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If you are looking to have any kind of building work done on your home, you will need to find a reputable builder to carry out your repair or development. Unfortunately though, when it comes to tradesmen, there are many people who have had bad experiences and unless you find the right tradesman for the job, you could end up losing thousands of pounds and having further problems with your home. So you are probably wondering how you can avoid rogue tradesmen. There are a few different options, but essentially research and references are essential.

If you can, the best way to find a good builder or tradesman for any building work is to get a recommendation from a friends, neighbour or family member. This is first hand evidence that they are honest, trustworthy, reliable and offer a great service. There are dozens of websites online recommending various builders and tradesmen, but be weary. Many of these have been paid for or put there directly by the tradesmen themselves. So don’t believe everything you read. Even the most reputable websites aren’t reliable as they don’t check tradesmen properly, and are selective about the reviews they publish hence why there may not be any negative feedback or comments.

If you can’t find anyone that has done work for friends or family, then begin by getting at least three quotes for the work you need doing. This way you can judge the price properly as well as the service they offer and you can speak to them face to face when they come round to price everything up. This is also a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have and compare the answers. Always ask for references, and even if the builder seems ‘nice enough’, it is important to take references and speak to these people directly about the kind of work they did and the quality of the work. You can also try and look them up online, but many reputable builders or tradesmen don’t use websites etc, so don’t be put off straight away if you can’t find them on any websites.

Next, check how long they have been trading. You can check lots of details with Companies House and for a nominal £1 fee you can even download all of their accounts and annual reports. Many firms build up huge debts or bad reputations before declaring themselves bankrupt and starting all over again in a new name. Finding out how long they have been trading can verify whether they are a longstanding reputable company or not.

Get a written quote including all the details regarding responsibility of waste disposal, materials, labour and anything else which is or isn’t included in the price. You don’t want to end up with any nasty surprises. Don’t accept a verbal quote as it’s hard to prove what was agreed unless it is simply for a small job. Lastly, don’t be tempted by low prices, as there is usually a reason why prices are so low and most of the time they cannot produce the work agreed for the price, either using poor quality materials or poor workmanship, causing problems down the line.

by Cormac Henderson

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