Rogue Traders are sometimes referred to as “Cowboy Builders” and if that gives you an impression of something out of the Wild West, you’d be correct!
The way in which these people operate is reminiscent of the wild west as they simply do not care what happens to their victims and will go 'wild' in order to ensure they get what they want. The sad truth is that many of us have fallen prey to these individuals and have often paid the price for our gullibility in the form of constant stress and huge debts.
There have been cases where rogue traders have botched up a job so bad that even the most hardened national homebuyers/property investors decide to opt out of buying a property because the work and investment required to get it back to it's former self is too steep!
Don't be surprised if you come across slick talking rogue traders as many of them come equipped with what we call the 'gift of the gab' and have no problem convincing people of their 'skills' and 'good intentions' in order to get you to part ways with your hard earned cash.
This is why it's all the more important for you to stay vigilant and take the right steps and necessary precautions so you don't fall victim to these individuals.
In either case, you want to ensure that the person or company that you choose to do the work does it correctly and that they meet all local guidelines.
So what can you do to ensure that you are picking the right company? Well, here are some tips and tricks to guide you in picking a reputable tradesperson.
1) Ask for Referrals From Friends and Family
Ask your friends and family for referrals and recommendations. These people should be the ones you trust the most. They are not out to hurt you and want everything to work out and be successful so asking them first is a good way to begin your search.
That said, if the worst comes to the worst, you know where they live!
In addition to your normal channels, look at some local groups on social media that you frequently visit or are a part of. If you have a group dedicated to your town or area, join it, as it’s a really good place to get information from other locals on who is good and who isn’t.
People often keep a list of 'blacklisted' traders so they know and remember who to avoid at all costs. Save yourself some time and ask people for theirs so you can speed up the process.
2) Check Qualifications Thoroughly
Make sure that you do the groundwork when it comes to checking qualifications. If you’ve got some plumbing or electric work that needs to be done it’s essential that the technicians working on the problem are certified and appropriately registered with the relevant governing bodies.
You can check out Gas Safe Registered technicians on the gas safe website and even check the qualifications of a specific engineer as well as determine the work they are qualified to do. Plumbers similarly have a registration body which is the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering.
3) Get Multiple Quotes
Get a couple of different quotes from multiple vendors.
While price is probably a big factor in your decision, it should not be the only thing that you base your choice on. Try to pick a trader that is not the lowest price (as there is a good chance they will cut corners hence why they are so cheap) or the highest (as it may work out too expensive) but somewhere in the middle.
4) Consider Paying on Credit
If you can, pay some or all of the job on your credit card. Paying on credit provides you with you two different benefits.
The first is that it demonstrates your contractor can take credit. This means that the bank has done the necessary due diligence to determine that they are a low or reasonable risk.
The second advantage is that if you can pay some of it on your credit card, you get an extra level of protection which brings your credit card company into play to take on some liability to ensure that the job is fully completed.
5) Get References
References are key in determining what previous customers thought about the job done by the tradesperson. While similar to referrals, this time its more specific and focused on the job itself. However, one key point to note is that all references should be taken with a grain of salt as the tradesperson is not going to refer you to someone that is dissatisfied with their work!
Again, however, the power of technology can come to your assistance. There are many websites online where trusted traders are reviewed and it’s a great idea to check these out before you sign any contract.
We hope these tips will help you avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals. These people are everywhere so you need to ensure that you look after yourself and your property.
If you're not in a position to be able to self-manage, try Upad's Fully Managed Service with property management for just £72 per month.