Finding a Good and Reliable Contractor
Don't Get Caught out by Rogue Traders - Anyone can claim to be a plumber, builder or decorator. Adverts that come through your door and only have phone numbers without addresses are definitely to be avoided. The ones to watch are the slick and fast-talking salesman types who turn up unannounced.
Ask Questions -- Take time to get to know more about your contractor. Don't be pressurised into hiring without first getting a good picture of who you are dealing with.
Ask how long they have been in business? , Do they guarantee their work? If so for how long. Don't forget to check that they are insured ? Check insolvency records, you can see if there are judgements against them
If your tradesperson is a member of a trade scheme then note down details including any reference numbers. Follow up with a phone call to the scheme provider to check that the details are up to date.
Get Multiple Quotes -- Take time to produce a written brief of what you require. Detail is important but listen to what he says can and can not be done. Make sure that they are not flanneling you.
Elastic Pricing -- Always ask for a fixed price and make sure that it is clear what is included and whether or not the price is all-inclusive.
You can chose a quote that guarantees quality and reliability over the cheapest one, but make sure that they really are as good as they say they are. It is a good idea to get the wording of the quote to be enforcable as an agreement should the job go wrong. If the job does generate some unforeseen expenses then of course it would be reasonable to reimburse him, but then you knew to do that anyway!
Look at the receipts. Make sure thay have purchased the correct materials and that they are not boosting the price or keeping some of the materials for themselves
Big Deposit -- It is normal to pay something up front but beware of the ones who ask for more than a quarter or third of the total price and if the work is substantial.
Get an agreement to schedule payments for completion of stages of the job. At the completion of each stage make sure that they really have done what they agreed to do, get a knowledgable peson to verify that they have indeed fully completed the stage before you part with the money.
Use your Credit Card. The credit card companies can usually compensate you if things go wrong. The contractor may want cash up front but if they are too eager to get a large sum out of you and reluctant to use a credit card then alarm bells shoild be ringing.
Hang on to a good one -- A reliable, good quality contractor is hard to find so treat him or her really well.