will save you time, stress, and money.

  • Know what your project is: If you ask someone to quote but you’re a bit vague on the work you need it will be difficult for them to give you a reliable cost estimate.
  • Work out your budget: This makes it easier for you and the tradesperson to determine if you have realistic expectations based on their prices and are a good match. Remember you may also need to set aside a contingency amount. Typically, this would be around 5-10% of your budget. However, with rising inflation it makes sense to allow for an extra 10-15%.
  • Target the right companies: Make sure you’ll get the service you need. There’s no point asking a builder specialising in new builds to quote for a project requiring specialist renovation skills (more below!). If you have a large project that needs various inter-dependent tradesman to turn up at different times, it may be worth choosing a larger company. They will coordinate this saving you the headache.
  • Know your desired time scale: Do you need someone to start as soon as possible? Should it fit round holidays or time off work, for example? Is there a date your work must be done by? Is it partly or completely weather dependent? Or can you be flexible and wait for the right tradesperson to be available? Knowing the time scale you’re aiming for will help you make the right decisions.
2. Start your search

Use all avenues available to you for your initial search:

  • Personal recommendations: ask people you trust if they can recommend anyone.
  • Online groups: most communities have Facebook groups dedicated to local knowledge. You can ask for recommendations or search for other people’s.
  • Search online: online searches will bring up local companies. Just bear in mind a higher listing doesn’t mean better, and a website doesn’t guarantee a valid business.
  • Use online directories: various online directories list tradespeople but they’re not all created equal. Many just require an inclusion fee or charge per enquiry. Unlike Property Gene, they won’t necessarily have made all the right checks.
  • Look locally: if you pass a tradesman’s board outside a house you may be able to chat with them or the homeowner and even see examples of their work.

Hire Professional, High Quality and Trustworthy Contractors

3. Find out if the company/tradesman does what they claim to

It’s all very well saying you offer a high-end finish, only use top-quality materials, or have thousands of happy clients – but it must be backed up with evidence.

  • Look for testimonials/recommendations. Company websites and Facebook pages usually offer testimonials. We’ve mentioned online groups but beware of friends, relatives, or networking groups recommending tradespeople without having used them. A legitimate company should happily contact former customers who would be willing to talk to you.
  • Check out their work: Ask to see examples. Most tradespeople take pictures of their finished work. If they don’t maybe they’re not proud of it.
  • Look for passion: People who are passionate about their job and invested in doing it properly will be enthusiastic and engaged. If they’re disinterested and dismissive, they may well approach their work similarly.
  • Establish experience: Check they have relevant experience that can be applied to your project. If they claim to be ‘master’ builders, carpenters, or so on, make sure it is backed up with qualifications, trade association membership and/or experience they can evidence.
  • Check the government Competent Persons Register if necessary: if your project requires building regulations approval it will need to be done by a ‘competent person’.
  • Protect yourself against con artists: Confirm companies have been trading for as long as they claim and they’re active, not dormant or dissolved. It’s a common trick to build up debt and declare bankruptcy.
4. Have all the facts

No one wants to make a decision without all the information to hand.

  • Get three quotes: It’s a good idea to get three quotes in writing. Make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t included and where there might be extras you’ll need to factor in. Always confirm quotes include VAT so it doesn’t turn out to cost 20% more than you expected. And always compare like with like.
  • Check timings: Make sure your chosen contractor can realistically match the dates and deadlines you need. It’s often worth planning ahead and waiting for a busy contractor to find space in their diary.
  • Check quote validity dates: with the cost of goods rising due to the impact of COVID-19, Brexit and higher shipping and energy prices, check how long a contractor is guaranteeing their prices for. Quotes were generally valid for 6 months, but many tradespeople can no longer commit to this: prices may be stated as valid for a much shorter period.
  • Check payment schedules: depending on the work you’re having done you may need to make an upfront payment to allow the contractor to purchase materials. There may be established milestones and/or dates for subsequent payments so make sure you can meet these. Make sure you have agreed a final payment date that allows for snagging issues to be addressed at no further cost.
  • Protect yourself: Ask to see any relevant documentation including public liability and professional indemnity insurance. If a company is VAT registered, they will have a VAT registration number: if you can’t see one on their quote or invoice ask for it, as rogue traders sometimes try to pocket an extra 20% by ‘charging’ VAT.
  • Speak to your insurer if necessary: larger projects or certain types of work may mean you need to notify your household insurer or your insurance may become invalid. Make sure you do this before you start your project.

Because we know from experience how important it is to find reputable, professional, and reliable tradesman we’ve done the research for you. Property Gene knows what to consider when recommending tradespeople and we only do it for companies meeting all our criteria. Do your research and make sure you’ve got the right tradespeople on your shortlist with Property Gene.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Hire Professional, High Quality and Trustworthy Contractors