Finding Trustworthy Tradespeople

We all need to relay on tradespeople from time to time, but not all tradespeople provide the same level of service as others. Finding trustworthy tradespeople is possible, but spotting cowboy builders or plumbers can be tricky. Follow our top tips to find the best tradespeople and protect yourself from a costly mistake.


Word of mouth

A personal recommendation is always preferable to a written reference. Ideally, a tradesperson that has been recommended by a friend or a neighbour should be trustworthy, particularly if you can ask the individual about the work ethic of the tradesperson and satisfaction of the finished product. 



We always recommend getting at least three quotes for works required, which should be detailed to ensure each tradesperson quoting knows precisely what the job entails and finish needed. Usually, we would not recommend going with the tradesperson who has quoted the lowest price, as this can occasionally indicate a lower quality job or finish. If the quotes seem very high, trust your gut feeling and get another quote. If you get a bad feeling about a tradesperson, chances are you should trust your instinct, even if the price seems competitive.



Ensure any quote received is written formally with a proper business address. Some cowboys like to hide their traces, whereas reputable tradespeople are open and above board.


Bigger projects

When it comes to choosing a company to carry out larger scale building works, companies with more than ten years of experience will tend to charge a premium. Bear in mind a younger company may need to outsource specific tasks to other professionals such as gas/electricity, which can sometimes impact the quality of work. 


Specialist works

Some homes require additional experience when it comes to renovations. Buildings that are listed or period homes, or homes in Conservation areas, will require a builder with more experience. Check that the company you are considering for your project have the necessary experience or examples of previous work on these types of properties if your home falls into one of these specialised areas. 


Local vs national

We always consider time when choosing a company to carry out work. If a tradesperson is local, this can be an advantage over another tradesperson who needs to travel miles to get to you. They will likely inflate your price to cover time and fuel required to get to you for the duration of the project. 


Requests for cash

Always be wary of tradespeople offering a discount if you pay in cash. Occasionally these individuals may cut corners with other vital things like guarantees and insurance. If the tradesperson asks for cash, count this as a warning flag. 



For larger projects, it is very important to have a signed contract that includes full details of all work involved, but also a start and finish date. Unforeseen delays can occur at any point throughout the project, so having a start and finish date can help keep tradespeople on track and when necessary, be used to protect you from a never-ending project. Also, confirm with the tradespeople where they will dispose of builders waste and the standard you expect the property to be left once work is completed. 


Payment schedule

Always have a clear outline in your signed contract with your tradesperson detailing payment. We often advise a system of paying in thirds. Ideally, pay a third of the total cost upfront and agree on a date or mid-way point during the project to pay the second third of the total cost of the job. The final third of payment should only be paid once the job is completed, any snagging issues sorted, and the work has been carried out to your satisfaction. Put any changes to the payment plan in an email to the tradesperson detailing why a payment has not been made, to ensure there is a legal paper trail in case of disputes.



Check both your home insurance and the insurance of the tradesperson chosen to complete the work to ensure you are covered in case of any unforeseen problems. 


We hope you have found this blog helpful when considering tradespeople for your next project. Here at Nichol Smith Investments, we offer hands-free investing in property. We oversee all work involved in property, from full refurbs, extensions to small renovations, on behalf of our clients. If you’re interested in investing in property but don’t have the time, knowledge or know-how, click the button below to book a call with us.