What are the risks when hiring professionals to work on your home?
If you own your own home, the reality is that you are going to need to hire a professional to come over from time to time to fix problems. Whether it’s a gas engineer to fix a boiler or a painter and decorator to give everything a bit of a refresh, there are lots of different varieties of professionals out there who you might call upon.
However, it can be really hard to source the right professional, especially if this is the first time you’ve owned a home or been responsible for the maintenance of one. You may face people trying to rip you off, for example, or you could end up with a cowboy tradesperson who doesn’t do the job well. This guide will explain how you can reduce the risks involved.
Hiring a cowboy
In the home renovation world, a “cowboy” refers to a so-called professional who does a botched job on your home and leaves you to deal with the aftermath. For them, of course, it’s a great deal as they get the cash for doing little actual work. For you, it can quickly turn into the stuff of nightmares. It can leave you with lots of wasted cash, for example, while it can also cause you to have to hire someone else or perform horrendous clean-up.
When hiring a professional, you can slash the risk that you’ll end up with a cowboy by choosing someone who has great reviews. These reviews may be online in nature, perhaps through the use of social networking websites such as Facebook or specific review platforms like Trustpilot. Alternatively, it could just be an old-fashioned word of mouth which works best. Why not ask neighbours and friends in the area for their recommendations?
Bad value for money
In a separate but related category to the cowboy builder is the sort of builder who does a proper job, but who charges an obscenely high amount to do it. There are all kinds of reasons why a building professional might decide to try their luck and overcharge you. You might, for example, give off the appearance of not knowing the market – especially if you’re a first-time buyer. They also might be offering a service that not many others offer, which deprives the market of accurate information about the going rates.
Before you get worried that you might be being ripped off, though, it’s wise to ask for an itemised breakdown of costs and do some research. It could be that the price of raw material or service has gone up since you last procured it. In any case, getting quotes from three unconnected potential providers is a good way to put your mind at rest.
In the building and home renovation trades, some professionals work on the basis that customers are there to be bamboozled. You may run the risk of finding a professional who comes to your home and explains things in complex or even fear-mongering terms, perhaps as a way of scaring you off asking someone else to do the work or to create a sense of urgency.
However, there’s no reason why you can’t get a second opinion when you’re going through the process of getting quotes. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the second professional you invite to visit your home is much more courteous and good at explaining things than the first is – and if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
Check for regulation
When hiring a professional to do work on your house, it’s always wise to double-check that they are regulated – or even licensed – by a relevant authority in that field. There are plenty of reasons to do this. First off, it might mean that you have some recourse in the event that the job goes wrong. You may be able to claim against the company or professional who did it, for example, or you might be able to get them struck off.
It’s important to invest some time and energy in locating the right regulatory body and to check with them about the professional in question. If you’re having work done on your boiler, for example, it’s best to check that that the professional is Gas Safe registered. While for extensions and other building work, a scan of the Federation of Master Builders’ register is wise for ensuring that you’re hiring a competent and professionally respected person to knock down your walls or build your new space.
Go with your gut
Finally, don’t be afraid to assess the professionals you’re considering hiring from an instinctive perspective as well. Sometimes, there might not be a clear reason why someone’s services don’t seem quite right or seem risky in some way. If this occurs to you, the best thing to do is to just politely remove the professional from your options and carry on looking. After all, your home is most likely your biggest asset, and there’s no point taking additional risks – especially if you’re thinking of selling sooner or later.
Hiring professionals to come and visit your home to give quotes and do work is fraught with risks, but it doesn’t have to be. By following this guide and ensuring that you apply common sense as you embark on any home renovation project, you’ll be able to ensure that it doesn’t break the bank – or, indeed, any of your appliances or fittings.
A common reason why people hire professionals is, of course, to sell their house on for a profit. However, if you’re finding that your property can’t sell even after it’s had a bit of a spruce-up, don’t despair. Instead, just visit this page and see if we can help.