If you have household work that needs to be done, how do you find the best professional for the job? Here are some recommendations and organisations to help you find a great tradesperson.
It’s a cliché for a reason – the best way to find good tradesmen and small business workers is to ask your friends and family for a referral. Word of mouth is still the number one way most of these professionals get hired.
You can also ask another professional you trust, such as an electrician or general contractor, to recommend someone they like working with. If these avenues for a personal referral don’t work, it may be time to test other avenues.
Organisations such as the Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme Network (LAATSN) and Trading Standards organisation can be a good way to find reliable professionals.
For instance, in order to join LAATSN, plumbers must meet all legal trading standards and civil regulations and promise not to engage in high-pressure sales. They also need a complaints procedure process, so that customers have recourse in case something goes wrong with the job.
Another site, Which? Local, lets members recommend and rate professionals they have hired. The site has over 70,000 tradespeople and you can search by post code to find local contractors.
The site costs around £8 per month, but it would definitely be worth the fee for a few months if you need a lot of household projects done.
Trustmark is operated by consumer protection groups and supported by local trading standards and trade bodies. The site includes more than 18,000 licensed traders who have pledged to follow health and safety regulations, provide on the job insurance in case of accidents, and offer high quality customer service.
According to Trustmark, they are the only organisation that conducts periodic on-site inspections of work to make sure their registered professionals meet high standards. The site also offers a complaints section so you can see what others say about specific tradespeople.
Finding an online recommendation
The problem with online recommendation sites is that businesses are paying to be listed, so in reality the plumber is the customer, not someone who wants to purchase his services.
Many people feel that this adds a bias that can’t be overcome. They worry that the sites may pander to the needs of contractors by burying or deleting negative reviews, or letting them register under pseudonyms to provide false positive ratings for their business.
Despite these reservations, most referral sites are working hard to maintain a fair, honest directory and service evaluation to help searchers find what they need. Check out RatedPeople to try out the largest UK referral service.
The way the process works is that you create a post detailing the job you need done and you’ll be contacted by tradespeople who see your post. The site limits the responses to three near you, so you won’t be bombarded with unhelpful responses.
You can read their answers to your problem and look at reviews from previous customers to decide which contractor you want to hire. The main drawback of these sites for businesspeople is that they are often charged for the privilege of contacting you with a quote, even if they are not the company you pick.
Similar sites include myBuilder.com and Trustatrader.com. Just remember that these sites can be useful for seeing the opinions of other customers, but they do not have the professional and ethical standards requirements enforced by the organisational and government sites listed above.
Choosing the right trader will help you get high quality results on time and within the quoted budget. It may seem like hard work to search through hundreds of entries looking for the right professional, but once you find someone great you’ll be glad you did.
Multifold Doors supply stunning bi-fold doors and aluminium windows for homes across the UK.
For more advice on your next building project, get in touch with us today.