Are you looking to get some work done on your house or business property and not sure where to start when it comes to finding a contractor you can trust to turn up and do the job well? Not to mention one that doesn’t keep changing the price, or disappearing for days or weeks on end before finishing the job? There are a lot of cowboys out there so you want to make sure the one you pick isn’t one of them. To help, we have put together our top five tips on how to get the right building contractor. Read on…
- Ask around. Friends, colleagues, and family members may have used someone in the past who they would recommend (or tell you to stay away from if they had a bad experience) and this is always a good place to start. Word of mouth is a very powerful tool and one that you can easily use – all you have to do is ask!
- Meet them. Once you have narrowed your options down – we recommend having at least three to choose from – then the next step is to meet them. The easiest way to do this? Get them in for a quote. This way they will be able to see what it is you need them to do and give you an accurate quote for labour and materials, and you will get a chance to meet them face to face. This is where you rely on your instincts and experience. Have they arrived on time? Are they dishevelled or do they look respectable? Are they listening to what you are saying and considering the job at hand? Do you get the feeling you could work with them?
- Previous work. Whether they have been recommended to you or not, ask to see some of their previous work or to talk to other clients. Ask them the same sorts of questions: did they do what they said they would on time and on budget (within reason of course; if the job changed, then so would the timeline and budget). Did they work safely and in a tidy environment? Did they look after their client’s property?
- Compare quotes. When asking for quotes, make sure everyone gets the same brief. Otherwise you are not comparing like with like and you are starting off on the wrong foot. Throw out any quotes that sound too good to be true; they probably are. You don’t want someone who is either desperate for work (that’s never a good sign), nor someone who is quoting low only to find other things to add and inflate the price once they have started.
- Set it out in writing. Once you have settled on a contractor, make sure you set everything out in writing: the job details, the timescales, the costs (separate out materials and labour so you are clear on what you are paying for), and how changes to scope or cost are to be dealt with. It’s also a good idea to set out a payment schedule, including completion milestones, to help keep things on track.
If you are after some advice on finding the right contractor, or want a quote for any sort of home improvement project, talk to us at Wandsworth Sash Windows. We’d be happy to advise and to provide a quote – just call us on 020 3733 3575 for a chat or to make an appointment.