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Tips For Hiring a Plumber (Or Other Tradesman)

Updated on October 21, 2013
Don't hire an angry tradesman!
Don't hire an angry tradesman! | Source

Most people have had a bad experience with tradesmen, such as a plumber that completely butchered your bathroom or a builder that built something that falls apart within a few months, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you do your research and follow the steps below then your job could be completed with minimal fuss and stress. For the most part tradesmen will do the job they're asked to do superbly, but there are always a few bad eggs out there and hopefully these steps will help you avoid them.

Don't Hire One Until You Have Everything!

At Boundary Bathrooms we highly recommend not hiring a tradesman until all your products have arrived, but the same goes for any company. The fact of the matter is that even if a company can guarantee that your delivery will arrive on that day (which, in the majority of cases, is not usually the case) we all know that things can go wrong and you're left with no products and, thus, a tradesman with nothing to do. It wastes both your's and their time, so make sure your delivery has completely arrived and check everything is how it should be.

Of course, if you're doing a job where the tradesman will provide the materials this won't apply to you. However, if you've ordered something shower enclosures to be installed then you need to make sure everything has arrived so your plumber or decorator can complete the job he was hired for.

How do you find a good tradesman?

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Get Recommendations

Word of mouth has always been a great way to discover a good service. Family and friends are an excellent source of recommendations, and many tradesmen rely on this word of mouth to get business. In the age of the Internet it's also now easier than ever to see if the company you're considering is good enough. Do your research before hiring anybody, gathering a list of local companies and plugging them into your favourite search engine. Websites such as Ratedpeople and Mybuilder simplify finding a decent tradesman in your local area with ratings from people who have hired them in the past.

Are these standing at your door? Say goodbye!
Are these standing at your door? Say goodbye!

Don't Hire People Who Knock On Your Door

It may be tempting to hire someone who's been knocking on doors in your area so you don't have to go through the trouble with the above research, but DON'T! The fact of the matter is that these people would not need to knock on doors if they're good tradesmen as recommendations and word of mouth will give them plenty of work. If they point out a problem with your house and say they can fix it then be incredibly wary as this is a common tactic by rogue traders to make money off fixing a problem that doesn't exist in the first place. Simply thank them and get the problem checked by a reputable company.

Know Exactly What You Want

The more you know about the end result you want from the work and the clearer you can make these details available to the tradesman the more accurate the quote and timescale the tradesman can give you.

Get More Than One Quote

Don't go off the first quote you find, even if it seems cheap to you. Three quotes should be the minimum you get, and it will help you figure out if a quote is way off target and you may be being taken for a ride. You just simply have no idea if the quote you have is the standard if you only get one, even if you end up going back to the tradesman who gave you the original quote.

Quotes should also be in writing; including their details, a description of the job, the costs and any VAT that will be added. It's important you get a record of any original quote so you have evidence if the tradesman tries to charge you more than he originally stated.

Check For a Guarantee

Check to see if they offer a warranty on the work the tradesman will be carrying out. If anything goes wrong you're going to want them to come back and fix it, and the best tradesmen will gladly do this. The last thing a tradesman wants is to get a bad reputation because the work they carried out had a fault that they didn't bother correcting.

It's Not Just About the Price.

We all want the cheapest price we can get, but that's not always the best path to take. A cheap price might mean substandard work on your bathrooms, but if you've done your research then you should know how the work is compared to the price anyway.

If you're uncomfortable with the person you're hiring then simply don't hire them. They may have a good reputation, but are they comfortable with answering your questions? Do you find it easy to talk to them? If there's a problem would you feel ok with pointing it out to them? I'm not saying that you have to best friends with the tradesman you decide on, but go with your instinct on who you feel best fits the job and will be willing to talk you through things.

Have you ever had a bad experience with a tradesman?

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Get It In Writing!

Agree everything in writing, because a verbal agreement isn't going to support your argument should end problems arise during the job. Make sure it details all the work to be carried out, the time it will take, the costs, and the payment details. Get a receipt for EVERY payment you make!!!

If it's a small job you'll usually pay on completion. Larger jobs may be paid in stages, based on the value of completed work, holding back a percentage for payment on completion. Get a breakdown of what's being paid for during large jobs, as always in writing. If you've agreed to pay for materials then make sure they're on site before you pay for them.

Make them a cuppa!
Make them a cuppa! | Source

During The Job Leave Them Alone (For The Most Part)!

Obviously I'm not saying completely ignore them as that would be pretty rude and unfriendly, plus it's only manners to offer them a cup of tea a couple of times a day (if you're not there you can even allow them to make their own, but that's totally up to you!). However, no tradesman wants you hanging around like a bad smell all the time. They're there to get on with the work and don't want you chatting to them constantly, or putting them under pressure by staring at what they're doing. Obviously they won't mind when you check to see how they're getting on every now and again, as it's your money and you do want to be kept up to speed on the progress (all good tradesman will keep you up-to-date anyway), but don't be overbearing.

That said if you do have a problem with something they're doing then tell them. Maybe they've misunderstood something you said, or the original plan you had just won't work (the tradesman should tell you this though, as it's his job to notify you when he comes across a problem).

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