Have you ever been the victim of a cowboy contractor, or otherwise regretting your choice after hiring someone? It’s not uncommon. After all, how are you supposed to know until you work with them? Hopefully next time you will have some idea, because we have a few potential answers to that question.
Perhaps the number one piece of advice we can give you is to never settle on the first price you hear. There is really nothing to lose by shopping around and asking a few similar firms for price estimates. Although a low estimate doesn’t mean everything, you can judge the best value once you do a little more research into them.
Find personal recommendations
It is one thing to read reviews online, but even from independent sources you can’t be sure how they originated. If you know someone who can vouch for a builder or other tradesperson, ideally after a similar project to your own, you should trust them.
Look locally first
Although you may be able to come to a good agreement with someone who doesn’t live in your area, it’s probably going to be less costly for both parties if the contractor doesn’t have to travel far. They will probably be travelling to and from your property at least once a day for the duration of the project, so this clearly adds up.
Check their qualifications and experience
Obviously professional people in any trade will need certain qualifications to confirm they can work on your property safely, especially with gas or electricity supply work. Check these and make sure they have at least a few years’ experience when it’s a major job. It’s likely that someone who’s never worked on a project like yours before will end up costing you more, even if they don’t plan to deliberately.
Agree a timescale
It’s not advisable to work with only a rough estimate for any project. If it seems too complex to predict, that means you simply haven’t planned in enough detail yet. It’s important to have a start date and completion date pencilled in.
Have it all in writing
Of course, agreements are meaningless if they’re only verbal in this situation. The only way to really ensure you’re going to get what you pay for one way or the other is to have a professionally written contract covering every aspect of your agreement. If the contractor really plans to deliver, they shouldn’t have any problem agreeing to reasonable terms.