There is nothing like the changing of seasons to inspire home improvements and sort all of those niggling repairs that need done. While many tasks can be carried out by a competent DIYer, most of us don’t have the time to spend hours painting or hanging wallpaper – and work that involves electricity, gas or water is definitely best left to a professional.
Looking for a professional tradesperson is not always easy and stories of rogue-traders and scam artists can be enough to put you off for life. The industry doesn’t always have the best reputation and while there are reliable people out there, it is not always easy to find them. If you have work that needs done and you want to find the best person to hire, here are some tips to get you started.
Word of Mouth
It may be a cliché, but word of mouth really is the best way to find reliable people. Talk to family, friends and work colleagues and see if they have someone to recommend. Social media pages can be another place to obtain recommendations. You can also contact the local governing body and ask if they can put you in touch with anyone.
Look locally and online
The first step to finding a local tradesperson is often Yellow Pages but while this can be an invaluable source of information, it won’t tell you much about their skill level or qualifications. A basic rule is to check if they have a business landline and website – lots of cowboys operate simply through a mobile phone number. If you are replying to an advertisement in the newspaper or a shop window and have no other information than a telephone number, ask for contact details of previous clients.
The internet can be a good place to search. Most business owners have a website in addition to a Facebook page or Twitter account. Signs that they are reliable include testimonials from previous clients, photos of work and official seals of approval from a governing body.
Be wary if someone knocks on your door touting for business. If a roofer, builder or someone offering to repair your driveway knocks on the door, you should always be extremely cautious. Often, they will point out a problem that they say needs fixed immediately and offer to repair it there and then (with materials that just happen to be left over from a previous job.)
Other warning signs that you may be dealing with a cowboy include an unwillingness to put information in writing or offering high discounts for those paying with cash.
If you are searching for reliable tradespeople, don’t take risks. Seek recommendations from others and put everything in writing. Remember if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
There are plenty of good local tradespeople out there and you should have no problem in finding one to meet your requirements.