Looking for a good tradesmen?
Top tips from the experts.
• “Word of mouth is still key,” says Michael Holmes, spokesperson for The National Homebuilding and Renovating Show (21-24 March, NEC, Birmingham).
• “Ask reputable people, and look at work the builder has done already.” Marishelle Gibson of The Country House Company, a property company in Hampshire, particularly favours local recommendations.
• The Federation of Master Builders advises not to pick the first name out of the telephone directory or to respond to unsolicited mail, flyers or callers at your door. Watch out for companies without addresses, mobile phones only and undetailed quotes. Instead, ask family, friends and neighbours to recommend builders they have used recently and search for professional tradespeople on the Federation of Master Builder's (FMB) website (fmb.org.uk/fab).
• Look at consumer websites that have a rating system, such as Rated People (ratedpeople.com), My Builder (mybuilder.com), ProblemSolved (problemsolved.co.uk) and Check a Trade (checkatrade.com). Trustmark (trustmark.org.uk) is a site, supported by consumer protection groups, that lists tradespeople who have met the government’s independent standards.
• Provide a detailed brief for the job and beware of people who are unusually keen to start work straight away. Never pay the full cost up front: instead, establish a payment schedule.
• Consider taking out a warranty for the work. Build Assure, part of the Federation of Master Builders, offers warranties specifically tailored to home-improvements (fmbuildassure.co.uk).
• If you’re not insured, and things go wrong, then firstly try to talk to the tradesperson to resolve things amicably. But if that can’t be done, and you’re left with incomplete work and overpayment, seek advice from Citizens Advice (adviceguide.org.uk), which provides practical help and advice for consumers following complaints about tradesmen. For recovery of money, Money Claim (moneyclaim.gov.uk), the Courts and Tribunals Service’s online claim facility can all be useful.
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This Money Matters post aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. Some links may take you to another Sainsbury's Bank page. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.