by Sam Murray
Let’s be honest, as much as we would love to, and tell our wives and girlfriends, we can’t do everything ourselves!.
DIY is one of the UK’s leading pastimes and can be entertaining and challenging but there may be some things you need to leave to a professional.
Yes, you could survive the apocalypse with only your hammer and pen knife but until then there is some information you should consider before handing over your toolkit to an outside source.
Here are our top 10 tips for when you are looking to outsource work to a tradesman:
1. Ask Around
Make sure you get estimates from at least three different builders. This way you get a clear indication of the price range.
You need to be clear about what you want done and request written specifications and quotes. If you see a large variation in the size of the quotes, don’t be afraid to ask why.
2. Are they Accredited?
Try to use members of recognised trade associations or regulatory bodies, such as the Federation of Master Builders, the National Federation of Builders or the Quality Mark Builders.
It is important to realise that although associations carry out checks on tradesmen before they are granted membership it is no guarantee of quality. However it is a good indication of competence and reliability.
3. Don’t be Shy!
Discussing goals and objectives at the beginning will save a lot of trouble in the long run. People are often intimated by workmen and don’t ask the key questions – how long the job is expected to take?
Are they accredited to a reputable trade association? and importantly, what the cost will be? These are all too often ignored by timid householders.
It is essential to research any prospective tradesman before entering into a contract. Find out what they have worked on before and see if they can provide references.
A great resource is to research tradesman in your local area is Trusted Tradesmen
5. How You Find Them?
Most reputable tradesmen are too busy working to go door to door touting for business so it is always good to be recommended a workman by someone you trust.
6. When to Pay?
Never hand over money to a tradesman before the work has been carried out. Many rogue traders will ask for a large proportion up front or claim they need it for materials.
If your job is likely to take some time, agree to a payment schedule that reflects the stages of progression from your tradesman.
7. Working Hours
Many people feel uncomfortable handing over keys to strangers, and feel frustrated that this is considered the norm. If you feel this way, make a point of discussing this at the beginning – and arrange set times when the workman can operate.
8. Cut through the Technical Jargon
Make sure you don’t let tradesman confuse you with jargon and technical explanations or insist that the details are not your problem.
Any trustworthy and reliable tradesman will be able to explain what he means in simple laymen terms, which will help you feel more comfortable.
9. Obtain Payment Receipts
Whenever you make a payment, especially if it has been agreed to be broken down into 3 or 4 smaller payments, make sure you obtain a receipt for each and every payment.
10. Stock up on Tea and Biscuits
As much of a stereotype as it may be, everyone works better when there is a warm cup of tea/coffee at hand, so make sure you look after your workmen and they will look after you.
This article was written in association with Mascot Workwear, which develops, manufactures and markets high-quality workwear, safety wear and safety footwear for craftsmen & industry.