A tradesman is a skilled manual worker in a particular trade or craft. Economically and socially, a tradesman's status is considered between a labourer and a professional, with a high degree of both practical and theoretical knowledge of their trade.
If you're looking to hire a plumber, a carpenter, a builder, an electrician, or any type of professional along those lines, the following few tips should help you find someone proficient and trustworthy.
1. Get references
Don't be afraid to do a bit of snooping here. Find out from friends who did their stairs/plumbing/whatever. Inspect the work. Ask your friend what the price was like. How was the service? Was the tradesman professional and courteous? Would they do business with them again?
Make sure that their references check out and that they've been in business for a while. Have they had repeat customers? The newer the person is to the trade, the more likely they are to drop out when the going gets tough.
You can also go direct to a tradesman you're thinking of hiring and ask them for references. If they can't refer you to many satisfied customers, that's a red flag.
If you've already worked with good, trustworthy tradesmen, ask them to recommend tradesmen in other industries. They usually know who's good and who's bad, stories get passed around, even across industries. Or they might know someone who knows someone.
2. Beware of cheap
The cheapest price is rarely the best price. Check for value and quality. You usually get what you pay for. Do you just want some leaky pipes installed in your house, or do you want your plumbing done right?
3. Meet them in person
Meet and chat with a tradesman before hiring them. You don't have to like them in order to do good business together, but liking the person helps. There should at least be mutual respect. Also, if you're worried about them throwing all sorts of jargon at you, bring along someone who knows a bit about the trade.
4. Find out if they outsource
Will they do all the work from start to finish, or do they outsource certain tasks? If the latter, you'll need to check references for those third parties too, make sure they can be trusted. And don't just take the word of the main guy you're hiring to vouch for them.
If who you hire is outsourcing, there's less accountability. When a problem arises with a third party, you don't want them telling you, "there's nothing I can do, I'm waiting on them, my part is done." You want someone who will take full responsibility for the job and go chasing up sub-contractors on your behalf if anything goes wrong. They shouldn't be able to fob you off.
5. Find out where they get their materials
Make sure they're using quality materials and not cutting corners with cheap stuff that will deteriorate quickly.
6. Make sure the deposit is reasonable
Deposit structures will vary across industries, so figure out what the standard is before making any judgement calls. For stairs, we require 30% payment for materials before starting the job. We then require 40% payment before the stairs leaves the workshop, getting the customer in to see it and verify that everything looks right. Then the final 30% payment is due on the day(s) of installation.
7. Ask them for proof of insurance and qualifications
They should have all that, and they're obliged to show you proof if requested. Make sure they're qualified to do everything they say they can do, especially if they have no references to back up their claims.
8. Get a detailed quote
Ask for an itemized bill quote? Make sure there are no hidden charges. If something isn't on the quote, ask if it's included.
9. Ask about a timeline
You can't always expect to get exact dates but try have them commit to a deadline. Ask them to contact you if anything is going to change with that, if anything comes up. Again, put the onus on them to chase you.
If you are after professional builders or carpenters to help with a home improvement project, look no further than Redbridge Builders. We can provide you with qualified, recommended tradesmen to get the job done. Give us a call right now on 020 8088 2935.
Redbridge Builders undertake projects in:
Aldborough Hatch, Aldersbrook, Barking, Barkingside, Chadwell Heath, Fairlop, Gants Hill, Goodmayes, Hainault, Ilford, Newbury Park, Redbridge, Seven Kings, Snaresbrook, South Woodford, Wanstead, Woodford
We also work in East London and Essex too.