Updated: May 21, 2020
1. Do your research
You probably spent months choosing your suite and choosing the colour scheme. So make sure you take time to choose the right tradesperson. You can start with online research. Trade review sites are a good starting point, as are facebook or other social media sites. If the company is active, posting regularly and responding to comments then that’s a good sign that they take service seriously. Ask people you know locally (in person or on facebook) if they can recommend tradespeople they have used. Finally, when you have a few companies to choose from, google the ones you are thinking of using name and see what comes up.
2. Never use somebody who approaches you out of the blue
If a tradesman knocks on your door to offer you services always turn them away. There are lots of con artists out there and no reputable trader gets work by cold-calling on strangers.
3. Always get 3 quotes for any work
You’ll soon realise how surprisingly difficult it is to get a quote out of a tradesperson, but persevere. This is a big project. Trades should be happy to provide you with quotes. The first thing that will probably strike you is how much prices vary. However, with three quotes you will be in a better position to judge the true price of the job. Let them know they are quoting competitively and you are less likely to get ripped off.
4. Check they’re familiar with your kind of job
Bathroom and kitchen refits can be a relatively simple replacement of units, or a full-blown renovation job that strips everything back and reshapes the room. Whatever the scope of your job, you need to ensure that the fitter you hire is up to the task and has done similar jobs before.
5. Ask for references
You shouldn’t be shy about asking for references. Then call up the referees and speak to them directly about the work and service of the tradesman. If the builder won’t provide references, ask why – it is often very telling about them if they don’t.
6. Be sure to be clear what you want from them
Write down a detailed brief – specifying the following:
· the work that needs to be done, in the greatest detail you can
· whether cleaning up and disposal of waste are included
· the materials the tradesman will use. If you want high quality materials, state what they are
· the breakdown of which of the costs are labour/materials
· what materials are included in the price
· whether subcontractors such as electricians are included
7. Get a quote in writing
Don’t accept a verbal quote, (except for very small jobs). Always get a written quote for the job, detailing the costs for the specification above.
8. Don’t be fooled by a low quote
Low prices might result in lower quality work. Go with a tradesman you trust to do a good job rather than one that gives you low prices. Also, it has been known for a contractor to give a low estimate initially to attract your business and then put the price up later.
9. Discuss a payment schedule and get it in writing
Some trades might shy away from discussing money, but don't be afraid. The best way to avoid disagreements and confusion is to agree a payment schedule right from the start - and make sure this includes an expected completion date. Also discuss if there are penalties if the work goes over deadline or over budget.
10. Check if they are part of the Competent Persons Scheme, trade body or a trading standards scheme
For certain types of work – such as electrical, plumbing, gas, and replacing windows – you need to get a building regulations compliance certificate from the local authority. The tradesperson can provide your certificate if they are a member of a Competent Persons Scheme. If not, you will need to go to your Local Authority Building Control department so they can sign off the work. Trade bodies and associations are also often a good sign. There are a number of schemes and National Associations who will check on trades on a regular basis to provide assurance of quality.