How to find a trusted contractor
OnTheMarket.com have provided 10 top tips to help landlords and agents to find a trusted tradesperson.
It is always preferable to obtain a personal recommendation than a written reference from the contractor themselves. If you are having similar work done to your neighbour or friend it would be wise to speak to them and ask if they were satisfied with the work carried out. A good friend or neighbour may even let you inspect the work that the contractor has completed.
It is recommended that you ask for a quote from three different tradespeople before employing someone to do the work. It is important to specify the job in detail, to ensure you get the most accurate quote however, it is not always the best choice to choose the lowest estimate, particularly if you have doubts about the competence of the company. Quotes should inspire you with confidence, if none of them do, you should be prepared to research some more contractors by widening your search area.
It is important to ensure estimates are submitted in writing from a bona fide company with an actual business address. Reputable tradespeople will be open and above board, unlike some cowboys who will try to hide their traces.
- Experience premium
With larger-scale building work, experience should be at the forefront when choosing a contractor. A company trading for 15 years should undoubtedly trump an enthusiastic newcomer. It is recommended that you check your contractor holds the relevant safety qualifications when installing gas and electricity.
- Experience in a similar job
If you are having complex building work done, you must be satisfied that the contractor employed to do the work has done similar work on other homes. Not all contractors will have experience with period properties, listed buildings or homes within a Conservation Area.
- Local Tradespeople
Local contractors are generally preferred to ones that are located miles from your home. Companies will often factor in travel time and expenses to their estimates which can inflate the cost.
- Cash payments
Be wary of tradespeople offering a discount if you pay in cash as they may take short-cuts with guarantees and insurance clauses.
- Written contract
It is crucial, particularly in large-scale works, that there is a written contract between you and the tradesperson. The contract should provide a full description of the work to be carried out, a start date and an end date. It is advisable to include a penalty clause for late completion of the job however, this can be difficult and often expensive to enforce. You should also agree in writing that the property will be left in good condition, and that you will not be expected to clear up after the contractor.
Contractual clarity about how payments for the work to be completed should be staged is important. Deposits can be requested in advance however final payments should not be made until the job has been completed and to your satisfaction. It might be worth going through the job with the contractor to snag and agree areas that need improving, then confirming this in writing on an email.
Insurance policies should be checked before any major works are commenced to make sure you are covered in the event something goes wrong. However, it is also important to ask for proof from the contractor that they also have their own insurance against unforeseen issues that may arise.
The content provided by OnTheMarket.com is for information purposes only. Independent and professional advice should be taken before buying, selling, letting or renting property, or buying financial products.
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