17 May How to ensure your contractor is trustworthy
There is so much to think about when hiring contractors to work on your property. Whatever the scale of work required, there is a process to follow to ensure that you are going to receive high quality work at a fair price. As with any industry, there will always be tradespeople operating who are less capable of carrying out safe and effective work on a property, and others charging over the odds for it. In this blog we discuss the steps you can take to ensure that whoever you do hire, they won’t leave you with more work than when they arrived.
Do your research
Previous work and recommendations are vital when hiring someone to make modifications to your property – however small these might be. Asking friends and family for names of companies that have carried out successful work on their property is a trustworthy and accurate way of knowing that you’ll be getting quality work done. Another way of making sure the work carried out will be of a high standard is to visit previous clients of any prospective contractors provided they are happy to put you in touch, and speak to people who have worked with them before.
Get a range of estimates
Whatever the scale or nature of work required, it is always a good idea to get a range of bids from different companies to see what sort of price you should be paying. It is common advice to contact at least three companies before you make a decision on who will be carrying out the project. We also recommend spending time on getting these quotes by having them visit the site of the work. It is very unlikely that you will receive an accurate quote over the telephone or over email without them having seen the space due to be worked on. That said, never agree to any work on the spot – the purpose is simply to get a quote and compare prices in order to gauge a fair medium and decide on your preferred contractor from there.
Analyse the quote
When you are comparing the estimates that you have collected from various contractors it is important that you look closely at them and ensure that they include everything needed. An estimate should include the cost of labour and materials for the job – if this cost is not taken into account on an estimate you could be hit with a more expensive project than you had first planned. It’s also worth mentioning that cash in hand or VAT free deals are not a safe way to go!
It’s all in the detail
Getting as much information about a project from the contractor carrying out the work is vital. Ensure that you have a written contract in place stating what tasks are to be completed, by when and at what price. This benefits both parties, as it ensures the work is done and that everybody gets paid. This also prevents you being charged for ‘extras’ without your permission, as legally everything has been agreed beforehand.
Keeping in contact with the contractor is important so that you are up to date with what is happening at all times, and whether or not everything is on track. Keeping an open dialogue will also allow you to bring up any potential problems that may arise while the work is ongoing, making them easier and quicker to rectify in the process. Communicating your concerns early on may prevent something becoming a larger, more expensive issue further down the line.
Hire specialist workers
Some contractors are very good at a range of skills. You may find one builder who is also a capable plumber and also has experience as an electrician. Although it can be tempting to use such a professional for all work, we recommend separating out the work to people who specialise in what is required. A plumber should complete the plumbing jobs, an electrician should complete the new wiring and so on. Using specialists can prevent any dangerous living situations from the completion of poor work. It also makes the provision of safety certificates and other legislative requirements which may be required during the course of a project, such as building regulations, for example a much easier process if those involved can prove their specialisms on paper.
Ask whoever is working at your property to confirm what insurance they hold. This is very important as if they do not hold insurance the fault can be laid with the property owner should anything go wrong. For example, it may be unlikely but if during building work something struck and damaged a vehicle parked nearby, a contractor’s insurance may cover any damage caused. If there is no insurance, however, the owner of the property may well be responsible for the cost of any repairs.
At SPMS, we are a Which? trusted trader, and completing work on a home is something that we take very seriously. We are happy to provide references and examples of our work, as well as an accurate quote for any insulation work that you might need. Contact us today by phone on 01656 818881, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions, or for further information.