14 December 2015
The topic of this week’s article aims to address the importance of choosing the right contractor to carry out your home improvement project. However this is somewhat of a rhetorical question given customer anxiety over trustable tradesmen costs the UK economy £6 billion each year according to a recent research study by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
As a local leader in the home improvement market we truly believe that this amount of anxiety is a result on a minority of contractors and not the majority in which it is portrayed. TV ‘entertainment’ programmes glorify a handful of worst case scenarios however in retrospect this percentage of good v’s bad jobs equates to less than 5%.
We are under no illusion that the stereotypical ‘cowboy builder’ does exist (to read a recent BBC Inside Out investigation report that has found fraudulent tradespeople can advertise their services on two trusted trade websites without any experience click here) but on the other hand firmly believe the created anxiety to the tune of £6 billion in losses is derived from hearsay and not experience. It is the ‘fear’ of ‘what if’ rather than ‘what has’. Fears like the following which were derived from FMB study:
Worryingly 1 in 5 consumers with a building, repair or other home improvement of any significance found the above fears reason enough to delay the job or bypass it all together. Our concern here is as consumers they are well within their rights to have reservations and concerns however to the point of not fulfilling a want, need or desire?
We truly believe that by asking the right questions and being thorough in your investigation you can overcome these fears resulting in the dream home improvement you’ve always wanted. Keep your wits about you and trust your gut – if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is, seek advice from a number of sources and check credentials with regards to ‘how they do business’.
As a minimum you are looking for the following questions to be answered with a YES, if they’re not then walk away!
1.Are they members of the relevant associations?
2.Can they provide testimonials and examples of their past work?
3.Can they help with all aspects of your project?
4.Are they willing to offer free information, help & advice?
5.Can they provide you with your own dedicated Project Manager?
6.Do they employ all their staff and how qualified are they?
7.Do they require full payment upfront?
8.Do they fully guarantee all aspects of their work?
9.Will you have a contract?
10.Will you be provided with a detailed quote with itemized breakdown of exactly what you will be paying for and when?
Furthermore we firmly believe an open and honest conversation regarding money and budgets should be the first thing on the agenda. Some people find this rather intrusive and prefer to play a game of ‘cat and mouse’ however it makes much more sense to get this out in the open. Know your limits and make them clear. We also suggest getting a number of quotes, 3’s a good number. This is also a great opportunity to seek advice from a number of ‘professional’ contractors and conduct a price comparison.
Baring all of the above in mind the only thing left to do is trust your gut. Generally speaking if you feel confident and comfortable in their presence and they can provide answers to all your questions you can’t go far wrong. At no point should you feel pressured into making a decision and if at any point it doesn’t feel right then walk away.
MoreAbility*, part of the Passmore Group, is Yorkshires leading and most experienced bathroom solution, adaption & alteration specialist. Offering a fully project managed design, supply and installation service for all types of bespoke bathroom solutions.