45,000 people last year contacted Citizens Advice seeking help after home improvement nightmares. Poor workmanship, jobs not being completed and substandard services were some of the most common problems people faced after choosing the wrong contractor. We have put together five tips to help you choose a contractor you can trust!
1. Word of Mouth
You are more likely to watch a film or read a book your friend recommends and the same goes for contractors. If your friend recommends a good electrician, and had a positive experience with them, then you are more likely to use them for your own project. Don’t know anyone that you can ask for a recommendation? Websites like TrustMark and Buy With Confidence can help. Both are non-profit, with TrustMark also government-endorsed. All traders are verified and vetted when they sign up so you can choose a contractor with confidence.
2. Get a Contract
Once you have selected a contractor a contract should be drawn up. The FMB (Federation of Master Builders) has produced a simple contract that acts as proof of agreement between yourself and the contractor. This will avoid misunderstandings, gives you peace of mind and acts as a legal basis for any dispute resolution.
3. Don’t Get Hung up on Price
If you go with the cheapest offer, you might end up getting what you pay for in terms of quality or service, which will wind up costing you more in the long run. If a quote seems too low, there could be hidden costs you are not aware of. Take a look at a contractor’s portfolio to get a clearer idea of the quality of their work. You can compare estimates in your area to see if you’re being over or undercharged.
4. Ask the right questions
Ask the right questions to get an idea of how the overall process will work before you hire a contractor. This way you will know what to expect when works begin. Think of asking questions such as; who will be the main point of contact during the project? What is their dispute resolution process? What hours will they be working on the project?
5. Don’t Get Fooled
Phoney builders are on the rise claiming to be members of professional bodies, make sure you check with the professional body directly before hiring a contractor. Insurance is important to ask about as your builder should be insured to cover themselves against property damage and personal and public liability.
If you are building your own home, no matter how much care you or your contractor take there is always a risk of defects. Our warranty gives you security, protection and peace of mind. Find out more on our dedicated page for Self Build Warranties.