Tips to check trades people, builders and contractors, how to spot and avoid crooks and get value for money.
How to avoid Crooks
Find the right Tradesmen or Contractors for Your Job
One bad apple spoils the barrel
Failing is human and as they say 'one bad apple spoils the barrel' - that is with people of the trade not much different. In this post I do not want to be disrespectful to any of my contractors and all the hard working, honest tradesmen. Dealing with good people, maybe I have been so far the lucky one. At least I feel so when reading the bad stories.
For the sake of brevity, I won’t start with stories about dodgy tradesmen, contractors or cowboy builders. If it hasn’t happened to us, it’s happened to someone we know. Everyone knows a story, which is why it is crucial to know how to get the best possible outcome, good service and the best builder possible on board.
Finding the right trader
Finding the right tradesman or contractor for the job can be very daunting. We talked already here about common reasons for disputes. The risks for choosing the wrong person is always present when one party needs the job very badly and compromises due diligence and paperwork.
Never before were so many different tools available to help you finding the right trader for the job. For instance you could try the sophisticated tools on the Internet. Many different services like the nocowboys website or for finding trades people check out builderscrack and tradebox. The licensed building practitioner register is a good starting point if you look for locals in your area.
Certainly you can’t avoid talking to a crook but with basic due diligence you will find everything you need to know before committing to a job.
Who is the right tradesman?
It comes back to relationships and trust. I always start with a Reference Check, one step to find out the chosen tradesman’s history and trustworthiness. The old fashion way – “the word of mouth” still works in local communities. If you want to manage your risks, you will find on the Internet references, information from trader’s associations, etc.
Complete your homework, figure out what you really want to be done before calling anybody. I spend time in hardware stores and use the Internet to evaluate materials, look at different ideas or solutions. Little research helps talking to the right person, asking the right questions and making informed decisions. You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to agree or disagree to a solution and a service you have to pay for. Remember - good people are busy and wasting their time is a “relationship killer”.
Before signing an agreement you need to be certain about work specifications, price and timeframe - never permit work at your place before the paperwork has been completed. Make the acceptance of a quote conditional to the specifications of the job or even better to a contract. A scope description will specify the work, time frame and avoid a blow out of related costs. How to minimize risks – read here more.
Trades People need good clients
Trades people and businesses need paying clients but importantly “the word of mouth” as fabulous business promotion. Each successful job done adds something to a business that is bigger than money, “builder’s reputation” is priceless.
Returning clients and referrals are the life blood of growing a business. That is why you need to work out exactly what you as client want and your job to be identified as tradesman’s preferred choice. For your job - get value for money and the best tradesman, good luck.
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