Here at the Network Magazine we spend a lot of time getting to know the tradesmen who advertise in our monthly guide. Many of them come back to us time and time again, as they get a great response from advertising in our Brentwood guide to trades and services. Delivered FREE to 18000 households throughout the Brentwood area, they know that their advertisement is being seen by local people who are looking for quality workman to assist with repairs, refurbishments or other projects.
But as a reader, what should you be thinking about when you hire a trades person for the first time? Well, in this weeks blog we thought we would offer some top tips for what to consider when hiring a professional to help you out.
Go with your gut feeling and their reputation
It is really important that you feel comfortable with the company you chose. Afterall, they could well be spending a lot of time in your home! We would recommend that you meet with a tradesmen before you instruct them to undertake any work for you. With many jobs, they will attend your house to quote before they undertake any work anyway. Make sure that you like them and get a good gut feeling about them.
Ask for recommendations. You will no doubt have friends or family that have used tradespeople in recent years who they would recommend. Always consider these first, as a good recommendation is worth much more than any amount of advertising. You can even search for reviews online from other homeowners in your area. RatedPeople.com encourage homeowners to rate their tradesmen in three categories – quality of work, reliability and value for money. 5-stars is the highest rating available in any of the categories. If you wish to investigate further, you can ask them for contact details of their previous employers.
Any reputable tradesman should also be willing to show you examples of previous work, and may even provide testimonials or references from previous happy customers.
Check their qualifications
You should always check a tradesman’s qualifications to make sure they are able to complete your job safely and at a high standard. All tradesmen must be Gas Safe Registered if they are dealing with gas related problems in the home. This is required by law so check their individual ID cards. They carry an expiry date as well as an individual licence number so be sure to discover that the qualification is still valid, you can check this on the Gas Safe register website.
Electrical qualifications such as Part P are essential for most electrical jobs around the home. Legally only qualified electricians can conduct electrical work in bathrooms or kitchens, if an unqualified person has conducted the work a surveyor will highlight this up when you come to sell your property.
Ask to see a copy of the certificate which lists the company that the tradesman studied with and a registration number. You can check qualifications by visiting the awarding bodies’ company websites. Search for the registration number and match the tradesman’s name and details to those that you have been given.
Agree payments and timescales
Depending on the nature of the work you need done, there are different ways to agree payment. Once you have a clear and easy to understand quote from your chosen trader, agree how and when payment needs to be made before they start any work. This will protect you from being overcharged. Also confirm whether or not the quote includes any VAT. Once a quote has been agreed they cannot increase the price of the work by law. Be careful not to ask for an estimate as this can be changed at a later date.
You should then agree on a payment schedule detailing the tasks that will be carried out, the amount and frequency of the payments. Your tradesman should provide an invoice for each payment. It is common for the tradesman to ask for a deposit which should be a maximum of 20% of the overall quote. This is to secure the job on the tradesman’s behalf and to cover his expenses such as materials and travel.
Most importantly though, go with your own impression of the tradesmen and the work they are supplier. A full refurbishment for example will mean an ongoing relationship over a longer period of time, so you need to be very happy with whoever you employ. A quick bit of repair work may not lead to such a long term relationship.
The Network Magazine reaches 18000 households in Brentwood. If you would like to advertise your trade or service with us, call us on 01277 849161 to find out more.