Professional Help & Advice

How to find a 'Reliable' Tradesperson

Every year in the UK an estimated 89,000 householders are being conned by rogue home maintenance traders masquerading as bona-fide and reputable contractors, prepared to carry out anything from roofing repairs, guttering, brickwork and gardening services to paths, driveway and joinery work. These rogue traders frighten residents by suggesting that their homes have faulty roof tiles, problems with pointing, damp or guttering, rotten door and window frames or that their driveway needs to be re-laid. We've all seen the perpetrators on our TVs.
They mislead householders and carry out shoddy, little or no work at all. In 2008 it is estimated that they stole £170million from unsuspecting homeowners across the UK. A recent survey shows that incidents of this nature are more prevalent in the North East of England than anywhere else in the country.

Finding a reliable, reputable and reasonable tradesperson should no longer be problematic.

We at Reliable Tradespeople select contractors that are members of relevant trade associations, are registered with national bodies, are covered by warranty backed schemes and have a track record of delivering high quality work to budget and on time.

When hiring a reliable tradesperson, consider the following:

Ensure the contractor -
  • Can provide a bona fide e-mail and/or postal address and landline phone number.
  • Can provide recent references from previous customers that can be checked out. Go and view previous work where possible.
  • Can provide/has a clean health and safety record.
  • Has a sound financial standing (Minimum VAT Registered).
  • Is registered with relevant trade associations e.g. FMB (Federation of Master Builders) or schemes (vital when hiring Gas Engineers or electricians) - see our Jargon Buster.
  • Can deliver work backed by a legitimate warranty scheme and can provide details of any insurance policies.
  • Can provide a written quotation which includes a breakdown of ALL the work, timescales and VAT. Any changes to the original work should be recorded in writing and agreed with your contractor.

In addition -
  • Get at least three quotes - don't always choose the lowest. Being reliable and having a good reputation may come at a price.
  • Depending upon size and nature of the work - ensure you have a written contract. There is a cancellation period of 7 days during which either party can opt out.
  • Depending upon size and nature of the work - never pay in full, up front. Agree stage payments, either time related or stages of the job. Pay by Credit Card where possible.
  • Contractors 'in-scope' to CITB-ConstructionSkills should be able to quote a registration number and have a record of Training and Development including the recruitment of Apprentices therefore 'investing' in the future of their business.
  • You can ask if the contractor is on a Local Authority/Housing Association/Landlord 'Approved Contractors List' - this should ensure checks have already been made.
  • Clear and protect the area where the operative(s) will be working. Move all clothing/household items/furniture (your contractor may assist you), to prevent any damage to your belongings.
  • Ensure children and pets keep clear of the working area.
  • If you are not comfortable with the operative(s) using your lavatory and cleaning up in your property, let them know in the outset so they can make alternative arrangements.
  • If you are away from the property, make sure you provide your contractor with contact details. You may be required to make prompt decisions.
  • When happy with the job, ensure you have all paperwork/necessary receipts from your contractor and pay them promptly.