Only Use Appropriately Accredited Trade Association

Use A Trade Association Registered Builder, Gas Fitter, Plumber or Electrician

Are you one of those people who will roll up their sleeves and are prepared to tackle even the most difficult of home improvement tasks or do you prefer to call in an expert tradesman, someone who has the knowledge and the tools to get in and get the job done right, a tradesmen belonging to an established UK trade association, or who has some other form trade accreditation?

Whatever your designs, a bedroom painted, kitchen updated, a roofing company to replace damaged roof tiles or someone to fix your cracked double glazing window pane, who do YOU turn to? Chances are you know someone personally who can recommend a tradesman, perhaps the roofing company that fixed Aunt Joan’s leaking loft extension. The real question is and has always been; what are the consequences of using a tradesman you don't really know?

To get a job done correctly you need to employ professional tradesmen, someone trusted; someone who works for a company which guarantees their work, comes well recommended by the local community and doesn't take your money and ride into the sunset. You just don't need a rogue builder at your home! That is why the FairTrades Association was established nearly 30 years ago.

Planning your home improvement works before you jump in head first

Before you start thumbing through the yellow pages, make a physical note detailing exactly what work you need a quotation for. Having an action plan in place gives the tradesmen you contact a better idea of the job to be tackled at the quotation stage. It works in your favour in other ways too. The home improvement quote can be priced more accurately meaning less chance of additional charges later and you are bound to get your quote back faster and with more detail.

So who should the homeowner call?

Picking a builders name from the telephone directory isn't always the best option anymore. You don’t know their work ethics or the quality of their work. Good tradesmen get their name out through recommendation and referral from previous customers. Try a tradesmens directory like ours or that of another trade association where possible. If you of people in your area who have had similar work done, drop by one afternoon after work and ask them about the home improvement company they used? Specifically, ask questions about the builders timekeeping, cleanliness, the quality of service, any guarantees or warrantees on the workmanship and of course how they rated value for money. Value for money is not the same as thing as cheapest price! Cheapest is not always best, if you want a job well done you often need to spend just that little bit more money. You get what you pay for when you buy DIY tools, home electronics and the same goes for home improvement works.

What if you don't know anyone in your area?

What if you don’t know anyone, maybe you’ve recently moved to a new village and need a highly rated trades person to do some work for you? Who do you turn to then?

There are several web sites that deal specifically with finding and recommending trades people. HomePro and the FairTrades Association both have a very good selection of trusted tradesmen listed in our national trade directories. Because our trade directories cover businesses from the entire country, home owners should be able to find a local tradesman when using our site. Find the trade type you need and scroll through the list of publicly vetted tradesmen listed in your local area. The listings will often be accompanied by customer testimonials and recommendations left by local people just like me and you who have used these home improvement companies to do work for them in the past.

The great thing about this type of vetting is that the tradesmen in these business directories value the work they get from these directories and they are also very proud of their reputations as good honest trades people. They have a lot to protect. This means they place great value in your business and go the extra mile to make sure their customers (you) get a great deal and most importantly that you are happy to recommend them based on the work they do for you.

However saying that, we still urge you to stop by a neighbour in your local area and ask them who they recently used, don't be shy, you will be surprised how homeowners will help each other, especially when it comes to making sure cowboy tradesmen don't get to operate in their community.

Quotes vs. Estimates from Trusted Tradesmen

HomePro recommend that homeowners get quotes from at least three highly rated people / companies. Why? Three quotes for the same job will give you a better idea of the true cost of the work you plan to have done. Remember, a quote is a fixed price whereas an estimate may change depending on many factors. If you change job details half way through the job, expect a new quote that may be a lot higher. Also use the quotes you are given to negotiate a better price from the tradesman you trust the most. It is a great bargaining tool after all. If you know that the scope of work may change once work has started an estimate should be obtained first. Try to agree a fixed price set against a specified target and once achieved you can always agree a new price based on the work that is still outstanding. This will give you the flexibility to complete any home improvements / renovations in stages and this may suit you when budgeting your finances.

If your chosen tradesman is a member of a trade association or other governing body, give that trade association a call for a reference and remember to ask if the company you are interested in using is still a fully paid up member of that trade association or trade body. If the trades-person does belong to a trade association, ask if the trades-person provides a personally guarantee their work, there is also something called an insurance backed guarantee so try have one included where possible. To find out more click on the link and if the work you are having done warrants an insurance backed guarantee ask if your tradesman for one to be included as part of the job. Remember that a tradesman is not allowed to sell you an insurance backed guarantee, nor is he allowed to advise you on any insurance product, unless he is FCA registered. All he is able to do is provide the IBG to you as part of the job. Even solar panel insurance backed guarantees are now available from companies like HomePro Insurance. Be sure to ask just how long the workmanship is guaranteed for and what manufacturer warranties you will get. High quality fixtures and fittings will have a better warranty period, something worth bearing in mind. Cutting your home improvement budget or taking short cuts can often result in disappointment, but we are sure you already know that.

Once you have finished deciding on which local tradesman or recommended builder will do the improvement works, get them to agree in writing exactly what the work is they will do, the date they will start work, a completion date and just just how much it will cost. Always ask about waste disposal up front of any contract being signed. A good tradesman will clean up after themselves, a great tradesman will remove all the rubbish after work as often as required. The importance of waste disposal depends on the work you have done. Gutting a bathroom will leave you with quite a mess so it is far more important that your plumber arranges to dispose of your old bathroom suite for you than if you have your bedroom repainted. Another example would be old roofing tiles which are very heavy, but quite valuable at the same time, so you should have no problem agreeing with your roofing company to take those tiles away for you at the end of the job. Plasterboard and asbestos are categorized as specialist waste and hence appropriate waste disposal needs to be arranged by your contractor before you sign on the dotted line.

Rogue Tradesmen - Undue Pressure To Buy - Doorstep Selling

Always use a tradesman who has a registered business address. It is a fact of life that many credible tradesmen do have home based businesses, so don't discriminate based on that fact. Look for headed paper with their address on it and ask for at least three prior references. Personally call those references and speak to previous customers. Never, ever use someone who comes knocking at your door without doing some homework on their credibility. You don’t know who they are so don’t use employ them on the spot. A reputable company will drop a flyer through your door and wait for you too call them. Never buy or sign any contracts during the first visit. A credible company will understand that you need time to make a decision. Insist on waiting for a quote to arrive in the post. This takes the pressure off you making a hasty decision. It would be even better for the home improvement company to drop of the price a few days later and explain how they got to that price for you. Being rushed is never a good thing, enlisting the help of a recommended trades person will give you peace of mind, but you must remain in control when choosing which quote to go with. Never put yourself in a position where a salesperson or builder is able to push you into a decision. That way you will always be happy with the end result.

Ask to see accreditation before agreeing to have gas or electrical work done on your home. There are thousands of illegal gas and electrical traders out there. Insist on proof of gas safe registration or in the case of an electrician the very least is a Part P certification. Ideally the electrician should be registered with a competent person scheme. This means that he can self-certify compliance with the building regulations. Such schemes include NICEIC, NAPIT, ELECSA, ECA and BSI. Always remember that you have rights. Never let strangers in your home unless you have another adult with you and if you feel that you need advice call a trade association like the FairTrades Association or even the Consumer watchdog or check out the governments advice >> Consumer rights by DirectGov

Keep the trades persons business card; when the job is done. You may need then to come back and correct something and you may need them to do work for you in the future. If they did a good job, you will want to recommend that tradesman to others. If you found your tradesman on a web site, make every effort to leave a referral so that others just like you can benefit from your happy experience.

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HomePro Ltd, 24 Nicholas Street, Chester, CH1 2AU
HomePro is the trading name of HomePro Ltd. Registered in England Company Number 3833783
HomePro Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA Number 304449
General Enquiries: (+44) 0800 131 0123 - Membership Enquiries: 0800 131 0500 - Fax: (+44) 0800 131 0900