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Great 'how to find decent tradesmen' hunt

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Great 'how to find decent tradesmen' hunt

113 replies 41.7K views
MSE_JennyMSE_Jenny Senior WriterMSE Staff
1.3K posts
Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
MSE Staff
Everyone has heard horror stories about rogue brickies and dodgy plumbers. So we want to tap MoneySavers for their top tips on finding decent traders.

What’s the best way to get quotes, haggle and avoid paying for work you don’t need? Are there any calamities you you’ve learned from?

Hit reply to share your suggestions.

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Replies

  • WestonDaveWestonDave Forumite
    5.2K posts
    Rampant Recycler
    If you have one good tradesman, and need someone in a different field, ask the one you know because chances are they've probably worked with them.

    For example we had our house rewired using a contractor I've used through work. At one point they dislodged part of the heating system and had to call a plumber in to repair the pipe. We then (after getting a couple of quotes) got that plumber in to replace the heating system, but before we could do that we needed to replaster the downstairs toilet - the plumber came up trumps with a good plasterer who was good value and a nice chap to have in the house. All 3 have been referred on to friends and have done good jobs for them as well.
    Adventure before Dementia!
  • bosseyedbosseyed Forumite
    475 posts
    WestonDave wrote: »
    If you have one good tradesman, and need someone in a different field, ask the one you know because chances are they've probably worked with them.

    For example we had our house rewired using a contractor I've used through work. At one point they dislodged part of the heating system and had to call a plumber in to repair the pipe. We then (after getting a couple of quotes) got that plumber in to replace the heating system, but before we could do that we needed to replaster the downstairs toilet - the plumber came up trumps with a good plasterer who was good value and a nice chap to have in the house. All 3 have been referred on to friends and have done good jobs for them as well.

    I'd second this - once you've found someone half decent for one aspect, they generally seem to know other trades for other bits and bobs. Our guys who did most of the stuff to our house knew plasterers, plumbers, sparks etc etc, and they all did a top job.

    As for finding someone worth the money in the first place - there is no magic solution I don't think. Using people after recommendations from friends and family is always good, but not always applicable. In which case I simply work through the yellow pages, I pluck a large number of relevant trades from those which run adverts I like the look of and have all the relevant qualifications/members of the relevant professional bodies - then I chuck out the ones that don't answer the phone - those I get to speak to, straight away you'll form some sort of judgement about what they're like - are they polite, are they articulate are they knowledgeable about their subject yadda yadda yadda. Arrange appointments for them to see the property etc and view the works, every one I've ever spoken to is happy to do this for free. Once you've got them on site its all down to how you feel with them I suppose. Are they confident about doing the job, do they sound enthused, are they nice people? Many won't want to commit to giving a price on the spot which is fair enough, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

    Once the quotes start rolling back in, then its up to you and your criteria. I've gone with people slightly more expense as I got a better 'vibe' from them when meeting them - but ultimately you just have to take a punt and hope with an unknown contractor, but theres no other way.

    Like I said above, that system worked well enough to filter out the overpriced and grumpy guys and found us a couple of really nice chaps and they were considerate and knowledgable, punctual, polite and well priced. They treated the house with respect and the work they did was top notch.
  • libbyc3libbyc3 Forumite
    257 posts
    not ideal I know, but findabuilder.com was where we went for some plastering we've just had done. You post your job, tradesmen get back to you and if they've had work via the site before you can read the feedback from previous jobs.
    We had 12 plasterers reply, had 3 quotes and the job was done well and at a good price.
    not as good as word of mouth, but if you are like us and fairly new to an area it might be a good place to start.
  • conscons Forumite
    124 posts
    i would say recommendations are best bet

    our sparky, plasterer, windows, carpet fitter all came from a previous experience :beer:
    :T:money::T
  • CanuckleheadCanucklehead Forumite
    6.3K posts
    Good afternoon: consumers could start off by using tradespersons who are qualified/experienced in their respective fields and maintain both trade registration and insurance e.g. for plumbers try the CIPHE.

    Haggling can sometimes result in the cheapening of the specification and corner cutting so be careful how close to the bone you want to slice.

    Try using tradespersons recommended to you by a source you trust and always compare your quotes like for like.

    Ensure the works follow building regulations otherwise as you will be left holding the can and the cost...more on the Planning Portal.

    And finally...lots of good advice available on this forum.;)

    HTH

    Canucklehead
    Ask to see CIPHE (Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering)
  • nickj_2nickj_2 Forumite
    7.1K posts
    word of mouth or recommendation is always the best way , you can always have a look at someone's work rather than plucking a random name out of the yellow pages who you've never heard of ,
    also accept the fact that things do go wrong - it's the persons ability to correct things that counts
    if you are thinking about double glazing - give the big well known brands a wide berth , you are after a reasonable quote and job , any company who can knock £1000s of their price is never going to give you their best deal , just what they think they can get away with
  • Just a quick word of warning - I used ratedpeople.com and though I expect there will be plenty of fine upstanding tradespeople who do good work for a fair price on there, sites like ratedpeople are really no more than a noticeboard.
    My request for a quote for full house rewire went on there last June: the electrician still owes me £164 for work not carried out, it is still unfinished, he provided a worthless 'certificate', told me that he was going bankrupt, lied to Trading Standards Officer that he was going bankrupt, fraudulently sent me a copy of a solicitor's letter from a previous occasion when he had defaulted on payments to creditors after registering voluntary insolvency. The work was assessed and found to be unsatisfactory and, in all, it will probably cost me about £800 or so to have everything put right and made safe on top of the £3000+ he was paid. There are lots more examples of his dishonesty and incompetence - I've cited just some of them.
    There was good - some excellent - feedback from satisfied customers for him on the Rated People site. I wrongly assumed that to be on a site like that you had to be properly qualified and belong to recognised bodies which train & monitor your work. I was wrong. It has cost me a lot of money. I have been extremely angry and upset and still alternate between thinking 'Blow it, I'll get it sorted, put it all behind me and move on, put it down to experience' and thinking 'Why should he get away with it? I won't give up.' I am disappointed to say the very least that there is nothing I can do.
    :hello::hello::hello::hello:
  • michaelsmichaels Forumite
    24K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Same experience with rated people - very good reviews but did an appalling job and couldn't be bothered to come back and do snagging for the £100 retained I held - must have got his mates to make up the reviews cos I am a better carpenter...
    Just a quick word of warning - I used ratedpeople.com and though I expect there will be plenty of fine upstanding tradespeople who do good work for a fair price on there, sites like ratedpeople are really no more than a noticeboard.
    My request for a quote for full house rewire went on there last June: the electrician still owes me £164 for work not carried out, it is still unfinished, he provided a worthless 'certificate', told me that he was going bankrupt, lied to Trading Standards Officer that he was going bankrupt, fraudulently sent me a copy of a solicitor's letter from a previous occasion when he had defaulted on payments to creditors after registering voluntary insolvency. The work was assessed and found to be unsatisfactory and, in all, it will probably cost me about £800 or so to have everything put right and made safe on top of the £3000+ he was paid. There are lots more examples of his dishonesty and incompetence - I've cited just some of them.
    There was good - some excellent - feedback from satisfied customers for him on the Rated People site. I wrongly assumed that to be on a site like that you had to be properly qualified and belong to recognised bodies which train & monitor your work. I was wrong. It has cost me a lot of money. I have been extremely angry and upset and still alternate between thinking 'Blow it, I'll get it sorted, put it all behind me and move on, put it down to experience' and thinking 'Why should he get away with it? I won't give up.' I am disappointed to say the very least that there is nothing I can do.
    I think....
  • REFCOM....registered & trained engineers:

    https://secure.refcom.org.uk/refcom_company_search.aspx

    Put your postcode in and find out who is local
  • edited 10 March 2010 at 4:02PM
    1984ReturnsForReal_21984ReturnsForReal_2
    15.4K posts
    edited 10 March 2010 at 4:02PM
    michaels wrote: »
    Same experience with rated people - very good reviews but did an appalling job and couldn't be bothered to come back and do snagging for the £100 retained I held - must have got his mates to make up the reviews cos I am a better carpenter...

    The thing is with ALL these finda, ratea, myhammera etc etc etc sites that people flash up on here pretty much ANYONE can join..

    If a tradesperson is willing to dish a certain % over to the website they will get jobs..

    They can also give false quotes/wins & provide their own feedback.


    DUE TO THE NUMBER OF NEW MEMBERS POSTING ON HERE RECOMMENDING "FIND" "MY" "RATE" TRADE WEBSITES I AM AMENDING THIS POST AS A WARNING TO GENUINE READERS WHO HOPE TO FIND A LITTLE GUIDANCE ON HERE.

    PLEASE TAKE SOME OF THESE POSTS WITH A LITTLE THOUGHT TO THE MOTIVATIONS OF THE POSTERS INVOLVED


    SOME ARE QUITE OBVIOUSLY IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF THE WEBSITES THEY RECOMMEND & SOME ARE IN THE EMPLOYMENT OF OTHERS BUT ARE SLATING THE COMPETITION & DROPPING IN THEIR OWN GOOD EXPERIENCE.
    Not Again
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