Tommy's Top Tips
Avoid The Rogue Traders
The trend for renovating and home improvement has hit fever pitch, especially given the current downturn in the housing market and an uncertain economic climate. Homeowners are extending, converting, upgrading, remodelling and re-decorating to improve their living space, and some are going as far as designing and building their own dream homes.
One of the most significant factors and important decisions when undertaking a renovation, home improvement or self build, is employing skilled and specialist tradesmen to carry out the building work. With so many rogue traders out there, it's important that you find the right tradesmen, are clear about what you need them to do and develop a good relationship with them.
To help people get the most out of their tradesmen and select their building materials, the Centre has teamed up with TV's favourite builder, Tommy Walsh, to offer his top tips for dealing with tradesmen...
10 Top Tips
|1.||Always use people who have been recommended to you, by friends, family or industry professionals, and always check the quality of work they have had done. Everyone has a different idea of a 'good job'. Never use the Yellow Pages to find a tradesman! The National Self Build & Renovation Centre has very good database of recommended tradesmen, backed by the Federation of Master Builders that you can use.|
|2.||Always be wary of a tradesman who say they can start work the next day or within a few days. A good tradesman should be busy and will have work booked in advance.|
|3.||Don't pay for work up front. Negotiate your payment terms at the start. Tommy recommends paying one third after the first seven working days, a further third half way through the work, and the final third once the work has been completed and snagged, and only when you are happy|
|4.||Always have any extra jobs priced separately, and make sure they are listed separately on your final bill, so it's clear what extra's you have incurred. With any job, you should budget for a 25% overspend, as there can often be unforeseen problems and delays, or extra jobs that need doing.|
|5.||Don't ask for a day rate. Get a price for the whole job and ask roughly how long it will take and how many workmen or labourers will be included.|
|6.||Communicate! You should be very clear about what you need them to do, and what you expect, and they should tell you what they can do. Always keep two-way communication with your tradesmen to ensure they are on schedule and happy with everything.|
|7.||Check their work at regular intervals. Unless you are very confident, its always a good idea to check on their progress and the quality of work, to make sure it is what you agreed.|
|8.||Do your homework! Learn some of the key trades that you need, perhaps by reading a book or by taking a short course, to become more familiar with some of the technical aspects of each trade and the jargon. That way, when you are talking with your tradesman, you have an understanding and less likely to get stung by a rogue trader|
|9.||Developing a good working relationship with your contractor is very important. You need them to do a good job, and they need to protect their reputation, so work together.|
|10.||Where possible, source materials yourself, as tradesmen can sometimes introduce mark-ups. If you are undertaking a major self build or renovation project, use a BuildStore TradeCard to get building materials, tool and plant hire and finishes at trade prices.|
Tim Doherty, Managing Director of the National Self Build & Renovation Centre, adds:
"With an increasing number of cowboy builders and rogue traders, individuals looking to hire reputable skilled labour should be absolutely clear about which trades they need, what each trade does and what they will be getting for their money."
"The National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon is dedicated to helping people find and get the most out of tradesmen and contractors, as well as getting a good deal on materials."