Sometimes when you are looking in the telephone book or online for a contractor, it can seem like you are playing a game of Russian roulette. You don’t know if you are really calling a professional tradesperson to come to your home or business to do a repair or construction job or if you are contacting a cowboy builder that will end up ripping you off in some way.
If you are looking for a contractor to perform construction and/or trade work for you, here is how you can make sure you avoid hiring a cowboy builder.
Ask for Builders’ Insurance Information
A reputable builder will normally carry a copy of the builders’ insurance policy information on them or in their vehicle. This type of insurance is invaluable as it protects you and your property from damage resulting from the work the builder is performing for you. You need to make sure the insurance policy covers the type of work they intend to do for you.
If a builder does not have this information on them, you should demand a copy of the policy terms before you allow them to start work and before you give them money for any reason like buying supplies and materials.
It may also help to read up on what insurance builders require so you know what to look for when hiring.
Ask about Trade Association Memberships
Builders and contractors often belong to trade associations that provide them with things like on-going training programs and industry connections they can call whenever they have a problem or issue. Find out if the builder belongs to any associations and get the name and contact information of the associations.
Builder and trade associations seek to protect the reputations of the organisations by not allowing disreputable people or companies from becoming or staying a member. You should check with any associations the builder claims to belong to and verify the builders’ standing and reputation. You should also check with industry oversight organisations such as Trading Standard and TrustMark to make sure the builder is in good standing and that there are not any complaints lodged against them.
A reputable builder will always have good references that they can give you to provide details on the type of work they have done for others. The references should include a contact name, telephone number, address, and the type of work performed. You need to call the references to make sure they are not fictitious. You should also ask a reference or two if you can come by sometime soon before the builder starts working for you so you can personally check out the work they did for the people providing the reference.
There are websitesin the UK that focus on online reviews from consumers about builders and contractors. The reviews are done by people who have had a relationship with a company and can give their honest assessment about what they thought about the work and the cost of the work. The websites are good to use to track down information on the builder you are considering using for your project at your home or business. If the builder you are considering using has a lot of bad reviews, you’ll want to avoid using them.
The nice thing about these website reviews is that you’ll also be able to read reviews about builders who do great work for a good price. If the builder you are considered using doesn’t seem to live up to what they have promised others, you can call one of the other builders with good reviews to have them perform the work for you.