It can be a daunting task. Choosing a trade person to complete work for you from the initial phone call to the moment they leave. We have broken it down here at J & S Plumbing and Heating.
1.Choosing a trade person.
The first and most important part is to choosing a trade person to quote for the job. Having the wrong trades person quoting can make a job seem impossible. This may put you off getting the work done.
We strongly recommend asking friends/ family for recommendations, if this isn’t possible then check online for a reputable company. You can find lots of business are now on different review websites. We always recommend making sure you get at least 3 quotes for each job. Don’t be afraid of wasting an engineers time. Trades need to put the effort in to win the work. If you do not feel comfortable with any of the trades then keep looking. After all they are in your home, your kingdom.
2. Asking for quotes.
The biggest complaint we have is that the cheapest person did a bad job. We do not recommend going with the cheapest or the most expensive trades when choosing a trade. Our advice is to write down the jobs required and hand this to the engineer during the quoting process. Now you can then concentrate on the engineer. Key points to look at may be- do they take shoes off/ cover shoes? Do they know what they are talking about? Are you able to communicate with the engineer? is he understanding your vision? will he complete the work how you want it completed?
Remember the key to get a good job done is to stick to specific trades. Multi-trades may be cheaper and faster but will not provide good quality work. A trades person has learnt the ins and outs of their trade. Trades person has spent several years at college learning the trade and knows all the tricks of their trade. A fully qualified trades person will ensure that every part of their job is completed to a high standard.
3. Check the business before choosing.
This is by far the most important part of hiring a trades person. If you have got the trades number from a friend then go to your friends house and see the work. Ask them how comfortable they felt with the trades in the house. Ask about their reliability and tidiness. If you got the number from a directory or online then check online reviews, check a few different websites. If you can not find anything online then ask the trades for testimonials from previous customers.
The job is for a large amount of money then you may want to hire the business for a small job first. Maybe a boiler service or a kitchen tap change etc. This will help you judge the workmanship, reliability and tidiness of the trades person. Check any awarding bodies like Gas Safe, Oftec, Ciphe, Federation of Masterbuilders, NICEIC etc when choosing a trade. If it is a large job then we also recommend asking for their insurance documents.
4. Choosing a trade person
The next step is to confirm that you want to hire the trades person. A clear email or text will usually suffice for this. “Thank you for your email, I am pleased to confirm that I would like to accept the quote”. At this point you have a 14 day cancellation period to get all the information together. This includes making sure you have an itemised list of what is going to be done. If your quote is rather vague, ask for a detailed list of works to be done.
A common issue we hear is that customers want an itemised list of materials to be used. Most trades person will not provide this as this may change once work has started. A much better idea is to get an itemised list of work to be done. This stops any argument on completion as any work that is done additional to this can not be charged for. It is also worth checking any terms and conditions that the trades person may have. Ensure you are happy with these and check the payment term. Finally check the deposit amount, what does it cover and what happens if you cancel. If possible, we recommend to pay the deposit via credit card to protect yourself.
5. Check any requirements after choosing a trade person
Firstly ensure all terms and conditions have been agreed and a date set. Then ask the trades if there are any site requirements. Will there be a skip on the drive? does the airing cupboard/ kitchen cupboards need emptying? Do they need access to all radiators? Do they require the mains stop cock? gas meter? fuse board? Will they provide their own dust sheets? Take a look at our blog Getting to know your system to find see more.
6. Trades Person visit.
Everyone is different on how they feel about trades being at their home. Obviously the trades prefer to be left alone to get on with the work. Its good to make sure you are available should any issues arise. Try not to stand right behind the trades, this can put them off or prevent them from doing their job. If you don’t feel comfortable with someone in your home then try to stay at a safe distance. Make conversation with the trades person. Try to avoid continually asking how the job is going. Remember trades may feel just as nervous about being in your home as you are about them being there.
While it is not a requirement, making somebody a drink can give them the opportunity to get themselves sorted. This may also help both parties feel relaxed. On completion of the job, ask as many questions as you can think of. Make sure you understand how to use everything and ensure you check the work. Most trades will be going to another job straight after and any amendments would be better done immediately. If the trade needs to return you may be waiting for the next available slot.
While we always recommend paying the trades person as soon as possible. We do also recommend ensuring you are happy with a job before making payment. If you are away during the work then ensure you see the work before making payment. If there are any issues then contact the trades person at the first opportunity. Avoid using sentences like “I will withhold payment until this is fixed”. Most trades person will happily come back and fix any issues if this means they will learn for future jobs. Remember you have got paperwork to protect you from any issues. Avoid getting aggressive as this will only get the trades back up and cause tension during the return visit.
Remembering step 1, the most important part of choosing a trade person is finding reviews. So please dont forget to ask the trades if you can leave a review for them. The next person will want to know how your job went. Remember to be honest as well so the next person looking for this trades person can make an informed decision.
My plumber charges £50 per hour, is this normal?
Most areas of the UK have different prices depending on the area and type of work being undertaken. We recommend paying what you feel happy paying for a job. Getting 3 quotes will also help you judge the correct amount to pay for a job.
I phoned 7 plumbers and none of them have come to quote, Is my job too small?
This is one of the biggest complaints we hear about other trades. Here at J & S Plumbing and heating we take on all jobs, big and small. However some other businesses prefer to take on contract work and do not like to take on domestic work. To get a good success rate for plumbers coming to quote is to ask if they do domestic work. Remember that not all trades are qualified in all aspects of their trade. A gas engineer may not do water plumbing. An oil boiler engineer may not do gas work and an electrician may not do air conditioning.
I waited in all day for a plumber and they never turned up?
Make sure you get an estimated time for your trades person appointment. There is nothing worse then running out of milk when you are expecting a trades person to visit. You can guarantee they will turn up as soon as you pop to the shop. An estimated time is much better then some time between 8 am and 6 pm. Here at J and S plumbing and heating we have an online diary. This means we never double book and our customers get a time. While some jobs can over run, we ensure we let our customers know if we will be late. You can find our online booking system at: dev.jasplumbingandheating.co.uk/book-now/
I paid a plumber for some work, there is now a problem and the plumber wont come back. What can i do?
While the above guide is provided for your reference, unfortunately there are bad trades people out there. Remember you have the terms and conditions and a breakdown of work along with any receipts for any money paid. We now recommend following the complaints procedure in the terms and conditions. Always makes sure you have tried everything you can try to resolve the issue. Try not to be threatening or abusive towards the trades and give them numerous opportunities to resolve the issue. Hopefully this will resolve the issue. As a last resort we recommend you consult a solicitor to take legal action against the trades person.
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